Sympathy vs. Empathy in UX

From Nielson Norman Group:

Summary: The majority of UX professionals practice sympathy instead of empathy for their users.

As UX professionals, it is our job to advocate on behalf of our users. To do it, we must understand them. Understanding our users means building empathy for human beings who experience the product or service we create.

In an effort to practice empathy, many teams mistakenly practice sympathy. Although these words have different meanings, teams often incorrectly use sympathy and empathy interchangeably. This confusion results in a large gap in their understanding and in an inability to address real human needs.

The goal of this article is to help you reflect on your current UX practice — are you unknowingly practicing pity and sympathy instead of empathy?

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