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Digging Deeper: A Guide to Creative Empathy for Software Design

The complexity and interconnectedness of custom software design and development make it impossible for a lack of empathy to be an obstacle. See how leaders today regard empathy as playing a crucial role.

By BJIT Published about a year ago 7 min read

Have you ever wondered what connection there is between custom software design and development and empathy?

In software development, empathy is a crucial but frequently ignored skill…

With enhanced productivity and innovation, an empathy-focused approach to software development may increase productivity and innovation, reduce technical debt, increase automated test coverage, build team trust, and enhance the overall performance of a software system.

How is empathy a technical skill?

Empathy-Driven Development, or EmDD, is a term that the software development community has created to describe how important it is to incorporate empathy into the process. Currently, an increasing number of businesses with a focus on software development have oriented their cultures around this activity.

BJIT, an award-winning IT outsourcing service provider, believes that building cognitive empathy includes two separate phases, particularly when it comes to understanding the demands of a customer.

Empathy in App Development

BJIT diligently created a team of offshore development services that genuinely care about our customers and their companies, and we established a culture that expects excellence in our work. We take the time to carefully analyze the business issues our clients need to resolve, and we assist people with genuine concerns.

We are trained to probe deeply using sympathetic inquiry; we do not only discuss the issue that is directly in front of you.

BJIT is aware that customers frequently show symptoms of underlying problems rather than the actual problem while seeking assistance. We delve into the motivations behind the original search for a custom software solution or Android development software, continually evaluating to see whether a custom application is indeed the best way to address a company issue.

Our reputation is found not just in our ability to produce a quality solution, but, more importantly, in our ability to deliver a solution that generates a return on investment for the organization.

When we work with a client to identify an existing solution or a less expensive substitute for a completely customized application, our team pauses to rejoice. We are proud to direct customers in the right direction, even if it means declining to collaborate on a project. This is so that our client may effectively fix a genuine issue while we preserve our reputation by using empathy to address a commercial issue.

The real victory is that we are adding value to a busy, complex market.

Empathy extends to back-end engineers as well

Empathy may seem intuitive for customer-facing professions, but what about engineers, who are a step away from such interactions?

The fact is that we write programming for humans rather than machines.

A minor alteration in perception can have a significant impact.

It goes without saying that we want the code to generate a certain set of ones and zeros that will cause the software to function as intended. We prefer to write in compiled languages over binary since they are easier to read and understand. We practice empathy when we consider the people who will come into contact with our work.

According to Catalyst, 61% of employees who operate under highly empathic programming claim to be among the most innovative in their areas.

Consider discovering the code after you've forgotten the context a year from now.

This is a wonderful technique to start incorporating empathy into your daily programming. Consider a time when you saw some code that truly infuriated you. Try to relate to that emotion. Then, consider what you can do right away to prevent experiencing that annoyance and discomfort in the future.

Can you leave a mental trail that will enable you to rapidly reconstruct the context?

Connecting to this underlying emotion can frequently provide the motivation that transforms rote tasks we're "supposed to do" into activities we crave because we know it will prevent frustration in the future, such as writing an automated test, updating documentation, filling out complete commit messages, and writing descriptive names for classes, functions, variables, and so on.

5 Benefits of Empathy-Driven Development

1. Improved User Comprehension

The goal of empathy is to experience other people's emotions. You will be better able to view the product from the viewpoint of the user if you approach development with this mentality, which will make your software more user-friendly.

2. Reduced bias

Bias might appear inescapable. People create software, and throughout even the most technical of processes, they introduce their own biases and opinions. Nonetheless, having empathy may help engineers think from many perspectives, avoid prejudice, and embrace understanding.

3. Better Problem-Solving Skills

Team members become stuck too frequently when anything goes wrong, which, let's face it, happens very frequently during the software development process. This has the unintended consequence of making people blame one another when they should be collaborating. This will only lead to disaster. But, empathy lays the groundwork for increased productivity. Offshore developers will be more inclined to work together to solve problems rather than point fingers at one another.

4. Improved Team Dynamics

This ultimately results in improved team dynamics as a whole. You are laying the groundwork for a more cooperative environment with improved communication. This will lead to stronger bonds, which is unquestionably crucial for the software development process.

5. Increased Innovation

Empathy-promoting environments are beneficial for innovation.

The motivation and support for developers have increased. They are free to experiment and invent without fear of being held accountable for errors, and they may do so with confidence knowing that their superiors will support them. As a consequence, creativity rises, which is necessary for generating the spark that distinguishes good software from amazing software.

How has BJIT implemented EmDD?

1. Promote an understanding of culture

Leadership sets the tone for empathy.

BJIT's leaders created an empathic workplace by taking an unbiased, understanding approach to recruiting, training, and supporting staff. They also promoted communication among team members to foster cooperation. They emphasized diversity, equity, and inclusion while educating developers on the various advantages of EmDD and providing recommendations for implementing it.

At BJIT, leaders provide chances for learning while also allowing employees the freedom to try new things and fail safely.

2. Examine the Code of Others

Developers at BJIT, learn about different mindsets and viewpoints by examining the code of other developers. This not only results in the creation of efficient code but also modifies the developer's methodology.

3. Consider yourself to be the user

Your code should be written with the intended audience in mind. We approach projects with the user in mind since they are the ones who will be using them.

Hence, when you start the project, look at it from their perspective: What should your program be able to do for them? What issues would it resolve for them? So, why would they choose that over another product?

We strive to establish a connection with them by developing user personas that contextualize their experiences and paint a picture of who these individuals are.

To envision every possible method by which we may improve life is the next stage on our road toward applied empathy.

BJIT came up with solutions to stop it from happening again, which would be even better:

Best action – In the given circumstance, what is the best action you can do to address the requirements of the person? Here, we encourage you to set lofty goals and consider what you would achieve if you had unlimited time and resources. All of your greatest activities won't always be put into practice, but that's where the next step comes in

What is feasible? – Considering your personal constraints in terms of time, money, education, etc., we consider what you can do right now to have a good influence. If you don't have the time to put anything into action, for instance, you may still make a list of suggestions and email them to BJIT with the query, "Would any of these be useful to you?"

Produce artifacts – You'll inevitably come up with ideas as you go through this process that you'll want to save. Your definition of done should take into account these communication artifacts. Commit messages, refactoring for readability, documentation, opening an issue or filing a bug report, putting a note in your engineering log, and many more things are examples of common communication artifacts.

Our clients typically engage with EmDD to create custom software projects that exceed user and business expectations because they are trying to address an immediate, pressing need in their organizations. Successful projects typically result in incredibly profitable efficiencies and opportunities that pave the way for future growth and expansion.

Click here to view our Empathy-Driven Development Portfolio.

The Endnote

Although you might not often equate empathy with custom software design and development, it is nonetheless essential to the process. It entails adopting many viewpoints, appreciating team members and users equally, and comprehending the struggles and obligations faced by others. It also entails being able to maneuver through challenging barriers and circumstances, which is essential while carrying out such sophisticated tasks.

In the end, when you approach software development with empathy, you'll undoubtedly produce better projects and become a better tech leader and professional. The consultants at BJIT will continue to ask, as they always have, "What is the appropriate thing for the client?" It's the golden rule, and it's as useful now as it has always been.

Want to know how empathy affects people? Contact us right away!

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About the Creator

BJIT

BJIT is the Pioneer to enter the Japanese IT market. Now, BJIT is working with world-renowned clients like Sony, BMW, QUALCOMM, Kyocera, Valmet, Dassault Systemes, NTT Docomo, Panasonic, Fujisoft, Toshiba, etc.

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