Sure, you’re a great designer. You went to the best art school, you master the analytics tools and you’re the bomb at front end development. No one is delivering products faster than you and your decisions are smart and well-based. But, still, why would anyone want to work with you if you can’t create a great human interaction?
Recently I noticed something about design work. I had the opportunity to watch other designers work with their clients, for better and worse, and what I realized is that you can be the best and the brightest designer, but there is one non-technical thing you need to have in order to be a good designer, and that is human connection.
Brené Brown, one of the most lovable people I’ve heard online talked about empathy and sympathy. That talk really guides me through life, and you should seriously watch it. Like, now. The power of empathy is that it shows the other side person you’re there with them (“Empathy is feeling with people”), and you don’t exactly know better than them, but you surely understand them and will do your best to make it together. In my perspective, working with a client is all about empathy. The client has a problem, and my job is to say “Hey, I’m here to help you find a solution!”.
Caring -> Working Better
In my software development experience I’ve stumbled upon many kinds of workers – some more talented and some less, but most of the times it seemed that the people who had the deeper connection with other people were the ones who worked harder, stayed longer and found better solutions for the jobs they were given. I’m not saying the nicer a person is the better that person will be at the job, but I am saying that the more people develop their human connections, the more they’ll give more of themselves, and will put more effort into the work, trying to find the best solution for the task.
Connection = Honesty
I value most the clients I feel comfortable saying “Well, I have no idea how to fix that problem right now” to (If you’re afraid of saying “I don’t know”, read this piece by Tobias Van Schneider). I know they can trust me to make the effort and learn how to fix that problem or think together to solve this, and that drives me to be better and create better products. Frankly, I think, when I’ll be hiring people, I would prefer someone who makes mistakes but creates a good human connection much rather than a arrogant pro.
Designing for and with humans
One of the first steps of mastering at the UX field is knowing that your product is for people, and not for machines. So, the main giveaway here is to remember the whole work process is human-oriented. How will I think your design works are addressed for people, if your personal interactions aren’t?
Be patient, listen to your client and understand what he or she needs, even if you know better.
Do you have any unique experience with connection with clients that made your work better or worse? Let me know about it in the comments.