Quantifying so intangible. Is it possible? Not yet. Empathy is defined as ‘‘the intellectual or imaginative apprehension of another’s condition or state of mind (Hogan, 1969).’’
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It happens multiple time that teams come back from an intensive research session and while each one feels that everyone has empathized well, actually to each his own is the status of 'generic empathy'. Generic empathy means a basic level of imaginative apprehension which is essential for a design team to move forward in a certain direction. Empathy scale tries to help bring a team to the same page after a yet vague task such as empathizing. Basically, it is an attempt to help you put a number on your feelings. Imagine, Team Capetown has just reached back from the water scarcity research. While Ayan is confident that he read through the deepest emotion of Mark, a resident of Camps bay, Neeta does not agree with the observations and inferences Ayan brings to the table. This is the time you probably can pick this beautiful scale and answer the given three questions in context of the research. 1. Did you feel out of place? 2. How much could you relate to the conversation? 3. Given f( space + conversation) = Tonality of the scenario, How much did you fit in? How do you answer them? What are the options? Look at the following image.
Above image says a thousand words to those who see and leaves the rest with a question mark. What do I see? I see Grey empathizing with Orange. Grey uses his energy to align with Orange and then accumulating data from Orange to further understand the scenario objectively.
Using this concept, I designed four options for three questions we have already noted. Above image pictorially shows us the four options. A : You are offering milk and honey to a bunch of vegans. B: You are offering soya substitutes of milk to a bunch of vegans. C: You are into vegan markets with vegans trying out new types of cheese. D: You have almost become a vegan, except that you are not.
This tool helps one reflect on his own understanding of the whole experience of empathizing. While testing, It was interesting to see how people wondered when they came down to a number and looked back to iterate on their processes. It is always beautiful to put forward something tangible to express something so intangible. It creates a certain sense of seriousness and direction in a vague conversation. This tool helps people to learn and quantify a process which is essentially a “feeling”.This tool is basically a different kind of scale. Use of product: This tool can be used as aid to teach empathy in courses related to Design, Psychology or Human resource. This tool can also be used by human subject researchers to aid empathize better with their research subject.