We are a motley crew. (No, not the band.)
With Christine Pillsbury as Chief of Design, altr has been a Woman and LGBTQ+ owned small business from day one. Since then, we’ve been lucky enough to grow more diverse – and it’s important for a lot of reasons.
Any UX strategist or designer will tell you how important empathy is to the design process. With that said, too often in the industry, we see performative empathy where teams tack on a standard user-centric and design-thinking activities to the project plan. Of course, those things are very valuable, but actually being an empathetic person and having an empathic culture matters first, and maybe the most.
Empathy is “the psychological identification with or vicarious experiencing of the feelings, thoughts, or attitudes of another” and as such, it’s critical in creating anything that could be useful for someone other than yourself.
But designing with empathy is more than practicing a methodology – it’s a mindset. A mindset that must be nurtured and practiced, but at its core, empathy is an innate personal, characteristic.
Empathy starts with who you are as a person, and you build upon it when you are in a diverse environment. It’s about being passionately curious, open-minded, and optimistic about the people, places, things, and experiences that are different that your own.
Our fast-paced society does not often encourage us to take a moment to connect with others. It is therefore a conscious choice we have to make, but the more we practice empathy, the more intuitive it becomes.
– Becka Borody
We have thrived as a species by connecting with others and those connections are scientifically proven to be an important indicator of health – intellectually, emotionally, socially, even physically. Simply put, isolation equals death.
When we do come together, we evolve, invent, and grow like crazy. Why? A more diverse environment gives us more opportunity to learn from each other, more to offer each other, and ultimately make better things. At altr, working to create equity, diversity, and inclusion isn’t just “the right thing to do”, it’s the only way for us to innovate.
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