What does this mean?

“Empathizing” with users in the design-thinking mindset translates to, for writers, understanding how the writing you plan to do will engage with:

  1. the particular audiences you wish to address or impact, and
  2. the context of the problem at hand.

Begin by asking: Who are you writing about? Who are you writing for? Who do you intend (or hope) to reach?

Follow up with: How does my subject think about this topic? What do they value? How does my audience think about this topic and what do they value?

This stage feels foundational and, linearly, comes first. But empathizing can and should occur as the project goes on, and as more research comes together. We are constantly learning more about who reads our writing, how they think, and how we can accomplish our goal(s).

This series of images comes from the Hasso Plattner Institute of Design at Stanford University’s design thinking bootleg, a compilation of activities and definitions that help explain how to engage with the design process.

How might adopting an initial mindset of empathy work in both the teaching of writing and actually writing (as a student)?