How google uses empathy to design for disabled people

Understanding users, building empathy and creating apps. More from FastCompany.

It’s common in many apps for the most important interface elements to be at the bottom of the screen, closest to a user’s thumb: for example, Instagram’s button to take a new photo, or Twitter’s navigation buttons. It’s fine for sighted users, but users with visual impairments might have to swipe 50 times or more to reach that element, every time they switch screens.

The better solution? Put your most important interface elements closer to the top. That’s how Google does it: open the Gmail app on your phone, and you’ll see that the Inbox” and Write New Mail” buttons are at the top of every page.


Empathy is all about understanding, but many designers never think beyond what life is like for them.


You really can’t ever replace the experience of seeing how how someone uses your app,” Weber says.


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