I took a moment to chat with Dr. Helen Fisher today at PopTech: Rebellion, here in Maine. The conversation went in a number of different directions -- from art and design to the nature of our biology -- but I was most taken with her position on The Golden Rule. As you probably know, The Golden Rule goes like this, "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." Well, that doesn't work for Dr. Fisher, a biological anthropologist and chief scientific advisor to Match.com. She gave me her take on The Golden Rule:
“Treat others as they would have done unto themselves. Understand who they are, and give them what they need in the way they can hear it.”
If that doesn't sound oddly familiar, perhaps it should. It's basically empathy work. Know what others are feeling, ascertain their needs and meet them. So, in design, as in love, placing others first will rarely steer you wrong.