With rapid changes to inclusivity, accessibility, technology and the global economy, there is a need to appreciate and understand the way in which real people actually engage and interact with products, systems and services. Designers need to go beyond the merely functional. To do this they need to develop deeper understanding of users, which goes beyond mere categorization of user types and characteristics. They need to have the ability and confidence to try new ways of finding information and gaining ‘authentic experiences.’ Empathy has been recognized as a key skill by practicing designers. This paper introduces empathy, shows why it is important, and provides evidence for a greater need of empathy during design and research activities. The paper is built around two case studies from our work on design for older user, which illustrate the need for more empathy in codesign activities and insights students gather using experience prototypes.