Empathy maps are a great tool for understanding user needs. Setting out everything you know about the people you’re designing for, will help your design team understand how your audience sees and experiences the world, and how you could better meet their needs.
Empathy maps help you understand the reasons behind people’s actions and behaviors. By building an empathy map, you’ll explore not just what people say, but what they think, feel and do. You’ll then be in a better position to design great solutions for them, as you’ll be able to visualize how they might respond.
How to do it
Did you know that Sprintbase is packed with templates and expert-created guidance to help you achieve the best results with user-centred design?
Here are the key steps in the empathy mapping process – and how Sprintbase can help you do it.
When you’ve been out and gathered observations, traits and quotes from users, populate each quadrant of the ‘Empathy map’ template, setting out what each person says, does, thinks and feels.
Then, use step two in the template to explore what your findings tell you about your users. In the ‘Needs’ column, you’re trying to work out what your users need help with, either physically or emotionally. What gaps exist for them? What activities do they need help with? These needs may be explicit, but they may also be inferred.
And in the second column, list any insights you can draw from what you’ve learnt. For example, what unmet need do you think you’ve uncovered and why do you think it exists? What new realizations have you had about your users?
Contradictions may well occur – pay attention to them, as they often reveal useful insights.
Try to focus on real data, rather than making assumptions, to ensure you only develop solutions that meet real user needs.
Your empathy map will be helpful when you’re creating user personas.
Empathy maps are a great way to see situations from somebody else’s perspective – whether it’s a customer or a colleague. Try using an empathy map in meetings or conversations to help you see issues from someone else’s perspective, and identify solutions to everyday obstacles.