What is an empathy map?
December 21, 2020
December 21, 2020
An empathy map is a collaborative tool teams can use to gain a deeper insight into their customers. Much like a user persona, an empathy map can represent a group of users, such as a customer segment. The empathy map was originally created by Dave Gray and has gained much popularity within the agile community.
Here’s a simple design of what it looks like. You can easily download a version of the empathy map here.
A sample empathy mapping session may be as follows:
Assemble your team and have them bring any personas, data, or insights about the target of your empathy map. Print out or sketch the empathy map template on a large piece of paper or whiteboard. Hand each team member sticky notes and a marker. Each person should write down their thoughts on stickies. Ideally everyone would add at least one sticky to every section. You might ask questions, such as:
Have the team members speak about the sticky notes as they place them on the empathy map. Ask questions to reach deeper insights so that they can be elaborated for the rest of the team. To help bring the user to life, you may even wish to sketch out the characteristics this person may have on the center of the face. At the end of the session, ask the team members what insights they learned. More importantly, ask them what hypotheses they now have about the users that they’d like to validate.
<<< Start >>>
<<< End >>>
Empathy maps can be used whenever you find a need to immerse yourself in a user’s environment. They can be helpful, for example, when:
To get an idea of the impact you can make with a simple tool like the empathy map, check out how Fjord used empathy maps to understand the user journeys of the thousands of asylum seekers taking up refuge in reception centers around Finland in order to design and prototype better services for them.
While empathy mapping sessions are ideally conducted in a collocated scenario, several online tools allow you to host a session virtually: