Empathy mapping is a visual representation of knowledge regarding user behavior and attitudes. An empathy map can be built by defining the scope, purpose to gain user insights, and for each action, add a sticky note, summarize the findings. Expand the plan and revise.
|Definition||Empathy Mapping is a collaborative visualization tool that helps teams gain a deeper understanding of their users’ or customers’ perspectives, thoughts, and emotions. It allows teams to empathize with users to create products and services that meet their needs effectively.|
|Purpose||The primary purpose of Empathy Mapping is to develop a more profound and shared understanding of users or customers, which, in turn, informs decision-making, product design, and marketing strategies. It helps create a user-centered approach to problem-solving.|
|Key Elements||An Empathy Map typically includes the following key elements: – Says: What the user or customer says, including their statements, quotes, or feedback. – Thinks: What the user thinks, including their fears, concerns, goals, and aspirations. – Feels: The user’s emotional state, including their worries, frustrations, and joys. – Does: User actions and behaviors, including daily routines and interactions. – Pains: User challenges, obstacles, or sources of frustration. – Gains: User desires, needs, or what they hope to achieve.|
|Process||The process involves a collaborative effort among team members. It typically includes: – Identifying the user persona or target audience. – Conducting interviews, surveys, or user research to gather insights. – Collecting and organizing data into the empathy map elements. – Discussing and analyzing the collected information as a team. – Creating actionable insights and strategies based on the empathy map.|
|Metrics||While Empathy Mapping doesn’t involve traditional metrics, the success of the process can be assessed by the quality of insights gained and the extent to which these insights inform decision-making, leading to improved products, services, or user experiences.|
|Benefits||– Enhanced User-Centric Design: Helps in designing products and services that align with user needs and emotions. – Improved Communication: Facilitates better team collaboration and communication by visualizing user insights. – Problem Solving: Guides effective problem-solving by focusing on user pain points and gains. – Innovation: Sparks innovative ideas by understanding user perspectives.|
|Drawbacks||– Subjectivity: Empathy Mapping relies on qualitative data, which can be subjective and open to interpretation. – Limited Scope: The process may not capture the entire user experience, and additional research may be needed. – Bias: Biases can affect data collection and interpretation. – Time-Consuming: It may require significant time and effort, especially for in-depth research.|
|Applications||Empathy Mapping is used in various industries, including UX design, marketing, product development, and healthcare, to understand and empathize with users or customers. It informs the creation of user personas, customer journey maps, and user-centered design processes.|
|Examples||– Designing a mobile app by understanding the frustrations and desires of potential users. – Creating a marketing campaign that resonates with the emotions and motivations of a target audience. – Improving patient experiences in a healthcare setting by addressing their needs and concerns. – Designing a user-friendly website by empathizing with the challenges users face.|
|Continuous Use||Empathy Mapping is an iterative process that can be used throughout a product’s lifecycle. It can be revisited as new data and insights become available, ensuring that the user perspective remains a central consideration in decision-making and design.|
|Collaboration Tool||Empathy Mapping is a collaborative tool that encourages cross-functional teams to work together, including designers, marketers, researchers, and product managers. It fosters a shared understanding of users and promotes user-centric solutions.|
Understanding empathy mapping
Empathy mapping is based on the concept that a user will buy a product that meets their needs and not solely based on their wants.
To identify what those needs are, empathy maps are created to help businesses gain a deeper understanding of the people they are trying to serve. With this information, buyer personas can be developed to develop and then target elements of broader user stories.
Traditional empathy maps contain four quadrants. Each provides a holistic assessment of four key user traits:
What has the user said out loud? Use verbatim or directly quoted information wherever possible.
Consider the thoughts that run through the user’s mind. What is important to them? What challenges are they facing?
Sometimes the user will be reluctant to share things that are bothering them, so prior qualitative research is required.
Encompassing any action the user takes.
For an e-commerce company, a particular user may repeatedly add a product to their shopping cart without purchasing it.
Oten based on emotions.
What worries or excites them?
A user may be overjoyed at buying a product on sale but then experience frustration upon not being able to learn how to use it.
Creating an empathy map
To create an empathy map, businesses should follow these steps:
Define the scope
Will the map be representative of a buyer persona or an individual user?
Define the purpose
If the goal is to align the whole company, then every team member should be involved.
However, if the focus is on qualitative research then only suitably skilled individuals should be approached.
Gain user insights
Interviews, surveys, and field studies are a good place to start.
Write each action on a sticky note based on insights gleaned from the previous step
Team members should work collaboratively to group similar sticky notes according to each quadrant.
Summarise the findings
Were there any actions that did not fit any quadrant? Were there common themes or conversely, themes that occurred rarely? What does prevalence or a lack thereof say about potential gaps in user understanding?
Expand, plan, and revise
In some cases, businesses will need to add further quadrants to accommodate gaps in their knowledge. “Goals” and “Pains” are two examples of extra quadrants that are used in empathy mapping.
Once a final map has been created, it should be digitized and distributed to relevant employees. It should also be noted that empathy mapping is an iterative process. Plan to revisit and update maps periodically when new insights are identified.
Empathy mapping best practices
Empathy mapping is a collaborative effort, so it is perhaps inevitable that disagreements will occur regarding where actions should be assigned. Each team member may categorize information differently according to their personal values or experiences.
Remember that the goal with empathy mapping is to identify and connect with the user. Much less importance is placed on accurately classifying information into each quadrant.
Furthermore, ensure that the mapping process does not include extraneous information. Businesses should only perform and incorporate qualitative research that directly relates to how a user interacts with their products or services.
- Understand customer preferences, pain points, and online shopping habits.
- Improve website navigation, user interface, and checkout processes.
- Enhance product descriptions and images based on user needs.
- Software Development:
- Identify user frustrations and challenges within software applications.
- Optimize user interfaces, features, and functionalities.
- Ensure user-centered design and usability.
- Financial Services:
- Gain insights into clients’ financial goals and concerns.
- Tailor financial products and services to individual needs.
- Enhance customer relationships and trust.
- Address the ergonomic needs and safety concerns of assembly line workers.
- Optimize production processes for efficiency and worker satisfaction.
- Reduce workplace injuries and fatigue.
- Anticipate guest expectations for a comfortable and enjoyable stay.
- Personalize services, amenities, and experiences.
- Create memorable guest experiences that lead to positive reviews and repeat visits.
- Automotive Industry:
- Understand drivers’ preferences for vehicle features and comfort.
- Improve vehicle design, safety, and performance.
- Enhance the overall driving experience.
- Retail Store Layout:
- Analyze shopper behavior and decision-making.
- Optimize store layouts, signage, and product placement.
- Maximize sales and customer satisfaction.
- Tech Support and Customer Service:
- Empathize with customer frustrations during technical issues.
- Provide more effective and compassionate customer support.
- Improve customer satisfaction and loyalty.
- Psychology and Therapy:
- Connect with clients’ emotions, fears, and personal experiences.
- Tailor therapy sessions to individual needs and concerns.
- Foster trust and rapport with clients.
- Sustainability Initiatives:
- Gauge public attitudes toward environmental conservation.
- Design eco-friendly campaigns and policies that resonate with the public.
- Encourage sustainable behaviors and practices.
- Legal Services:
- Understand clients’ legal needs, challenges, and emotional states.
- Provide legal counsel with empathy and consideration.
- Build strong attorney-client relationships.
- Mental Health Support:
- Empathize with individuals facing mental health challenges.
- Develop personalized treatment plans and interventions.
- Promote mental and emotional well-being.
- Comprehend farmers’ concerns, goals, and challenges.
- Develop agricultural practices and technologies that address specific needs.
- Enhance crop yields and sustainability.
- Public Policy and Government:
- Connect with citizens affected by public policies.
- Craft policies that address societal concerns effectively.
- Build trust and support for government initiatives.
- Media and Entertainment:
- Understand audience preferences, emotional responses, and content consumption habits.
- Create content that resonates with viewers and readers.
- Drive higher engagement and audience satisfaction.
- Environmental Conservation:
- Connect with local communities living near protected areas.
- Foster collaboration and support for conservation efforts.
- Address community concerns and promote conservation awareness.
- Parenting and Family Counseling:
- Empathize with family dynamics and individual family members.
- Facilitate communication and conflict resolution within families.
- Strengthen family bonds and relationships.
- Airlines and Travel Services:
- Anticipate travelers’ needs and concerns.
- Enhance in-flight services, entertainment, and comfort.
- Improve the overall travel experience and customer loyalty.
- Social Work:
- Understand the backgrounds, challenges, and aspirations of clients.
- Tailor support services and interventions to meet individual and family needs.
- Promote well-being and self-sufficiency.
- Supply Chain Management:
- Gain insights into the experiences and challenges of suppliers, transporters, and customers.
- Optimize supply chain processes, reducing delays and inefficiencies.
- Enhance customer satisfaction and build stronger supplier relationships.
- Empathy mapping is a visualization process that helps businesses understand what their users want out of products
- Empathy mapping involves the analysis of four quadrants: says, thinks, does, and feels. Together, the four quadrants give a holistic view of how a user interacts with a product or service.
- To get the most out of empathy mapping, businesses should focus on identifying with the user by incorporating a broad suite of team member perspectives. While the quadrants are important delineations, teams can lose sight of the end goal by debating minute details.
- Purpose and Concept: Empathy mapping is a visual tool that helps businesses understand user behavior and attitudes to create products that fulfill their needs.
- User-Centered Approach: It is based on the principle that users buy products that meet their needs, rather than just their wants.
- Components of Empathy Map:
- Says: Represents what the user expresses verbally or quotes directly.
- Thinks: Captures the user’s thoughts, concerns, and priorities.
- Does: Encompasses user actions, behaviors, and interactions.
- Feels: Reflects the user’s emotions, worries, and excitements.
- Creating an Empathy Map:
- Scope and Purpose: Define whether it’s for a specific persona or a broader user type.
- User Insights: Gather data through interviews, surveys, and observations.
- Sticky Notes: Write down user actions on sticky notes based on insights.
- Group and Summarize: Collaboratively group similar actions under the four quadrants.
- Expand and Revise: Adapt the map as needed, incorporating extra quadrants if necessary.
- Iterative Process: Empathy mapping is not a one-time task; it should be revisited and updated periodically as new insights emerge.
- Develops buyer personas and user stories for targeted product development.
- Enhances understanding of user needs, behaviors, and motivations.
- Facilitates alignment across teams and departments.
- Collaboration and Subjectivity: Empathy mapping is a collaborative effort, and different team members may categorize information differently based on their perspectives.
- End Goal Over Details: Focus on connecting with users rather than getting bogged down in minute classification details.
- Relevance of Data: Only include qualitative research that directly relates to user interactions with products or services to avoid extraneous information.
- User-Centered Design: Empathy mapping encourages businesses to prioritize user understanding and design products accordingly.
- Applicability: Empathy mapping can be applied in various contexts, such as product design, customer service, and marketing.
- Continuous Improvement: As an iterative process, empathy mapping ensures ongoing improvement by incorporating new insights and perspectives.
Connected Agile & Lean Frameworks
- Business Models
- Business Strategy
- Business Development
- Distribution Channels
- Marketing Strategy
- Platform Business Models
- Network Effects
Main Case Studies: