What is empathy maps and how to create it

Empathy map example uxrepeat.com

What is empathy maps?

It is an easily understood charts that explain what UX designers have learned about a particular type of user.

it help you get into the user mindset. allowing you to identify his pain points.

The empathy map was originally created by Dave Gray and has gained much popularity within the agile community , UX researchers.


Why use empathy maps and what are the benefits:

  • Better understanding of the user goals and frustrations.
  • Distilled information in one visual reference.
  • Elaboration on user personas.
  • Fast and inexpensive.
  • A reference for the whole team.
  • Easy to customize and adapt to new information.

Empathy maps usually are split into 4 sections:

  1. what user Says.
  2. what user Thinks.
  3. what user Does.
  4. what user Feels.
Empathy map example uxrepeat.com

Empathy map example uxrepeat.com


Creating an empathy map:

You can fill out an empathy map with a handful of steps:

1. The “SAYS” square. Write down exactly what the person said; don’t summarize it in your own words. If you summarize a quote, you might accidentally interpret the user’s meaning incorrectly. It’s also helpful to try to capture themes in the interview that relate to the product you’re researching. For example, if the user restates the same problem several times during the interview, then it’s probably a major pain point. Pay special attention to challenges your user states, and record any desired benefits or expectations they mention.

2. The “THINKS” square. Here, you can summarize the thoughts expressed by the user. Add feelings the user conveyed through body language, tone, or other noticeable indicators, even if they didn’t verbally express them to you. You can make inferences for some of these feelings, but you have to be careful not to make assumptions about the user. For example, Makayla expressed concern about her neighbor’s teenage son and mentioned his age and qualifications. An assumption is that Makayla wants an adult dog walker. An inference is that she wants a dog walker with a car and a driver’s license who can take the dog to the emergency vet. You can always ask your user for clarification on their body language if you find any contradictions.

3. The “DOES” square. Makayla gave us quite a bit of detail on steps and actions she takes to overcome the dog-walking challenges she faces. All those actions can go in the “DOES” square.

4. The “FEELS” square. List the feelings the user expresses. The notes you include may overlap with some of what you listed in the “THINKS” square. That’s okay! This process is meant to be a thorough documentation of your observations. If you’re the person performing the interview, you might notice signs of feelings like anger, frustration, excitement, and others. If the user doesn’t explicitly mention any feelings during the interview, you can probe for feelings with the question: “How does this make you feel?”

Types of empathy maps

  1. Empathy map:  One-user empathy maps are created by taking the data from one user’s interview and turning it into an empathy map.
  2. Aggregated empathy map: or “multiple-user empathy maps” this map represent a group of users who share similar needs, thoughts, opinions and feel. you can create it by combining multiple one user empathy map where users have similar says, thinks, does, feels. this will help the researcher identify segments and group people with similar interest.