Nutrition profile

Build empathy for your users by visualizing what they say, do, think, and feel.

Cooking time

10-30 minutes per empathy map.

Perfect for

The early stages of understanding your audience and getting your project team on the same page about user needs. Empathy maps can be helpful as a stepping stone to more robust personas for your audience segments. They are fast and easy to create, so are helpful when you're on a quick timeline.

This recipe focuses on aggregated empathy maps used to reflect a particular group of users. You can also use empathy maps for capturing individual user data, such as data captured in a user interview or diary study.

Example of empathy map for library researcher using Powerpoint

Example of empathy map for library researcher using Powerpoint

Prep work

Empathy maps are best when based on user research rather than assumptions. Ideally, your project team should collect and synthesize user data before creating empathy maps, such as data gathered from user interviews. Alternatively, you can create assumption-based empathy maps.

Each empathy map should reflect a specific audience segment, so you should already have these identified. Examples of audience segments for a new course management system, for example, could be:

Also define the scope of what you will be trying to represent. More narrow scopes focused on a particular service or product can lead to more useful empathy maps. For example, you might frame the empathy map around a scenario such as:

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