HomeTechUnderstanding the User: A Guide to Empathy Mapping

Understanding the User: A Guide to Empathy Mapping

Gathering customer feedback is the foundation of empathy mapping. Start by creating a user persona and experience diagram.

This process should be done as a team and should include stakeholders. This helps to create richer empathy maps that balance goals and users’ needs. The next step is to organize the research data into four categories: says, thinks, feels and does.

Gathering Research

The first step is to gather as much qualitative user research as possible. This includes things like observations made during user interviews or usability testing as well as results from surveys and direct feedback from customers.

Once the team has a lot of information, they can begin mapping it onto an empathy map. Traditional empathy maps are split into four quadrants: Says, Thinks, Does, and Feels. Each quadrant describes a different aspect of the user’s life, both outside and inside their mind.

The group systematically goes through the sticky notes and adds them to their respective quadrants. When the map is complete, the team can move around it collaboratively and cluster similar observations together to form themes. If necessary, outliers can be identified as potential points of inquiry or questions. This allows the team to align on their understanding of the user. This also helps them identify gaps in their knowledge and understanding of the user.

Creating the Map

As a team, read through your research inputs and discuss what they mean for your product. Then, use a whiteboard or an online collaboration tool (like Miro) to create the empathy map together.

Start with a sketch of the user or stakeholders in the center. Then create four quadrants: Says, Dose, Thinks, and Feels. Next, have each team member write a sticky note that aligns with one of these quadrants.

Then, place the sticky note on the appropriate area of the map. Be careful to only record information that relates to your product, like things the person does or says that are relevant to using your software.

After the map is complete, share it with the rest of your team. You can hang it in a common area or create designed posters to circulate around the office. Alternatively, you can turn the map into a user flow by creating a document that shows the actual steps the user would take from start to finish.

Defining Personas

Before starting an empathy map session, it’s important to determine which persona(s) you will be mapping and what the goal of the session is. This will help keep the conversation focused and ensure that everyone has a clear understanding of how the data can be used to make better products for customers.

Set up a whiteboard or large flip chart and divide it into four quadrants, with each representing one of the empathy map’s quadrants: says, sees, thinks, and feels (including pains and gains). Assign each team member a user segment to be explored in the session (e.g. Sally the college student or Sean the young professional).

Distribute sticky notes and ask each team member to write what they observe about their assigned user segment. Once everything is written down, the team can collaboratively move through the stickies and cluster together similar ideas that share a common theme. This step can also be helpful in identifying any assumptions that might need to be further validated.

Creating Themes

Whether it’s an individual empathy map or an aggregated one, the final product should contain the user in the center of the canvas. The map should also be dated and include a summary of what was discovered and learned from the exercise. An empathy map is useful for gaining insight into the users and is often used to fact-check assumptions during the design process.

Use the information gathered in an empathy map to create a persona or a profile of the ideal customer for your product or service. This will help you define the user’s goals, needs, and concerns. Use the information from an empathy map to define what types of features your product or service should offer. Then use the resulting flow chart to build out a detailed user experience. Empathy mapping helps companies shift their focus from internal perspectives to the needs and desires of the customers they serve. This allows businesses to build products that better fulfill the customer’s requirements, creating more satisfied and gratified customers.



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Most Popular

Recent Comments