A design tool inviting you to explore the current experience of the users or customers you're designing for.
Why do you use it:
You can use an empathy map to ask yourself some important questions about your target audience and what they're experiencing, so that you can craft a solution that meets their needs.
When to use it:
When we're at the initial empathy and discovery stage of the design process, we're looking understand the problem we're trying to solve and the people we're designing for. Empathy maps are a great way to gather together some important insights about your customer's current experience, and about what they need from a solution.
How to use it:
To begin with, identify the user or customer you'd like to empathise with, and fill out the basic identifiers of the customer you've chosen.
- Give them a name. This can be the name of an individual, like 'Jen from accounts' or 'Dave the dog walker', or the name of a persona, like 'inner-city hipster' or 'grey nomad'. In either case, they should be representative of a broad group or segment of your customers.
- If you'd like to, give your customer a look that helps you to understand who they are. You can give them an outfit, a hairstyle, and any other accessories that add depth to this character.
Next, move around the canvas and answer each of the questions as best you can to better understand this person's current experience.
- Tasks: Write down all of the tasks or jobs that the user needs to complete with relation to this challenge. Note any sub-tasks that might sit beneath those tasks.
- Influences: What are the key messages your persona is hearing about this problem, and from who? What experiences or stories might your persona be drawing on in dealing with this problem? What environmental or situational influences might there be?
- Feelings: List all of your user's likely feelings about the problem or challenge at hand. For each of the feelings you identify, try to list why they would be feeling that emotion. Specify which part or parts of the problem these feelings are likely to be coming from.
- Pain Points: What are the key issues that the persona faces? What's most frustrating about this problem for them? What makes this a difficult problem for this persona to solve?
- Overall Goal: In one or two sentences, try to capture what your persona is trying to achieve with respect to this problem. Choose your words carefully to best reflect what you've learned across the rest of the Empathy Map.