Empathy Map

Empathy Map


What is an Empathy Map?

A collaborative visualisation tool used to pull together everything we know about a certain type of user. They are helpful in the early stages of a project, when some initial research has been done, and are a useful tool for visualising the output of an interview.

Why are they useful?

The process of building an Empathy Map can help distil down knowledge of a user or group of users into one place. They may help organise research data, and discover gaps in knowledge. Building a series of Empathy Maps can help identify overlapping users and support Persona development.

How to use an Empathy Map

Everybody in the workshop takes some time to write down their notes, placing them against the four quadrants, ‘Think & Believe’, ‘Say & Do’, ‘Hear & See’. Where an Empathy Map is being built directly off research data, some of these notes may be direct or paraphrased quotes from users.

The team then clusters stickies, validating whether they are in the correct quadrant. The process concludes with the team asking themselves “What is currently working or not working for this user”, and noting down pains and gains at the bottom of the tool.


  • Start by adding as much ‘real’ data as you can: If you are aware of real touchpoints your users interact with, for example, note these down first. It’ll help you spot where your grey areas and assumptions remain.
  • Write your notes in first person. Notes in each of the quadrants might contradict one another, which is something this makes this tool so useful.
  • Make time to discuss these contradictions in the clustering phase. For example, you might find that what a user believes doesn’t align with their actual behaviour.