Empathy Map

An Empathy Map allows us to sum up our learning from engagements with people in the field of customer research. The map provides areas in which to focus our attention on, thus providing an overview of a person’s experience.

The Empathy Map consists of 7 areas. The area 3 to 6 reflect four key traits, which the user demonstrated/possessed during the observation/research stage.

  • What they see
  • What they say
  • What they do
  • What they hear

It’s fairly easy to determine what the user said and did. However, determining what they thought and felt (area 7) should be based on careful observations and analysis and synthesis as to how they behaved and responded to certain activities, suggestions, and conversations.


  • Recruit 8–12 target customers
  • Set up the room to make the customer feel welcomed (or you might visit the customer in their environment
  • Write interview script and define what you want to learn (make use of trigger question in the template)
  • Run the interviews and collect information and data
  • Download the printable template or use a similar digital tool


  1. Start with the GOAL section, by defining WHO will be the subject of the Empathy Map and a goal: something they need to DO. This should be framed in terms of an observable behaviour.
  2. Once you have clarified the goal, work your way clockwise around the canvas, until you have covered Seeing, Saying, Doing, and Hearing. The reason for this is that the process of focusing on observable phenomena (Things that they see, say, do and hear) is like walking a mile in their shoes.
  3. Only AFTER you have made the circuit of outside elements do you focus on what’s going on inside their head. The large head in the centre is one of the most important aspects of the map’s design.
  4. If you are designing products, services, or customer experiences, a completed Empathy Map is a great input for a value proposition design exercise. As you see, you can now take your result from the area 2 (goals and jobs to be done) and area 7 (think and feels/pains and gains)

This play is based on the work by Dave Gray from XPLANE