User Empathy Map...
An empathy map is one way to unpack a user story to draw out needs and insights.
WHY use an empathy map
- Good design is grounded in a deep understanding of the person for whom you are designing. Designers have many techniques for developing and articulating this sort of empathy. An empathy map is one tool to help you synthesize your observations and draw out insights.
- Creating a physical artifact, like an empathy map, helps everyone in your group come together around diverse fieldwork. An empathy map is one way to scaffold a Story Share And Capture.
HOW to use an empathy map
- Unpack the story of a single user. You can put multiple users on the same empathy map, but if it’s your first time, start with one empathy map per user. Create a four quadrant layout on paper or a whiteboard. Populate the map by taking note of the following four aspects of your user as you review your notes, audio, and video from your fieldwork:
- SAY: What are some quotes and defining words your user said?
- DO: What actions and behaviors did you notice?
- THINK: What might your user be thinking? What does this tell you about his or her beliefs?
- FEEL: What emotions might your subject be feeling?
Note that THINK and FEEL cannot be observed directly. Draw inferences by
thinking back to clues that you got from your user. Pay attention to body language, tone, and choice of words.
- Use the empathy map to identify your user’s needs. “Needs” are the human emotional or physical necessities that help define your design challenge. Needs are verbs (activities and desires with which your user could use help), not nouns (solutions). Identify needs directly from the user traits you noted, or from contradictions between two traits – such as a disconnect between what she says and what she does. Write down needs on the side of your empathy map.
- Use the empathy map to draw out insights. An “insight” is a remarkable realization that you could leverage to better respond to a design challenge. Insights often grow from contradictions between two user attributes (either within a quadrant or from two different quadrants) or from asking yourself “Why?” when you notice strange behavior. Write down potential insights on the side of your Empathy Map. One way to identify the seeds of insights is to capture “tensions” and “contradictions” as you work.