Empathy maps… How & when to use them
Your customers are the life, breath and soul of your business. Your brand’s reputation, growth and success depends on them and how they view you and your products/services. Whenever you feel the need to inverse yourself in your user’s environment, you will need empathy maps to help you achieve that.
But what is agile empathy mapping? And how does it help you elaborate on user personas and capture their behaviors? Let’s explore this interesting topic here together.
What are empathy maps?
They are collaborative tools your teams can use to gain deeper insights about your customers and what they need. They also allow you to empathize and synthesize your observations and sum up engagement findings.
Each empathy map consists of 4 quadrants reflecting 4 key traits: Said, Did, Thought and Felt. Determining what the user said or did is the easy part. However, determining what they thought and felt requires careful observation and analysis of their responses to conversations, suggestions and activities.
Check out the video below for a more detailed, visual explanation:
Tips for creating empathy maps:
Step 1: Fill out your empathy map
Sit with your team to fill out the four quadrants on your map. Review your notes, images, audio and video to define and synthesize:
- What the user said (using significant keywords and quotes).
- What the user did (using actions and behaviors).
- The user’s thought process. Use his motivations, needs, worries, aspirations, goals and desires to better understand how he thinks and what his beliefs are.
- How the user felt. Rely on subtle cues such as choice of words, tone of voice and body language to get a better sense of what your user felt.
Step 2: Define your design challenge
You will need to synthesize your user’s needs to define your design challenge. Take the user’s traits and use them to identify needs based on contradictions you see between two traits. For example: what the user does vs. what he says.
Furthermore, use Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs to guide you to a better overall understanding of underlying user needs. This will help you learn which needs are a priority and need to be fulfilled first.
Step 3: Synthesize Insights
Here is where you take your realizations and use them to solve the current design challenge you are facing. Focus on synthesizing major insights, especially those with contradictions between two attributes. Moreover, take the time to ask “why” these contradictions occurred.
When should you use an empathy map?
Empathy maps can be used whenever you need more comprehensive insights about you users and their environments. They can be helpful when:
- Elaborating on user stories or personas.
- Capturing behaviors during user interviews.
- Diving into customer segments.
- Creating users in your stories.
We hope you have all enjoyed this post!
You can click here for a simple empathy map template on Google Docs.
Finally, it’s time for us to hear your thoughts and insights! Please don’t forget to drop us a line in the comment section below.