You may have seen an empathy map displayed somewhere on a wall. I have many times. Did you know that you’ve now artificial intelligence apps that are available to you? Yes, so there is no need to stuck these big sheets of paper to the wall in order to work the empathy maps. Well, seeing that it’s preferable to work at a distance then you might prefer the digital version.
Many companies use this new tool to discover, communicate but also improve product features or services. Okay, but how does it work? For those of you who don’t know or have never heard of it, keep reading.
What is an empathy map?
Let’s start by explaining what an empathy map is. Empathy maps are best described as a visualization tool. It allows our brains to flow and create an educated guess about what the user sees, likes, etc. This is an empathy map. This can be an excellent ally. It allows you to describe feelings, actions, but also think and articulate the pains and wishes of specific types of users.
They are often considered as part of the design thinking methodology, and they can empower you to create a shared understanding of user needs to help decision-makers with key judgement calls.
UX professionals have a difficult task at hand. They must create products beneficial to consumers/users they have never met or interacted with. To do so, they must understand the user’s logical thinking and help their colleagues do the same. Simply put an empathy map is a powerful tool that helps you do both.
The benefits of creating empathy mapping
Businesses of all sizes, including your’s, can benefit enormously when using an empathy map template to illustrate a particular service process around the end-user. It will reveal, organise thoughts in understanding your users with their pain points, desires, and what they will get out of your product.
For example, e-commerce site clients or managers would welcome participating in this exercise. It’s an opportunity for the marketing team to figure out how the site’s visitors navigate around the pages. After all, who better to show empathy as they are behind it.
Get in your users’ heads and shoes’
Empathy maps are really useful tools to exercise the role of the users and then apply those steps on how they would approach and interact with your product.
It’s an easy and pragmatic way for product marketing, content and or even designers to collaborate without losing sight of the real-world user experience. It forces them to focus. That is why empathy maps are vital in helping your team narrow down their thinking.
Put a face and a narrative into your data
The basis of empathy mapping is typically some first-hand narrative based on data received from an internal team member, or early beta users, that describe their thoughts on using your product.
We could say that one of the major benefits of creating empathy mapping is that it requires you to have a dialogue with customers and determine what they’re feeling.
You can then narrow down some of the most plausible narratives to lead or inform the rest of your UX and UI team members.
Easily and clear visualization about the customer’s needs
Another great benefit of empathy mapping is that you get that instant visual exercise, (thanks to sticky notes) that distils various simplified pieces of information about the customer experience into a single reference point. Isn’t that fantastic?
Empathy maps can be used and referenced by different stakeholders and team members at various meetings or stag of the development cycle. And they’re efficient and relatively simple to create.
When should we use an empathy map?
Use empathy maps whenever your team is revising a core product page and or needs a deeper understanding of their user’s needs before a core product launch. Obviously, the user personas document will support and deepen the understanding of the what, how, why and when in your user story. In other words the empathy mapping process helps you create the ideal product/service and customer experience.
The empathy map points to or sketches out profiles but also refines the user or persona to make it even more realistic. Work the empathy map to help you summarise and analyse qualitative research such as survey responses and interview transcripts.
By writing this information on a single page, you can uncover gaps in your knowledge and figure out how to fill them. After a marketing campaign, empathy maps are the ideal tool for design thinking, work around the “thinks and feelings”, digestible methods to illustrate user attitudes and behaviours.
The 4 elements of an empathy map
The traditional empathy maps template is divided up into four quadrants.
The “Says quadrant” records what a user says during an interview. Try to capture exact quotes, such as, “I use this product every day because it helps me streamline my workflow.”
In contrast, the “Thinks quadrant” summarizes what the user is thinking throughout the experience. Based on your qualitative research, ask yourself what occupies the user’s thoughts, what matters to them, and what challenges they’re facing. The key here is to uncover the things they might be too shy or reluctant to share. For example, “This feature is really annoying”.
3. Do or Does
As it implies, the “Do” for instance asks “What do they do when…” and “Does quadrant” will capture the various actions portraited by your users. Let’s see an example – you’re monitoring a user’s interaction with two similar product page, you could deduct and log that he or she: “ hesitates in between to those two pages”.
The Feels quadrant records user emotions. What worries them? What excites them? For example, “The user is excited about the price point. The user is worried that this is too hard to use.”
The updated version of Empathy Map Canvas
All the above is great, but, all these years though we were lacking some elements. I always included the “Goal ” at the top of the page.
And ladies and gentlemen, let me say that to satisfy my curious ego, I was happy to learn that the creator of “Empathy map canvas” has updated the original canvas and added – the goal at the top following with:
1) Who are we empathising with?
2) What do they need to DO?
3) What do they SEE?
4) What do they SAY?
5) What do they DO?
6) What do they HEAR?
7) What do they THINK and FEEL? (Pain, emotions and gains)
You can find an excellent tool to help you elaborate the map
Create your own empathy mapping
Get Miro’s whiteboard online tool, which is, if I may say, a great canvas to create and share your empathy map. Now you can download the new Empathy Map canvas. Then work the map by adding the items discussed above and brainstorm the seven different points in each section using the (ready-displayed) sticky notes based on the initial customer statement.
How do you use the empathy map template?
To create an empathy map, you should have your main goal in mind. This should be written down as the customer main behaviour, their insights or affirmation gleaned from the interviews, surveys and or direct feedback.
From there, work your magic up and create a constellation of thoughts, emotional feelings, and actions that underly the customer’s statement and help you understand why they made the statement and what their underlying motivations are.
Why are empathy maps so important?
Empathy maps are important because they give product and page designers a back door into the mind of the customer and help them empathize with their experience, desires, and needs. They’re also useful for taking insights you gain from user research, digging deeper, and applying them to find concrete solutions.