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2 min read

Understanding the empathy map

Do you understand what the primary needs your customers seek to satisfy are? What is their objective, and what frustrates them in the process? Do you know how they perceive your brand?

If you want to understand how the users of your product or service feel and think, read the content of this blog, where you will find a simple tool to empathize and put yourself in your customers' shoes.


Empathy map

An empathy map is a visual tool that facilitates user understanding by showing how the customer, prospect, partner, or other feels in a specific context. For example, in the experience of using a product or service.

Design thinking Process

If we take the Design Thinking methodology as a reference, empathy is the first stage of the process; this is crucial to understand the user, their needs, desires, and pain points so that we can visualize the world through the eyes of the customer. Precisely, the empathy map is a tool used in this methodology in the second stage called "definition," helping to summarize the findings of the first phase.

Designing with empathy (Design Thinking)

In other words, the empathy map allows us to capture in a simple way the frustrations, feelings, and perceptions of the Buyer Persona, validated through data analysis.

Empathy map elements

The empathy map was created by Dave Gray - founder of XPLANE - and introduced in a first version of the book "Game Storming." This first visualization had the following elements:

  • Thinking
  • Hearing
  • Seeing
  • Saying
  • Doing
  • Feeling

empathy map book

However, the map was eventually redesigned to arrive at a complete version:

  • Who are we empathizing with?
  • What does this person need to do?
  • What does this person think and feel (pains and desires)?
  • What do they hear?
  • What do they see?
  • What do they say?
  • What do they do?

empathy map updated

Steps to build it

Although we might think that building the empathy map is just a matter of taking the template and starting to fill it in, in reality, it is necessary to carry out a series of steps:

  • Define the scope and goal

  • Conducting the relevant research (data collection)

  • Fill in the empathy map (there is no particular order)

  • Analyze the quadrant data (to find the opportunities)

  • Identify user needs (Maslow's pyramid)

maslow's pyramid


Why use the empathy map? Here are a few reasons:

  • It is a tool that will help you compile, categorize and make sense of the information you collect about users.
  • In addition, it adds more depth to the buyer persona, capturing in a comprehensive way who these users are and what they perceive.
  • It will make it easier for you to understand the "why" of users' needs and wants.
  • You will have a holistic view of the user and "their world," including problems and expectations to identify opportunities.
  • In other words, the tool will help you discover gaps and eliminate biases and stereotypes that may have been taken as reality and were only hypotheses.

In conclusion, the empathy map helps companies understand their customers' needs and wants. It is a simple technique with which you can find customers' pain points and facilitate the creation of strategies to help them. If you're going to build trust and provide a good customer experience, start by understanding your customers' pain points. Doing so can offer solutions that make them feel valued and understood.


Mapa de empatía

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