Canvas Model

The Empathy Map


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The Empathy Map is a great powerful tool that helps putting yourself inside the head of a person you might be looking at as a prospective customer or product user. It allows you to quickly grasp their experience and where they are coming from.

Empathy Map's Creator

Dave Gray, Empathy Map Creator

Dave Gray

Dave Gray is the founder and chairman of XPLANE and also co-founder of Vizthink, a global community dedicated to the use of visualization. As artist, journalist and information designer, he is passionate about applied creativity...

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Description of the Empathy Map

A User Empathy Map is used to help in the discussion about the needs a user has. Using it allows you to focus on what was observed, and what can be inferred about your different user groups’ beliefs and emotions.


Developing a better understanding of the person for whom you are designing your product with the Empathy Map helps you synthesize observations and draw out unexpected insights.


You can use the Empathy Map alone or in a group as a visual collaboration exercise. Everyone using it on TUZZit sees the same thing on their screen at the same time. A good video explaining how you can use the empathy map was made by Jeannel King. You can read directly here or on her Youtube channel.

Have the team members speak about the sticky notes as they place them on the empathy map. Ask questions about deeper insights so that they can be understood by the rest of the team. To help bring the user to life, you may add one or two pictures with the characteristics this person may have on the center of Empathy Map. At the end of the session, ask the team members what insights they’ve learned. More importantly, ask them what hypotheses they now have about the users that they’d like to validate.


First step

The first step that you want to do is figuring out who you want to describe with the exercise. For a new product for example, it will probably be that ideal user. Give that person a name and a title, so that you will be able to relate to him or her.


Second step

The second step in the analysis is to put yourself in his/her shoes for a day. What does he/she see, say, hear, think, feel and do. You can use different colour sticky notes or stickers to show if your persona is happy or unhappy in each sections. Each person should try to add at least one sticky to every section.

To help the team in the process, you may ask the following questions :

  • What does the persona you described in the first step think & feel about their worries or aspirations?

  • What is he/she hearing while using the product, and from whom?

  • What is he/she seeing while using the product in their working/living environment?

  • What is he/she saying & doing while using the product in public or private?

  • Does he/she fear something about using our product, or is there a pain about it?

  • Does he/she gain something while using our product?