What is an Empathy map?
The empathy map is one of the first steps in the Design Thinking process. Its use and purpose partially overlap with the personas because it serves as a sort of travel guide during the planning process. Empathy maps, just like personas, are used in UX design.
The empathy map is drawn by answering four simple questions, but the resulting figure is far from simple; it details the given user types: what the user thinks, says, does and feels, so we can understand them in depth.
Overall, empathy maps help understanding designers, product managers, additional interested parties and other team members, as well as building empathy towards users and learning about their behavioral patterns.
The point of using an empathy map
At Ergomania, one aspect of our job is to represent the interests of our customers ’users – but it is not enough to solely understand the users, we also need to support the employees and the entire development team in general to understand them and prioritize their needs.
The empathy map provides basic and comprehensive aid towards this goal since is a joint visualization tool that perfectly demonstrates what we know about each user. Traditionally, we break down the map into four quarters, centered on the user or persona, thus giving us a comprehensive picture.
The 4 quarters of the empathy map are formed by the following actions of the user in the problem area:
- What they say
- What they think
- What they do
- What they feel
Creating an empathy map at Ergomania
In the 4 sections of the empathy map, we display a number of characteristics that help us achieve the desired goal.
What they say: what the user or persona says out loud, for example during an interview. Ideally, clear statements are included here. For example, “I want a reliable app to order some stuff”.
What they think: the place for the thoughts of the user. This quarter usually overlaps in part with the previous one, but naturally, many people think one thing and say another, and if there are discrepancies, it is vital for us to know them. For example, “it is just me who don’t understand how to view their user account?”
What they do: the description of the user’s actions and decisions. For example, “clicks to update the screen a number of times.”
What they feel: the place for the users’ emotions. Typically, what we indicate here are emotion-explanation pairs. For example, “impatient: the app loads pages slowly.”
The main methods of using the empathy map
The empathy map is used in UX design to bring the members of the design team to a common platform and to determine in what order the implementation of user needs would take place. In user-centric design, the empathy map is used from the very beginning of the design process.
The empathy map is updated from time to time by data collected directly from users. We employ two methods for this depending on which one fits the particular design better: either by using the responses of a particular user to draw the empathy map, or by collecting the necessary data from multiple users.
What do our customers gain by using the empathy map?
At Ergomania, we are always aware of the fact that users are complex human beings, so there could be plenty of times when using a software or any other product results in mixed feelings and experiences. They love some aspects, while they hate others.
This is the right time for the empathy map to come into the picture: through its implementation we can discover all the hidden things that allow us to better understand users and their problems and find solutions for them.
The main role of the four quarters is primarily to fully cover everything we know about users not letting any essential aspect slip our attention.
What is the role of our customers in drawing the empathy map?
Our clients play an important role in creating the empathy map because they provide us with user interviews and all the data, we can use to draw the empathy map.
The result of the successful use of the empathy map
The empathy map allows us to understand users in depth and, as its name suggests, evoke compassion for them. Its proper use allows us:
- To get rid of prejudice in design
- To recognize the weaknesses of the design
- To realize customer needs that have not been revealed before
- To understand user motivations
Overall, we can optimize UX development resulting in a product that users would really love.
- Information from client: Providing user data for interviews and the Empathy Map
- Client cooperation: Providing users for interviews
- Deliverables: Visual Empathy Map