As an entrepreneur, you need to know who your target groups are. The more you know about your users, the better you can develop solutions to accommodate their needs. One of the most effective ways to focus on your target groups’ needs is empathy mapping. In this article, we are going to learn more about developing empathy maps and take a look at some empathy map examples to reach a better understanding of this useful method. 

What Are Empathy Maps?

Empathy maps were first introduced by Dave Gray. They are the perfect tool for entrepreneurs and businesses to develop an understanding and reach an assessment of their target groups. If you need to immerse yourself in your users’ experiences, you can simply ask yourself the following questions and get an idea of what it’s like to be in their shoes:

  • What are my users thinking and feeling? What do they worry about?
  • What do my users hear from their family and friends about my product or service?
  • What do my users see when they’re using my product or service?
  • What do my users gain from using my product or service?

In an empathy map, the aim is to capture the user’s persona based on data collected in interviews and studies. As the name suggests, your focus is on empathising with the user and understanding their feelings and thoughts.

Empathy Mapping Tips

Making an empathy map may be a little confusing. You have all this data collected in interviews, you have to read many articles and study the research, and then you will have a pile of notes to sort out. If you consider the following tips, you can successfully have your empathy map in a few short steps: 

  • Define Your Goals

You need to know how many personas you want to map. If you are mapping more than one individual or group, you need specific maps for each individual or group.It’s  also important to specifically define the purpose of your empathy map.

  • Use the Right Tools

It’s important to use the right medium for your empathy map. If you’re doing it alone, you should consider using online whiteboards, such as Brightidea and Mural, so that you can share your results with your team. If you’re doing it with a group, then use a whiteboard, sticky notes, and any other tools that can help organise your map. 

  • Do Detailed Research

Gather as much relevant information as possible. There are various ways to collect information for your empathy map. You can use surveys, field and diary studies. Another effective way to collect data is by conducting listening sessions

  • Cluster Your Data

After you do the research and collect the data, it is time to put the information in one of the four sections. Read and understand your data properly, then write the relevant points on sticky or digital notes that can be added to the whiteboard later. Once you have your notes ready, cluster them into groups and discuss them with the other members. 

  • Finish up and Plan

If you think your map lacks information, or there are inconsistencies in your clusters, you can adjust and revise the data. Make sure that the user, version number, date and any related questions are involved in the empathy map. This way you can come back and use the map for future business plans and research.

Empathy Map Examples

Remember that the standard empathy map is divided into four quadrants. In our empathy map examples we have named these quadrants as:

  • Think and feel: what the user thinks and feels about using the prototypical product or service
  • Hear: what the user hears in public or on social media about the prototypical product or service
  • See: what the user sees in public or on social media that can be related to the prototypical product or service
  • Say and Do: what the user eventually says and does about the prototypical product or service

There are also two additional sections to include pains (fears and worries the user might have) and gains (what the user hopes to achieve with your product or service). 

Before you get started, it helps to go through a few empathy map examples. The following examples provide insights into hypothetical users’ personas:

  • Small Company Producing Vegan Milk

Imagine you own a small business that produces vegan milk. After conducting a few interviews, you’ve  gained an insight about a hypothetical customer. A typical empathy map can look as the following photo:

  • Releasing a New Tablet

Imagine your company is releasing a new tablet that is ideal for note-taking. Hypothetically speaking, your largest target group is university students. After conducting interviews and doing  research, you can cluster your data about your typical user in the following empathy map example:

  • Nature Tour Guide

Imagine you are a nature guide, or you own a small travel agency that offers nature guides. The following empathy map example can help you understand and empathise with your potential client:

 Closing Ideas on Empathy Mapping 

It’s important for business owners and entrepreneurs to have a thorough understanding of their end users. If you learn about your target group’s preferences, fears, needs, and goals, you can customise your services and products more effectively. One of the ways to achieve this goal is creating empathy maps. 

As we learned in this article, empathy maps provide insights into the end users’ needs. Additionally, they help you to cluster the data gathered from research and interviews. 

In the last part of the article, we went through three empathy map examples. Modeling after these examples, you can create effective maps which not only help you to modify your business plan but can be useful resources for future reference. 

About the author
EWOR Team

EWOR is a school conceived by Europe’s top professors, entrepreneurs, and industry leaders. We educate and mentor young innovators to launch successful businesses.

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