How to Create an Empathy Map

Consider these questions to get your team thinking about the customer in a new light. It’s better to answer these questions in the general sense of your customer’s life, not hone in on their experience with your products or services.

1. What does the customer think and feel?

What are their beliefs, dreams, worries, and daily emotions? What makes them happy, sad, scared, emotional, and angry?

2. What does the customer hear?

Who do they hear from? What media are they influenced by?

3. What does the customer see?

What are the sights surrounding their home, job, and other activities? Who do they see?

4. What does the customer say and do?

How do they behave in different settings — in public, in private, with coworkers, with friends and family? How do they speak to others?

5. What are the customer’s pains?

What frustrations and stresses do they encounter? What risks and threats do they face?

6. What are the customer’s gains?

What do they need to be successful and achieve their goals? How do they measure success?

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Keeping those questions in mind, outline a map on a whiteboard or on a large poster. Divide off the necessary sections (6 questions above), but leave plenty of room for ideas to bud.

Now that you have several ideas to choose from, you can finally get to crafting your final, edited empathy map. Look for patterns; if several people wrote about a similar pain, you’ll probably want to consolidate all their ideas into one sticky note under “Pains.”

Even if your team came up with 40 items for things your customers see, it’s probably best to choose the top 10 or so that seem most relevant.

When your map has an equal and valid number of items for each category and accurately depicts your customer profile, you’re all done! Use this empathy map whenever you’re considering releasing new products and services, updates, marketing materials, etc. to ensure that your deliverables will be appropriate for your average customer.

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