Empathy map illustration

Lead paragraph

Empathy Maps help designers to build empathy towards the participants by identifying their needs, gain- and pain-points whilst identifying also the sensorial experience of the participant.

PREPARATION: 2-4 hours
DURATION: 60 minutes per round
FACILITATORS: 1-5, design team members
RESOURCES: Empathy Map Canvas template (paper-based or digital), pens, masking tape,  Post-its
PARTICIPANTS: 5-15, Customers, employees, or other stakeholders
EXPECTED OUTCOME: Field data from Empathy Map Canvas

By using empathy maps, designers gain a deeper level of understanding of a participant’s experience. Designers use empathy maps to empathize with users, employees, or any other relevant stakeholders to the design challenge within a given context, such as a buying decision or experiencing a service.


Define the focus of what you are interested in and consider what you want to do with the findings (build personas, journey maps, system maps, etc.).

Based on the selected focus area, define the criteria and select suitable targets/participants of empathy.

Think about how you will follow the footsteps of the participant. Will you reenact the participate experience or will you imagine it. If you use real participants, then think about how you will recruit the participants, what expectations will be set up-front, how you will start and end, and how much time participants are expected to dedicate to this activity. Print enough Empathy Map Canvas or if suitable use a digital one.

The Empathy Map can be done in various shapes and colours. Post-it notes simplify the complicated data with colour coding. The information is collected and analyzed around the participant in seven different components.

Follow the empathy map canvas points/questions:
1. Who are you empathizing with?
2. What do they need to do?
3. What do they see?
4. What do they say?
5. What do they do?
6. What do they hear?
7. What do they think and feel?

Review all the data and highlight important issues. Make a short summary that includes your key findings and examples from the data that exemplify these.


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