Empathy Mapping

Used byResearch Team

Used forTo understand the way people think, feel and behave

Used when: User research, team working groups, team building, at any stage in a project

Tools: Use the ‘Human Values Canvas’.

Drawing of a man with icons to represent his likes and dislikes

Empathy maps are diagrams to describe more about users’ feelings, thoughts, words and behaviours. In the centre of the empathy map, their is the description of the user. Filling all of the parts of the map allows you to build an overview of your audience.

For Human Values empathy mapping, there is a central segment where ‘Value priorities’ sit. This ensures that the important values of the users are at the centre of the ideation process.

Step One

Gather research about your audience, and devise a team that is diverse and has a wide range of expertise. Be sure to include people in close contact to your audience, such as help desk staff, engagement assistants.

Step Two

Complete the central ‘Values’ space, identifying the chosen value priorities for your audience.

Choose the value priorities by researching your target audience, through desk research, user research or by using the Human Values White Paper. A card sorting activity can be helpful to narrow down options here.

Step Three

Each quadrant is based on your audience: think, feel, say, do. For each quadrant, describe the thoughts, feelings, speech, and behaviours of your audience. Populate the quadrant with the most useful insights that you have learned about your target audience. If you find yourself repeating, then approach the activity from a different angle.

What is missing? What do you still need to understand about your audience? How could you find out this information?

Step Four

Share the completed empathy map with stakeholders and other people that would have useful feedback.

Here you want to ascertain whether you have enough information about your audience in order for decisions to be made and projects to progress.


There are some great ways to gather this information, which can be found in our ‘Researching Human Values’ section