This guide will take you through the process of creating an empathy map as a way to synthesize the insights gathered during the discovery phase.
An empathy map is a visualization tool which helps you sum up what you learned from design research to help you better understand your users and articulate what you know to colleagues and stakeholders.
The map provides four major areas in which to focus your attention on, thus providing an overview of a person’s experience. Empathy maps are also great as a background for the construction of the personas that you would often want to create later.
The map consists of four quadrants. The four quadrants reflect four key traits which the user demonstrated/possessed during the discovery stage. The four quadrants refer to what the user: said, did, thought, and felt.
It is fairly easy to determine what the user said and did. However, determining what they thought and felt should be based on careful observation and analysis of how they behaved and responded to certain activities, suggestions, conversations, and so on.
Insight refers to a remarkable realization that can help you to solve the current design challenge you are facing.
Lay the four quadrants out on a table, draw them on paper or on a whiteboard.
Review your notes, pictures, audio, and video from your research/fieldwork and fill out each of the four quadrants while defining and synthesising:
Look for the following within your data to identify your users’ needs:
Write down user’s needs.
Look to synthesize major insights, especially from contradictions between two user attributes. It can be found within one quadrant or in two different quadrants.
You can also synthesize insights by asking yourself ‘why?’ when you notice strange, tense, or surprising behaviour.
Write down your insights.
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