Empathy Map

What is it? The Empathy Map is a collaborative visualization used to synthesize information about the users (what they say, do, think and feel). It is a tool to empathise with employees or target groups to understand their needs and emotions. When there is a lot of field information, it is used to better concentrate on understanding the target audience.

Objectives: The main objective is to create empathy with the target, by means of understanding their needs (gains) and the perceived obstacles/challenges (pains). This helps to build a shared understanding of the user needs and to aid in decision making.

Resources needed: Empathy maps can be used online or offline and you only need an empathy map template to identify the needs of your target groups.

Time: Empathy Mapping can be planned for a 1-hour session. Some preliminary preparation is needed.

Suggested number of participants: Empathy Maps can be used in teams and best when you involve at least 7 and not more than 12 participants. Small groups representing different areas work better – the dynamics allow more interaction and longer time for discussion.

Example of practical application: Empathy Maps can be very useful when designing and implementing a project. The tool is applicable in the scope definition phase and can help to find out what partners aim to achieve with the project. The Map can be also used to identify required elaborate project resources and obstacles that may appear when designing or exploiting the project outputs.

Steps to apply the method:

Empathy Maps can be easily applied. Some of the following steps are required to start working:

  • Think about the visualisation mode for a virtual or face-to-face meeting
  • Prepare the Empathy Map template (e.g. Miro, Mural, Jamboard, Whiteboard or Flipchart)
  • Define a topic you want to work on


Stage when to use this method:

  • Project Design
  • Project Implementation

Suggested tools:

Visual sample: If you want to learn more about on how to use the Empathy Map, follow this link.