The Empathy Map helps you to understand, categorize, and synthesize user observations and needs. It serves as a framework and template, which helps you to put yourself in another person’s position by answering questions and visualize the results.


The empathy map helps you empathize with the persona’s feelings and synthesize observations on an emotional level.


  • Moderator or coach is recommended to keep the session efficient

  • No specific team roles necessary. Everybody has the same tasks and responsibilities.


  • Empathy Map template

  • Pen and Post-its


1. Preparation

Print out the template. Or: Draw a person’s head in the middle of a whiteboard. Then divide the board into four sections, radiating out from the person in the middle:

  • Think & feel: What do the people or a specific stakeholder group you have observed think about the issue? What moves and motivates them? What do they worry about?

  • Say & do: What statements were relevant? What behaviour and what actions did you observe?

  • Hear: Who does your target group listen to and what information sources are relevant for them?

  • See: What do they see in their (day-to-day) reality? How does the environment around them look like?

2. Fill the Empathy Map

Arrange all the post-its and pictures from your observations appropriately in the four sections.



3. Evaluation

Pain & Gain: You should now be in a position to formulate specific problems (pains) and needs and motivations (gains). This will give you the basis for ideation in the next step.

© 2018 University of St. Gallen / ITMP