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How do empathy maps help to make better products?

Updated 1 October 2019

Empathy maps are used to understand what a user is saying, thinking, hearing, saying or doing about their needs.

Empathy Map

Why Empathy maps are essential?

Empathy maps are created to visualize the user’s behavior and actual needs, which in return helps to make better product design-oriented decisions prioritizing the user’s need.

How empathy maps are created?  

Set of one on one or group interviews with users are conducted to collect the unstructured insights and feelings.

Role of Empathy Map

Empathy map acts as the foundation of the UX process and hints on what further steps are needed in UX research to create the full-fledged user-persona.

How does an empathy map look like?

Traditionally empathy map has four quadrants – Says, Thinks, Does and Feels. 

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What so ever a user says goes to the “Says” segment. It generally highlights the problem set and focuses upon what exactly a user is looking for.


“Thinks” segment concludes what the user is thinking all the time while performing different actions in their journey.


“Does” segment is used to jot down the observed user behavior while they were performing a set of different actions.


“Feels” segment collects the general human emotions like frustration or delight whichsoever is experienced by the interviewee.

Use Case : Understanding with Example

Let’s say there is a boy named Sandie and he lives independently and needs dairy products every day. After a one on one Interview with Sandie, we knew a few things like –

  • He has a tight schedule and doesn’t have time to buy the daily dairy.
  • He is a busy whole day and cannot visit any groceries daily.
  • He manages to visit the grocery store occasionally.
  • He is a night owl and finds waking up early too hard.
  • He is health concerned and at least needs milk top of everything.
  • He doesn’t like when someone knocks the doorbell before 9 a.m.
  • He is firmly educated and mostly transacts using his mobile phone.
  • He understands the in-app buying environment.
  • He is concerned about the quality and fresh delivery.
  • He values time and can pay extra charges to avail the comfort.
  • He sometimes don’t want daily dairy when he is out station for business meeting/vacations.

On basis of above unstructured data, a possible empathy map will look like –


Empathy maps are the foundation of user research and plays an important role while creating user personas. Empathy maps are cost friendly and helps to understand and prioritize the needs of customers better. An empathy map is generally composed of four segments which are Says,Thinks, Does and Feels.

Extra Tip

If you want to make an easy start with empathy mapping you can give UXem – a free to use tool to create empathy maps a try. Do let me know what do you think about empathy maps and whats your take on them by writing a comment below.

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