XPlane Empathy Map

XPlane Empathy Map

Dave Gray designed the Empathy Map at XPLANE many years ago, as part of a human-centered design toolkit called Gamestorming.


How to use it?

1. Start with the GOAL section, by defining WHO will be the subject of the Empathy Map and what you want them to DO. This should be framed in terms of a new and observable behavior.

2. Once you have clarified the goal, work your way clockwise around the canvas, until you have covered Seeing, Saying, Doing, and Hearing. The reason for this is that the process of focusing on observable phenomena (Things that they see, say, do and hear) is like walking a mile in their shoes. It gives us a chance to imagine what their experience might be like, to give us a sense of what it “feels like to be them.”

3. Only AFTER you have made the circuit of outside elements do you focus on what’s going on inside their head. I’ve noticed many Empathy Map templates do not leave space inside the head at the center of the Empathy Map and put the “Think and Feel” categories on the periphery of the map. The large head in the center is one of the most important aspects of the map’s design. In fact we used to call this exercise “The Big Head” when we first started doing it, because the whole idea was to imagine what it’s like to be inside someone else’s head. That was and is the primary power of the exercise.

4. If you are designing products, services, or customer experiences, a completed Empathy Map is a great input for a value proposition design exercise, which you can facilitate using another of Alex’s tools, the Value Proposition Canvas.

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