Empathy Map

Empathy map method aims to design by employing all five senses. As vision is the most dominant sense out of the five senses that human beings possess¹, products are tend to be thought and designed with visuals predominantly. Empathy map method reveals the hidden needs and the small moments that the user enjoys by analyzing users’ five senses and cognitive process.


  1. A detailed persona is created based on the built in scenario. To build a scenario for the product to be designed, journalistic six method could be used.
    Marie Kreutz goes to a grocery store to buy some food for the dinner. She is using the shopping cart to purchase the goods. 
  2. A representation of the persona’s is drawn on a whiteboard or paper and divided into five sections; think, feel, see, smell/taste and hear to represent aspects of that person’s sensory experience. Think category is split into two sub-sections which are positive thought and negative thoughts.
    Empathy Map 01
  3. In order to understand the context to be explored, user’s whole experience is walked through step by step, by projecting oneself into his place.
    See: Small labels and blurry vision, ambient light is not sufficient
    Hear: In-store announcements, ladies talking, white noise of the freezer
    Smell/Taste: Someone spilled a milk to cart
    Feel: Frozen food section – very cold environment, feeling hungry, sticky shopping cart handle because of the spilled milk. Shopping cart going over small bumps in the store.
    (+) Thoughts: That one has a good price
    (-) Thoughts: I wish I had my glasses, I need to change my cart.
  4. The key problems and moments that the user enjoys are identified.
    Problems: Something to clean the cart
    Enjoyable moments: Sound that the shopping cart’s wheel makes.
  5. The possible solutions to problems and moments are listed.
    Self-cleaning shopping cart, Shopping cart wash, like car wash: user will put the dirty shopping cart once done with shopping and the new customer will get the clean cart from the other side.
    Designing the store flooring in a way that it creates a melody when you are pushing the shopping cart.  


¹ Posner, M.I., Nissen, M.J., Klein, M., (1976)”Visual Dominance:An Information Processing Account of its Origins and Significance” Psychological Review, 83(2):157-171