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Empathy Mapping

Empathy Mapping

It is a tool that a learner can use to gain a depth of insight into the emotions of a user of their choice. It helps in identifying specific act by the user in a given circumstances or conditions. Through imaginations, a learner learns to create or visualize scenarios using one’s thoughts.

A sample of thought process re-orientation

(Courtesy: Cleveland Clinic; CEO Toby Cosgrove, MD, shared this video, titled “Empathy,” with the Cleveland Clinic staff during his 2012 State of the Clinic address on Feb.)

Pre-requisite prior beginning:

The exercise needs to be completed within a time-frame of about thirty minutes.

  • Empathy mapping sheet;
  • Sticky notes;
  • Thick-bold marker (one or more colors);
  • Pencils/sketch pens for drawing objects (optional)

Process is very simple to do:

  • Identify a single user. Be specific who your user is. Give a name to the user.
  • Identify stakeholders of the user.
    1. These are the persons getting involved in the life of the user. The frequency of involvement may vary from daily to yearly basis.
  • Think of activities that the user must be doing.
  • When exhausted of thoughts on activities of the user, assume that the user is meeting each of the stakeholders. Identify new activities possibly happening.
  • Now, one need to become a movie script writer.
    1. Two stories are essential involving happy (gain) and sad (pain) emotions each. Both of these emotions are crucial for happenings in a persons’ life (our user);
    2. Involve the thinking and feelings of the user, what the user must be seeing at, or hearing to or saying to someone.
    3. Give name of each of the actor in your stories;
    4. Places may be given names;
    5. Draw diagrams in relevance, if any you like to draw;
    6. Attempt to use entire of the paper, drain out your thoughts.
  • You are done with mapping for empathy of a user.
  • Iterate by taking another user.

Some tips to make your empathy mapping effective:

  • Put your name and identity on the mapping sheet – FIRST TASK.
  • Avoid forceful/enforced observation (in form of experience’ for example, making empathy of thoughts for a newborn baby…!);
  • Avoid hypocritical thinking;
  • One must enter into the emotion of the user;
  • Expect what your user will expect (expectations are natural for someone to do something);
  • Remember that the technologies evolve organically and step-by-step, not overnight and all of a sudden.

Mindmapping applied for creating Empathy map


(Image source:

A quick look into “How to make an Empathy Mapping sheet?”

Creative Commons License
Empathy Mapping by Bhasker V. Bhatt is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. Author created the content as a part of developing Open Educational Resources (OER). It means you are free to use, re-use and distribute the above all for free provided while the usage, proper citation is made. The page is under Creative Commons free culture license.

Lets learn

Prof. Bhasker Bhatt is a Town Planner and Civil Enginee. He has been very active with design thinking based training program as an expert conducting workshops.He completed his masters in town planning with a research on Road Safety Audit. As far as academics are concerned, he has been excellent and awarded with several Gold Medals during Diploma, Degree and Post Graduate studies. He had provided his services in the field of consultancy at national as well as international level through working with multilateral organisations such as The World Bank and United Nations Development Project-India. Research areas of him include Road Safety, Urban Planning, Infrastructure Planning, Statistical Analysis Techniques, GIS and Climate Change effects in urban areas.He is actively associated with several professional organisations and serving various prestigious posts for better interaction among educational, engineering and planning fraternity. He has more than 6 years’ experience in technical consultancy and about 6 years of engineering teaching. He has guided about 23 PG Dissertations and 10+ UG projects as well as a few AMIE projects. Towards continuous upgradations of skills and technological advancements, he has attempted 50+ events consisting of workshops, training programs, seminars, conventions, and symposiums. He frequently organises events for students and faculty members that ignite active academic upgradations and industrial interaction. He has published more than 56 technical research papers in conferences and journals. Several of his research articles are awarded with Best Paper honor during conferences. Most of all his works are available online for reference along with projects and dissertation reports. He is fascinated to conduct academic and exposure trips for students through putting his network of acquaintances to best of use.Prof. Bhasker is a recipient of “Best Section Management Committee Member of ISTE Gujarat Section 2015”. Also, he was honoured by “Pedagogical Innovation Award 2015” by the GTU for his efforts and contributions in engineering education. At the GTU he was a Master Trainer for Faculty Development Programs conducted at the University wherein he trained more than 350+ teachers of diverse engineering discipline. 1500+ students have attended his sessions on Design Thinking approach that ignites the engineering insights and motivates the engineering brain to increase capabilities, drastically. Recently he has been active with Startup Weekend Surat (powered by Google Inc.) as a trainer. He has developed his own learning portal, for learners - completely free of cost to best serve the purpose of spreading knowledge.

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