Empathy Map Canvas – How to Put Yourself in the Customer’s Shoes

The Empathy Map was developed by author and Xplane founder Dave Gray as a tool to develop a deep, shared understanding and empathy for customers. It can help in workshops for target group analysis and in the (further) development of personas.

The Empathy Map is created on a large sheet of paper, which is divided into seven fields with questions about the target group. A separate map is created for each target group or persona. The workshop participants have the task of putting themselves in the position of the target group and finding answers from their perspective. The answers are noted on post-its and pasted into the respective fields.




First, the groups of people are determined and the goals defined. Next, the perceived environment and one’s own behaviour are observed. Once you have collected enough impressions, you try to imagine yourself more deeply into the people and to understand what they think and how they feel:

  1. Who are we empathizing with?
  • Who do we want to understand?
  • What situation are they in?
  • What role do they have in this situation?


  1. What do they need to do?
  • What do they have to do differently?
  • Which task do they have to do?
  • What decision do they have to make?
  • How do we know they were successful?


  1. What do they see?
  • What do they see on the market?
  • What do they see in their immediate surroundings?
  • What do they see in other people?
  • What are they looking at and reading?


  1. What do they say?
  • What did we hear them say?
  • What could they say?


  1. What do they do?
  • What are they doing today?
  • What behavior have we observed?
  • What could they do?


  1. What do they hear?
  • What do others say?
  • What do they hear from friends?
  • What do they hear from colleagues?
  • What do they hear through several corners?


  1. What do they think and feel?
  • PAINS – What fears and worries do they have?
  • GAINS – What expectations, hopes and dreams do they have?


The Emapthy Map in Practice


The Empathy Map is very well suited not only to describe target groups, but to put yourself in their place. After all, the better you know your target groups, the better you can respond to their needs. Based on the objectives of the people, the behaviour and all influencing factors in the environment are examined. Based on this, we anticipate how people actually think and feel.

Unlike most tools and models, the Empathy Map does not require in-depth analysis. It should rather be seen as a discussion guide that helps to approach the target groups step by step and in a structured way. The result should be regularly adjusted and supplemented with new findings and experiences.

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