Understanding who we’re designing for is one of our first tasks. This popular method allows us to explore and map the psyche of our user/target market. I first learned this one at IBM Design in Austin TX.
It’s worth noting the apparent contradictions that arise. People often say one thing, but are thinking another. And as we know, we often don’t do what we say. Empathy maps are a great way for understanding these emotional and cognitive paradoxes.
Use this method at the beginning of a project and throughout as you gather more qualitative research.