Needs Map

Published on June 12, 2019 by

Themes: , , , ,


To identify users’ needs


A needs map is a way to look at your research and decide what your users’ most important needs are.


One Hour


Big sheet of paper or whiteboard, markers, post-it notes, visual material (eg. photos, diagrams), digital camera


In Small Groups

Image courtesy of Keeping Connected, Design Council Design Challenge, click here to visit


In some cases, users will tell you exactly what their needs are. In others you might identify a need through observing their behaviour. Before attempting a needs map, you will need lots of information about your user. The more research and visual material you have, the better. Follow these two steps to create a needs map for your users:

1. Examine your research

Gather lots of research (eg. through User diaries, Service Safari, Communications Mapping, User Shadowing). Examine your research to analyse the users’ needs and think about: “Why this person is doing this thing?; What they might like to happen and why?; If something is wrong, what might they like to change?” Write down all of the different needs on post-it notes. With your team, see if you can group similar needs. Give each of the groups of needs a heading (eg. behaviours, requirements, changes). Decide which 3-5 of these headings are the most important needs.

2. Create your needs map

Note down the most important headings on a big sheet of paper or a whiteboard. Use quotes, clear examples or images directly from your research to show that these are important needs. Attach this to the paper under the relevant heading and take a photo of your completed needs map.


Needs Map, Keeping Connected Design Challenge, access at


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