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This content is taken from the EIT Climate-KIC & Aalto University's online course, Innovation in EdTech: Hacking the Challenges of Digital Education. Join the course to learn more.

Skip to 0 minutes and 3 seconds Hey, everybody. And this little video, I would like to show you how to use to use a journey map. This, too, helps us to start prototyping ideas. And the great thing is that it works for any kind of solution. No matter if it’s a tangible product or a service or anything more complex or abstract, something you cannot build physically in a quick way, this works for everything. And basically what this tool helps us to do is to visualise our solution as a journey. Step by step, through the eyes of the user. And by this, we get a better understanding of how the solution actually works in more detail.

Skip to 0 minutes and 43 seconds And also, we get a better understanding of what goes on inside of the user. And these insights will help us to develop the idea further. Here we see a template of a user journey map. You will find different variations of this. If you do your own research. Often people also refer to this as a customer journey. So don’t be confused. They all refer to the same thing. And what we see here at the top are five boxes next to each other. These boxes can be understood as a story for you.

Skip to 1 minute and 18 seconds So what we do is we think about the solution as a journey that the user goes through and we try to define what are the five key moments that are happening in this journey? What are the five key interactions that the user has along that journey? And this is what we will try to define in those five boxes also by just drawing. Just very simple visual. OK. Nothing fancy. Just something quick. But also to sort of activate our visual thinking capabilities. And once we have those five moments, there are three things that we want to define for each of these moments. First of all, the activity.

Skip to 2 minutes and 4 seconds So we will define what are the specific actions that are taking place in that specific moment. We will define what are the thoughts of the user, what possible thoughts of the user. And also what could be important emotions to capture that are going on within the user. In each of these moments. And by doing this, we will just generate a much more comprehensive understanding of how the solution could work. And also a better understanding of what the experience of the user could look like. And all of this will help us to just get our idea further. To show you an example. Let’s just use the story that we’ve already told and some of the other learning nuggets.

Skip to 2 minutes and 52 seconds And that’s the story of Sara, who wants to improve the experience on the learning platform of climate kick. So let’s assume that she’s gone through good design thinking process. She done she’s done some ideation. And now there is an idea that she just wants to take to. Because she finds it very interesting. And let’s just say that this is the idea of the individual learning planner. So in her mind, this is a function, an application that helps the user to have a much more customised experience. She decides to map the journey through the eyes of Dario. So that’s the user

Skip to 3 minutes and 31 seconds who is a project manager. And who could be a potential user of dysfunction. So that’s the first thing you do. You decide what is it that you want to map? What’s the journey? And also, who’s the user that you’re going to meet? OK. So having defined this. Sara starts by defining the five key moments. And she says that hate first moment is Dario, who’s setting up his customised learner profile. He chooses several topic areas and he’s interested in step two. He receives suggestions by email. Based on his personal topic preferences. Dario logs in onto the platform. He sees his personal recommendations right at the start. And also signs up for course, then the next step.

Skip to 4 minutes and 20 seconds Durry also uses the scheduling function, which helps him to plan his course sessions of markers in his calendar. And finally, he completes the course and immediately receives for course of recommendations. All right. So this is how Sara envisions how the individual learning plan of functions could work. And already on that level, there’s many interesting things you can do. You can review this journey and think about if something is missing, if that’s logical. Yeah. If you want to modify something specific to working in a team, that can be a quite interesting discussion to have to align the ideas. But let’s just say that Sara is quite content with just a story with those steps. So she goes sort of deeper.

Skip to 5 minutes and 11 seconds What she does now is she goes through the story again, step by step, moment for moment. And now she thinks about the thoughts and the emotions that Sara might have in each of these moments. So I’m not going to go through all of this now one by one. But just to show you some examples you can read through, for example, right at the beginning, when Dario is setting up his customised Luna profile. He might think something like which topics are relevant for me or what is this topic about? OK. Simple thoughts, but important to just become aware of those emotions wise at the beginning. He might feel inspired or motivated because he finds. A good match.

Skip to 5 minutes and 56 seconds Something that’s interesting to him or you also might feel confused if the topic options are not clear to him. OK, so all of this, as you can see, give us indications

Skip to 6 minutes and 10 seconds to become more aware of what might be important to look out for when implementing the idea. Step by step. OK. It’s important to notice that, of course, a lot of the things that you will map specifically in the beginning of an idea, there will be assumptions of yours. You may not have. We have verified any of that. And that’s OK. So that’s the first value that we get out of this. We will become aware of the assumptions that we’re having. And by this, we might also become aware of which assumptions we want to verify because they might be very critical to the success of our lives here.

Skip to 6 minutes and 54 seconds Also, another thing that’s the journey map helps us to do is to detect blind spots. OK. Sometimes you will think about, OK, what is the user feeling or thinking in that moment, how you will be alive, that actually you don’t really have an idea about that. And that’s a key as well. Right. So you’ll become aware of what are your blind spots. And by this, again, you can take some actions on this afterwards. And also, you can really use this as a first prototyping tool. So you can sit down with a potential user and you could walk that person through the story step by step. Just like I did. Maybe a bit more sort of any detail.

Skip to 7 minutes and 39 seconds And I you can see why do reactions that you get from this user? What what is the feedback? Is there anything that’s interesting? If there’s anything that’s confusing to the user. So that’s already one way of starting the prototyping and getting more authentic feedback to your solution. So that’s the user journey map. Just try it out and have fun.

User Journey Map

Toni Chung provides some useful tips on how to complete a User Journey Canvas during the ‘prototype’ and ‘test’ phases.

User Journey Mapping allows you to create a timeline of touch points between you and your customer.

Understand your customers’ journeys from beginning to end

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A User Journey Map is an excellent tool that allows you to visualise how your customer will interact with your product and service, allowing you to identify key moments in the product or service you are designing.

It helps you to build an emotional connection with your customer that in turns, allows you to better understand them, which ultimately leads to a better user experience.
Duration: 8-10 minutes
Level of difficulty: Easy
Materials: User Journey Canvas and pens/post-it notes
Setting: 1-8 people

What is the User Journey Canvas used for?

  • Gaining a better (shared) understanding of user experiences and challenges
  • Prototyping new ideas and solutions
  • Detecting blind spots and critical moments within the user experience.

When to use it

  • Can be used during the ‘Empathise’ phase for capturing insights from user-exploration activities
  • Can be used to create quick prototypes of solution ideas, thereby making them understandable in greater detail
  • Suitable for services but also tangible product ideas.

How to run a User Journey Mapping session…

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The intention of this activity is to get you started using the User Mapping Activity.

Identify a problem to solve or an idea you need to design - and off you go.

Build the User Journey Map step-by-step:

  1. Put yourself into the shoes of the user and think about his/her most important steps / activities within the experience that you are mapping. These shouldn’t be more than 5-6 steps / activities.
  2. Visualise each step / activity with simple drawings (it’s not about creating art), so it also becomes a visual journey.
  3. For each step / activity, describe the following categories (short phrases / bullet points are enough):
  • ACTIVITY: What is the user doing at this moment?
  • THOUGHTS: What is the user thinking at this moment? What is going through his/her mind?
  • EMOTIONS: What is the user feeling at this moment?

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Now that you have your first draft of the User Journey Map, you can use it in several ways:

  • Identify blind spots where you are lacking information
  • Identify crucial moments within the user journey. These could be major barriers or critical points of decision-making (‘make-or-brake’) along the journey.

Coach’s tips

It is advisable to work with sticky-notes as this will allow you to quickly exchange and add elements if needed. Sometimes it makes sense to look at a user experience from a bird’s eye view and sometimes it can helpful to zoom in and be very detailed about a particular part of the experience. Always be conscious of the purpose of the mapping and what insights you would like to generate. The user journey is usually mapped from a user perspective → What is he/she experiencing?

Benefits of the technique

User Journey Map allows you to create a shared vision. As a team you are able to look at the entire experience from the user’s point of view. And because it’s been completed as a team, you can look at the journey from different perspectives.

  • Helps you build an emotional connection with your customers
  • Identifies gaps and allows you to fill them with great touch points
  • Predicts customer behaviours and brand success.

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This video is from the free online course:

Innovation in EdTech: Hacking the Challenges of Digital Education

EIT Climate-KIC