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User Journey Map

Learn how to map a user journey.

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 touchpoints between you and your customer.

Understand your customers’ journeys from beginning to end

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

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?

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 help 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 touchpoints
  • Predicts customer behaviours and brand success.
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