In our last article we introduced the concept of User Journey Experience Maps and explained why you might need to use them. In this article we take a look at a simple example to help illustrate how they are constructed.

User Journey Experience Mapping is a process for understanding the steps a user takes to complete a task or goal. It can be used to improve the user experience by identifying areas where the experience can be made more efficient or more enjoyable or to simply gain a better understanding of how users interact with your product.

Creating a map

There are many different ways to create a user journey map, but the basic process usually involves these steps:

  1. The user: who is using your product or service? What are their needs and motivations?
  2. The scenario: what specific task are they trying to accomplish?
  3. User actions: where does the user interact with your product or service? This could be online, in-person, over the phone, etc.
  4. User emotions: what emotions does the user experience at each touchpoint?
  5. Opportunities: what opportunities for improvement are there?

These elements are all brought together to create a visual representation which can drive reflection and analysis, help you to identify patterns and trends, and prompt discussion about areas for improvement.

In this map we show a relatively simple example as way to understand the basic elements. This is a User Experience Journey Map for or a membership organisation. It considers the case of someone who is not yet a member but has received a word-of-mouth recommendation.

Step 1: The user

The map has the user represented in the top right corner. Clearly an organisation will have many different types of users who will have their own needs and goals. A user persona will describe one typical user – in this case a prospective member – and keeps their needs as a clear focus for the map.

Step 2: The scenario

The user’s specification situation or scenario is also described in the top section. Each map can only cover so much ground, and this sets the scene for what is described in the main part of the map. This scenario explores the situation in which a prospective member visits the website after hearing a positive recommendation from a colleague.

The stages that the user passes through are clearly laid out. Think of these as signposts or milestones in the journey.

Step 3: User actions

User actions are added next, and it is important to note that these are not restricted to a single channel or piece of technology.

  • The first action shows that the membership organisation is well-regarded and being recommended through word-of-mouth.
  • Next a search engine is used to find the organisation’s website, and the SEO ranking is sufficiently good that the user finds the website.
  • A case study is readily available and helps to convince the user that they should consider joining the organisation.
  • However they are cautious and would like to explore a free trial offer first.
  • They go to the pricing page and can’t see a free trial option, and it is not clearly available within the site.
  • So they try another search engine lookup with the keywords “example association free trial” but the top results this time show a competitor’s offer as an advert.
  • At this point the user clicks the search engine advert and has become a lost opportunity for the membership organisation.

Step 4: User emotions

This journey started so well, with the organisation’s strong reputation helping to generate great leads through word-of-mouth. But it ends with frustration for the user and a lost opportunity for the organisation. These emotions are added to the map with a simple scale which shows where they are positive and where they are negative. It’s a simple but powerful visual sign that points to where attention is required.

Step 5: Opportunities

Finally we have the Opportunities section. There are many ways to populate this – sometimes it is fairly obvious what can be improved – as in this example! But a great option is to leave this section blank, and to use the map as part of a group exercise. This can work especially well when colleagues from different teams are brought together as it provides a great opportunity for brainstorming and finding quick wins.

Conclusion

User Experience Journey Mapping is a powerful tool for improving the user experience, but it can also be used for other purposes such as process improvement or product development. In the next article we’ll look at some more detailed examples of user experience journey maps to show the wide range of issues that they can address and how flexible they can be.