User Journey - Why and How to Map 🗺 a User Journey.

If you are a UX designer, you will definitely have asked yourself the question, “how do users actually utilize with the products I design?”

Answering this question requires an understanding of how users experience a particular product and this is crucial if your product design is to ultimately be successful.

What is User Journey Mapping?

Understanding how users experience a product is what user journey mapping is about. User journey in itself refers to the steps and actions (it can be anywhere from 4 steps to 12 steps) by which users interact with a product. Mapping this series of steps will help the UX designer achieve the following:

  • Outline how customers currently use and experience their product
  • Project how customers can utilize their product

These two things that mapping a user’s journey provides insight to are why it is absolutely crucial that the UX designer uses it while designing the user experience for a product.

There are a variety of options in which a user journey map can be represented. However, the most popular way in which this is done is by rendering a timeline of every touch point between the costumer who uses the product and the product itself. In this timeline will be information about every single channel by which the user will interact with the product being designed.

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How is User Journey Mapping done?

Before embarking on the creation of a user journey map, it is absolutely crucial that you, the UX designer, review and understand the aims and objectives of your business/service. Having such an understanding will help you correlate the user’s goals with that of your business. The following are the steps involved in mapping out a user’s journey.

Define the scope: do you want the map to be comprehensive or would you be okay with a high-level map that isn’t so detailed? Define what you want before you embark on the user journey mapping.

Develop a user persona: since it is called a “user journey map,” it is important that you define who your user is and develop their persona. Use information that describes your target audience which you must have gotten from conducting your user research.

Outline an event and user expectations: outline events in which users will utilize your product or service, whether manufactured or real. Apart from this, define what users will expect when they utilize your product.

Make a list of touchpoints: map out every touchpoint, which refers to channels through which users interact with a product, as well. For instance, touchpoints for pizza can be ordering from their website, an app, or walking directly into the store.

Consider user intention: you should also consider why your user will want to use your product. Ask the question, which problem are they trying to solve by using your product? You should attempt to understand their motivation, the channels through which they will interact with your product, the actions they will take, and their pain points.

Sketch the user journey: after having gone through the above steps, the next thing to do is to sketch out the user’s journey in a sequence of interactions demonstrating how the user interacts with your product.

Factor in the user’s emotional state: you should also take into consideration the emotional state of the user when they interact with your product so as to be able to develop a product that will connect with them on that level and, thus, help ensure the success of that product.

Validate and refine the map: the final step is the validation of the user journey map. You should ensure that it is based on truths and that it has no falsehood whatsoever. Collect information about and from users on a regular basis and use that to improve your product when required.

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