Creating a Successful Journey Map

How to Create a Successful Journey Map

Let’s start with the basics –  what is a journey map? A journey map is a framework typically formatted in a visual diagram, illustrating a user’s experiences with a product or service through their perspective. Companies often use this tool to determine user or customer wants, needs, emotions and actions. Through this insight, opportunities for improvement present themselves, allowing for better customer/user experience in the future.

Whether you are revamping a company website or building the next big social application – journey maps are essential in gaining the information needed when making strategic creative, marketing, and development decisions.

Now let’s get started on how to create a successful journey map.

1. Do Your Research

This can sometimes feel like a daunting task. However, you may have more data than you think. Start with your website and social analytics. Collecting and analyzing these reports can provide insight on areas of importance as well as unimportance, where your audience may be getting stuck, and their disposition towards different products, services, or the company as a whole. There is a plethora of free tools out there that allow you to obtain this information like Bitly and Google Analytics.

2. Conduct User Interviews

Through your research and digging you are now much more educated on your users – congratulations. But don’t get too excited, we need more! The best way to obtain accurate user research is to go straight to the source – the user. First step, recruit your participants. It is important that your participants have profiles that closely identify with your target market. You can find your users by outsourcing to a company that specializes in participant recruitment or the DIY method – social media, email or standing outside of Starbucks (not kidding). Once you have successfully recruited your wonderful participants, now it is all about the prep work. Create a discussion guide or list of questions for the interview. It is important that these questions are not persuasive in content or delivery, allowing users to give true and honest answers. Next, select a recording method – notes, video etc. Lastly, schedule the interviews. Oh, and you might want to do a trial run, it helps with getting out the kinks.

3. Create User Profile

Based off of user interviews and research, create a bio depicting your user. This can consist of age, sex, current situation and disposition towards the company or product, previous experiences etc.

4. Identify Actions, Touch-Points and Emotions

This can start with a brainstorm session, in a word document, or on paper. Regardless of the approach, it is time to put all that leg work to use. Go through the journey from the user’s perspective – identifying their needs, feelings, questions, and actions. Always keep the user perspective at the forefront. It is important to stay true to your research and the profile, and to not be swayed by personal or company objectives and opinions.

5. Create the Visual

Now that you have identified the profile and user journey, it is time to put this information into a format that is easy to understand. This is most commonly done with a visual diagram, often organized through color, icons and other visual elements. Ensuring that your visual is easy to comprehend is crucial. You don’t want all of your research and efforts to fall flat as a result of poor presentation.

Once you’ve completed these 5 steps you will have successfully created a journey map that will help identify gaps and areas of frustration for your users. This information is invaluable and allows you to make strategic changes for improved user experience moving forward.

journey map format example


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