A Guide To User Journey Mapping

Nigel Tsopo
08 December 2022
7 min read

As we at Startup House continue to deliver bespoke digital product services across a broad spectrum of founders, we also continue to recognize how indispensable user journey mapping remains for improving our clients' product UX.

In this blog, we'll illustrate how we use journey mapping to help founders understand what different stages a user will go through when interacting with digital products.

But first, let's distinguish the difference between this user journey mapping and what you may have seen referred to as customer journey mapping.

They are terms often used interchangeably, yet ones which subtely differ.

User journey mapping defines the steps a user takes to complete a task on a website or application.

Customer journey mapping, on the other hand, encompasses the entire customer/brand experience, from the initial awareness stage to post-purchase.

Here, we'll focus on the former.

What Is A User Journey Map? 

A user journey map is a tool used by UX designers and development teams for understanding the different stages a user goes through when interacting with a product or service.

Key Components of a Journey Map

User/customer journey maps are indispensable tools for any UX designer or founder looking to create a digital product.

Here are four key components of a journey map:

  1. User

  2. Goal

  3. Steps

  4. Touchpoints

The User

In order to create a user journey map, you must have a clear understanding of who your target users are. This means creating user personas and factoring in the interests they share.

The Goal

What is the ultimate goal that your users are trying to achieve by using your website or app? This may be booking a hotel room, buying a product, or finding information on a particular topic.

The Steps

Once you know who your users are and what their goals are, you can start mapping out the steps they take to reach these goals.

These steps include everything from the initial trigger that leads them to your website/app, to the various interactions they have along the way, or to the final conversion or desired action.

The Touchpoints

A touchpoint is any user interaction with your brand, whether this is the use of your website or app, the reading of your blog, his/her interaction with customer service, or the viewing of an advertisement.

It’s important you identify all potential touchpoints a user might have with your brand to ensure each one is delivering a positive experience.

At Startup House, we understand that every user journey is different. Customer pain points can differ from product to product, which is why we go above and beyond a typical journey map template that you might find in other software development firms.

We're passionate about customer-focused, journey map design-thinking that is results-oriented. Get in touch to learn how we can make a user journey map specifically for you.

Why Use a Journey Map?

User journey maps are great tools for understanding how users interact with your product or service.

Here are 4 important use cases for user journey maps:

  1. Identifying areas for improvement in the user experience

  2. Generating new ideas for features or redesigns

  3. Planning marketing or sales campaigns

  4. Understanding how users interact with your product or service

Improving UX Through Journey Mapping

Designers often face the challenge of redesigning an existing product or service.

In many cases, they may not have been involved in the original design of the product, nor be familiar with its current users and their corresponding needs.

In such cases, UX journey mapping can be a helpful tool for understanding the current user experience of a digital product before plotting a path for upgrades and growth.

Journey maps can also help designers address features linked to a customer's emotional state during different interactions with the product or service.

By gathering user feedback to determine how users feel at a specific point while interacting with a product, designers can make precise changes to improve it.

For example:

If a customer feels frustrated at a particular stage of his or her journey, the designer can focus on improving that particular touchpoint.

If a customer is feeling pleased with a stage in this journey, the designer may want to consider adding a new feature to maintain that emotional state.

Journey maps are typically effective when paired with research methods such as interviews, surveys, and observation.

Why User Journey Maps Are Important For Improving Your Website 

A user journey map lets you step into a user's shoes to see how he or she would interact with your product and provides an advantageous perspective on what improvements to your product’s UI or UX may require. 

Journey-Map Variations 

There are many different types of journey maps one may create, each depending on the business or organization's requirements. 

For example:

Service Blueprint 

A format focusing on what behind-the-scenes actions must take place for a customer to have a positive experience with your product or website. 

Persona Journey Map

This UX Journey Map tells the story of how a specific type of customer interacts with your brand.

No matter which journey map you create, your goal should always be to improve customer experience through an understanding of the various touchpoints and interactions that take place during the user journey.

How to Create a Customer Journey Map 

Creating a user journey map can be done with pencil and paper, or using specialized software. The process is relatively simple, and only requires answering a few important questions:

Important Questions to ask during the journey mapping process.

Define the scope of your map 

What are you trying to achieve? What part of the user experience do you want to map out?

Identify the key touchpoints in the User journey. 

What are the specific moments when users interact with your product or service?

For each touchpoint, identify the emotions and needs of the user. 

What are they thinking and feeling at this moment?

Map out the journey, step by step. 

What happens between each touchpoint?

Identify opportunities for improvement. 

Where can the user experience be made better?

UX Journey Map Creation Process In 4 Simple Steps

4 main steps in creating a journey map UX: 

  1. Research

  2. Planning

  3. Creation

  4. Sharing

Research

In order to create an accurate and comprehensive user journey map, it is important to understand the user first. This can be done through different types of research such as surveys, interviews, focus groups, and usability tests.

This step will help to identify the user's needs, wants, pain points, and goals.

Planning 

Once the research is completed, it is time to start planning the user journey map. This includes deciding on the format, structure, and content that will be included in the map. It is also important to determine how the map will be used and who will be using it.

Creation

The next step is to actually create the User Journey Map. This can be done using various tools and methods such as storyboarding, wireframing, or even just a simple spreadsheet.

Whichever you choose, it is crucial that the map is easy to understand and use.

Sharing

To ensure all parties are on the same page, the final step is to share the user journey map with others, whether through printed form, online or via stakeholder presentation.

Customer Journey Mapping And Web Development

Journey mapping can be a valuable tool for web development.

By understanding how a customer journeys through your site, you can discover where your site may need further development or improvement. 

User journey map example - Written Steps

Of course, you can go above and beyond by creating a visual representation of these steps using prototyping, wireframing, and storyboarding.

  1. A user visits the website and is presented with the homepage.

  2. He or she clicks on the link to the login page.

  3. The user enters his or her username and password into the login form.

  4. The user is redirected to the dashboard page, where a list of recent activities is found.

  5. The user clicks on the link to the profile page.

  6. The user updates his or her profile information and saves the changes.

  7. The user clicks on the link to the logout page.

  8. The user is redirected to the homepage.

Software Commonly Used to Create Customer Journey Maps

Several software programs can be used to create user journey maps, including:

  • Adobe XD

  • Sketch

  • InVision Studio

  • Figma

  • Balsamiq Mockups

  • OmniGraffle

Conclusion

Journey mapping can help businesses better understand how their customers interact with their product or service, providing valuable insights into potential areas of improvement.

Learning about your customer's experience while using your digital products can give founders and designers the necessary information to improve products effectively.

If you'd like to create a customer journey map to outline customer interactions with your product for user research purposes, get in touch, and we'll give you key insights into what customer journey maps can do for your business.

This means creating a tailor-made user journey map to reveal customer touchpoints, pain points, and other useful data that will improve your overall product.

Summary

  • A user journey map is a tool that can be used to help visualize the path that a customer takes as they interact with a product or service.

  • By understanding the customer's journey, businesses can identify pain points and areas for improvement.

  • When creating a user journey map, it is important to consider the customer's goals and emotions, and experiences.

  • Doing so can help create a more holistic picture of the customer's journey and identify opportunities to improve the overall experience.

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