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The Nielsen-Norman Group defines the user journey map to be “a visualization of the process that a person goes through in order to accomplish a goal”.
Oftentimes, designers grapple with the question, how does a user actually use this product? This is a vital question that needs to be answered by every designer. To do so, designers need to dig deep into the entire journey undertaken by the user in accomplishing the task, while using the product. The user journey map is an overview of the key touchpoints and interactions and describes the user’s motivation, feelings, emotions, and goals stage-by-stage.
At a rudimentary level, a user journey map is a compilation of the user’s actions into a timeline. The next step sees the timeline being infused with the user’s thoughts, feelings, and emotions which develops a cohesive narrative. This narrative is then enhanced into a realistic visual journey.
Key Components for Journey Mapping
User personas are created to ensure that the final design fulfills the needs of actual users, solves their problems, and becomes a delight for them to use. By ensuring that your personas are close to the actual user, the resulting product functions seamlessly, and ultimately meets business goals.
It is recommended to assign one journey map to a single workflow – this results in a clear story. Provide one point of view per map in order to build a strong, clear narrative.
Scenarios are stories that capture the goals, motivations, and tasks of a persona in a given context. Depending on whether the product is existing or under development, scenarios can be real or presumed.
As is (real) – Demonstrating the way users currently interact with the product or service.
To be (presumed) – Demonstrating an enhanced scenario of the users’ interaction with the product or service.
Journey mapping as a technique perfectly suits cases involving a sequence of events or paths of transition traversed to arrive at the intended goal.
3. Stages of the Journey
Journey phases refer to the sequence of events that the user goes through while using the product. They help in highlighting the user’s actions and pain points along with the thoughts and emotions he undergoes while performing those tasks within the journey.
4. Actions, Attitudes, and Emotions
The user’s thoughts and feelings are represented through his behavior in the journey. These are behaviors, thoughts, and feelings the user has throughout the journey and that are mapped within each of the journey phases.
Actions are the actual steps taken by the user presented in the form of a narrative.
Attitudes are the user’s thoughts, behavior, and motivations at different stages in the journey.
Emotions are the ups and downs faced by the user in the course of the journey, highlighting parts where he may be happy or frustrated.
Finally, insights reveal how the information gained from the mapping exercise can be capitalized. These insights are nothing but opportunity areas where the design team needs to take action and implement changes.
USER JOURNEY MAPPING
Points to Remember
– In the enterprise context, there’s an added stage at the beginning, wherein the design team has to educate stakeholders about the significance of user-centric technology and its eventual business value.
– As you move on to creating a seamless and intuitive user journey map, it’s always, always important to keep the focus on the user persona. As experienced as you may be as a designer, never think of yourself as the user – what works for you may not necessarily work for the actual user.
– Remember, there isn’t a foolproof method of creating a user journey map, it should be molded according to the needs and goals of the project. Larger, more complex projects require multiple personas with as many journey maps which contribute to design iterations.
– Failing to verify the journey map with the user can mislead your design direction – it’s something akin to parents saying that they know what their teenager is going through because they were teenagers at a point themselves.
To conclude, you’re sure to encounter a few ‘Eureka’ moments while creating personas and user journey maps, which is a good sign. It means that you’ve refrained from making assumptions and empathized your way into learning the user’s actual journey