User Journey Mapping

User journeys or customer journey mapping often gets confused with user flows. Whereas user flows are concerned with single tasks, user journeys encompass the entire experience a user has with your product or service.

Whilst user journeys will never be a 100% true representation of every users journey, they should be a close representation.  Every user is different, but like personas, user journeys can offer a ‘chunked’, abstracted version that applies to a proportion of users.

They will probably include multiple user flows, so ideally, starting with flows makes creating a user journey map easier. By utilising these smaller tasks, user journey mapping can be used to identify gaps and pain-points in your product or service.

Companies who use User-Centred Design (UCD) methodologies, use customer journey maps because they put the user front and centre. In the beginning of a project, it’s easy to think business first, and what you want a project to achieve rather than how it will benefit users.

Various pieces of your user research can help in building your user journey:  Persona’s to create scenario’s, empathy mapping to find users emotions , experiences and needs & user flows for smaller tasks.

If you have an existing product or service, ideally you have user flows and persona’s already created. These are a great place to start.

If you have a brand new product or service, start with your persona’s; what are their needs and motivations? What do they want to achieve whilst using your product or service? This creates a scenario for you to build on.

Here’s an example:
Johanna has some regular extra cash coming in and wants to open a new bank account. She already has existing accounts with other banks, but wants to try you out.

Customer Goals:

  1. Open a new bank account
  2. compare accounts
  3. sign up
  4. transfer money into the account

Information
What does Johanna want to know at each stage above?

Touchpoints
What are the possible user interactions with the organisation at each point? (website, app, customer service etc)

Feelings
What is the Johanna feeling at each stage in the process? Frustration, anxiety, happiness

Current weaknesses
How does the organisation currently let Johanna down at each stage?

How is Johanna influenced?
Who or what is shaping the Johanna’s thoughts and decision-making process at each stage? (is someone with Johanna, has she seen other banks offerings?)

Once you have these, you can create a basic customer journey map similar to below:

Customer journey map example

Download the basic user journey template (pdf)

Now you’re in a position to create your journey map; these should be as simple as possible. Here are some examples from simple to understand to overly complex; which ones do you prefer?

User journey map graph
User journey map User journey map with emojis

User journey map with cartoons Overly complex user journey map Overly complex user journey map