What is it & Why Do It?
Mapping out a customer journey is a really effective way of understanding a users flow through your product or service. It allows you to think holistically about the context and key touch-points of your product. It outlines each stage your customer moves through and their corresponding actions, context, emotional states and your intended user experience. Often this process reveals large assumptions about your experience forcing you to think from a high-level. Revealing these assumptions early on will allow you to rapidly test these ideas with your customers to gain critical feedback.
Allowing the whole team to understand the intended end-to-end experience is really useful at an early stage. Customer Journey Maps can be complex and may need to be refined multiple times as you understand more about your customer behaviours. Overall it can be a time consuming exercise but it’s a very effective way of designing from a user-centered perspective.
Who’s Involved & What’s The Setup?
A Customer Journey Map can be created together as a small team of multi-disciplines, a design-orientated team or on your own. However, a fair amount of time for thinking, discussion, reworking and creation will need to be set aside. After it’s creation make sure it's widely available to your team members to study and discuss.
- The first stage is to get down all the touchpoints or 'actions' of your users journey. Break down each stage into separate sections along the top of the template. Moving through this methodically often requires reshuffling stages as you break these down further. The context in which these steps are being made should also be noted.
- Underneath each of these stages you should describe the emotional states that are being triggered by the context the customer finds themselves, visualising the peaks and troughs of their journey. Understanding the emotional journey of the customer is great for getting to the heart of the problem that lead to human-centred solutions.
- Lastly you should think how you can meet your customers needs considering the stages, context and emotions in your customer journey. Lay out the high level concepts of your experience joining these together in a flow through each stage. Add any notes that you may have regarding possible research, technical constraints, and roadmap ideas. You can refer back to these later.
- Once you feel you have laid a good foundation, go over the journey to make sure everything makes sense when you step back and view from a high-level. Fill in any blanks and tidying up ideas.
Repeat this process if you have multiple customers and journeys. Revisit areas that intersect to make sure this is consistent, showing how these cross over.
If you have done this exercise on your own invite some feedback from your team. Walk them through the stages and tell the customers story. Often trying to explain things out loud reveals gaps in your thinking. It also lets other perspectives to come into play which can be helpful.
Once you feel happy with your customer map share it around! Let people understand the problems you are trying to solve and the journey your customers are moving through.
As you start testing your assumptions it will become clear some areas of your map are totally wrong. This is fine! Rework the map once you have deeper knowledge of the customer. Keep refining and keep learning!
Customer Journey Mapping is a time consuming but very useful process in understanding the stages your customers move through, the context and emotions they feel at these points and the high level user experience.
It let’s your entire team understand the problems you are solving and develop a deeper empathy for your users.
You can have multiple journeys and multiple customers. Make sure there’s consistency!
Use your maps as a basis to test your assumptions and revisit and refine these regularly.
Use this as a high level guide as you move into more detailed user experience and user interface design. Having a high-level view of the end-to-end experience reminds you where they've come from and where they are going from a human perspective.