A brief guide to mapping the user experience

User Experience Maps (or User Journey Maps) are a simple but effective tool for understanding how users experience your product.

What is User Experience Mapping?

User experience mapping (or journey mapping) shows a user’s journey through your product via all the different available touchpoints. All of their interactions can be tracked by collecting user research and insights.

Here’s a (very basic) example of a user experience map:

Journey map for a car rental service

Journey map for a car rental service

This is only one example of user experience mapping; there are tons of alternative ways – just look at this Google image search for “user experience map”.

Why map the experience?

Mapping what users are feeling, thinking and doing at particular touchpoints lets us identify product opportunities and limitations. The map is a visual tool to help the company to make important decisions such as:

  • Where should resources be focused?
  • What do we know about our users?
  • What do we not know about our users?
  • What opportunities are available?

How do you map the experience?

First, start by gaining insights into how users interact with your product, including what the user is doing, thinking and feeling at particular moments. This can be done through Quantitative and Qualitative research, e.g., analytics, user satisfaction scores, customer surveys, market research, user interviews, user testing and so on…

The main thing to do here is to record the research so this information can be used to map out the journey later.

Next, turn those insights into a visual representation of the user’s journey through your product. Map it out as certain points (or places) where the user performed an action involving certain things and how they felt about this.

Try to map around the different stages of a user journey and then map out the user’s actions, what they interacted with and how they felt.

And afterwards…?

Afterwards, take a step back and give yourself a good pat on the back.

No, wait, seriously: now the map can be used for the following:

  • As a base for identifying and prioritizing opportunities
  • As a source for product ideation and to generate future user experience stories
  • To define the principles for product wide user experience
  • To define the perfect end-to-end user experience for your product.

Even if you don’t use it for any of these, at least use it as a base for organisational planning.

Pssst! Want to see an example?
Of course you do, but that’s for another post… This is just to whet your appetite. I’ll do a follow-up post with an example.

This map is probably one of the best examples of how information can be used in journey mapping by Charles Joseph Minard. It’s a depiction of Napoleon’s disastrous invasion of Russia which displays the size of his army at geographic locations during their march to Moscow and their retreat, along with temperature data.

This map is probably one of the best examples of how information can be used in journey mapping by Charles Joseph Minard. It’s a depiction of Napoleon’s disastrous invasion of Russia which displays the size of his army at geographic locations during their march to Moscow and their retreat, along with temperature data.

This article was first published on Medium

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