How to use the user journey map?

2019.12.18 / Viewpoint

How to use the user journey map?


The user journey map is often used in the workshop. The seemingly simple form is actually a very complicated tool. Whether you can draw a user journey map with guiding significance depends largely on the guidance of the facilitator. Experienced mentors will assist the team to start with understanding the problem and empathize with the users, and then gain insight through observation and interviews.


People often ask how to use the user journey map. This time I will sort out the tools and share their use with you.

1 Search information


In the early stage of this workshop, you must define the target users and the scope of activities you want to evaluate, and then collect maximum information on this role. How to collect this information? We need quantitative and qualitative information to gain an in-depth understanding of users. The more information we can get, the more we can correctly identify the value and experience of users.


Quantitative consumer research such as questionnaires, tests, and web analysis, can show conversion rates and consumer pain points. Although quantitative research is important, if it is not supplemented by qualitative research, it is almost useless in today's complex business environment. Qualitative research allows us to gain a deeper understanding of users ’emotions, goals, attitudes, or motivations, including interviews, focus groups, and field research. We suggest that users can be invited to participate in the journey map workshop together, so that they can directly access the users' thoughts and feelings about each step of the journey.

2 Forming a team


Before the workshop officially begins, the timetable and process should be clearly explained to ensure everyone has a clear understanding. Choose a creative and open space for the workshop and form a cross-functional team covering different professions.


During the workshop, time management is very important. Unmonitored discussions can neither help the team increase productivity nor increase creativity, and often lead to confusion. So when everyone speaks at the same time, or someone starts to dominate the conversation, the mentor can make rules that limit the time each person can speak and prevent someone from a dominant position.


When everyone gathers, the mentor needs to clearly state the pain points and goals to be resolved in the workshop, and agree with on the timetable set. Since the user journey map is a brainstorming and highly brain-consuming activity, in order to avoid getting stuck or a brain-dead situation, some interesting physical activity exercises can be arranged to allow participants to change the mood and quickly rejuvenate.

3 Brainstorming


In fact, most of the time people are brainstorming in the workshop. Mentors need to choose brainstorming skills that they think will best help the team generate new ideas for future user experiences.


Discussion begins with the introduction of user profile, follow by research analysis.


The team should generate as many touch points as possible and consider the relevant channels between them. Touchpoint refers to the point of contact between the user and the product or service.


Each touch point is an opportunity to strengthen relationships with users and move towards the best user experience. Generally, they can be presented as a timeline, tree diagram, mesh diagram, or wheel diagram.


The guidance of the mentor in the process is to help the team collect information to the greatest extent. They determine the user's experience and perception of the service. The path between touchpoints and experience is crucial because they are where we see users leaving or discover opportunities.


During the brainstorming process, restore as many actual and potential contact points as possible, and encourage the team to put themselves in the role when analyzing.

4 Create a graph


After allowing enough time for brainstorming, the team can enter the stage of drawing and visual presentation, and can merge the brainstorming results into a canvas. Each touch point is accompanied by specific information, such as:

  • Contact channel;
  • Statistics;
  • Current consumer goal;
  • Actual and potential barriers;
  • Service personnel responsible at the touchpoint;
  • Customer sentiment at the touchpoint;
  • If there is an obstacle to the touchpoint, how to help the consumer overcome the problem.


Make sure that even when using a whiteboard or post-it to discuss the user journey, someone is responsible for systematically organizing all information on the final canvas and share the results with all involved.

5 Create action plan and it’s implementation


After the journey map is completed, each touch point is analyzed to see if it can bring value to the consumer. The next action plan should be on how to shorten the gap between the consumer's expected experience and the actual experience. An efficient plan includes time schedule, responsible person, budget, key performance indicators and assessment standards.

6 Dynamically adjust the user journey map


The completion of a workshop does not mean that it is over. Many companies have wrong expectations of the workshop, thinking that a workshop can solve all problems of the companies at once. In fact, the results of each workshop should be the same as the planning proposal, and it needs to be dynamically adjusted according to market changes. Because new tools, behavior patterns and communication channels appear on the market almost every month, the user journey map also needs to be adjusted accordingly. So a fixed schedule to review should be considered to be establish and user journey map adusted accordingly. For example, it can be done quarterly. During the revision process, indicate possible changes and what key performance indicators were achieved. If there are gaps or red key performance indicators, you can start another brainstorming session.


Remember, to be closer to users and market changes, the plan can be adjusted repeatedly. At the same time, ispecific issues can open up brainstorming session for each modified touch point and iterate the user journey map from time to time.

Several tools, despite their different uses and circumstances, look very similar to the user journey map:

User experience map

Sales / Marketing journey map

Service blueprint

Process map


Although these tools cover their own related topics, the boundaries between them have become blurry. What we should discuss is not those proprietary terms, but the purpose and goals of each tool in order to maximize the gains from these tools.


Basically, sales journeys, service blueprints and flowcharts describe a company strategy from the inside out or "backend". In other words, "effective service", "what do we do" and "how do we create a set of experiences for consumers".


On the other hand, the perfect consumer journey or user experience map is an external part. Here we describe "how the service is experienced" or "what happened to the individual", so it helps to adapt the product to the needs of users.


However, when the internal and external parts are combined and used in combination with UX and CX, it will have a positive impact, so it may be more useful to view the intersection of all relationship diagrams.



Finally, a quick summary of the three simple rules for using user journey maps:


  • An in-depth user research;
  • Connect or integrate related user profile, empathy maps, service blueprints, flow charts to create a more simplified map;
  • It is very important to integrate and edit workshop documents. We need to share the results with all involved

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How to use the user journey map?

The user journey map is often used in the workshop. The seemingly simple form is actually a very complicated tool.

Read more …