How to Make a User Journey Map in 7 steps and 4 Critical Benefits

How to Make a User Journey Map in 7 steps and 4 Critical Benefits logo

How to Make a User Journey Map is easier than you think and helps you improve and develop your business.

What is a Journey Map

A journey map shows the path taken when someone goes through the steps of a process or procedure. It can be as simple or complex with as few or as many steps as the designer desires to make it. A user journey map shows a user’s progression through buying and/or using a product, site/app, or service. If you don’t want to make graphs from scratch, Uxpressia allows you to make a journey map for free.

Benefits of a Journey Map

Making a user journey map has the following benefits:

  • Boost understanding of customers
  • Pain points and Opportunities for new products or services
  • Expand services
  • Adjust products or services to better suit customers’ needs
Speed dial with high speed

How to Make a User Journey Map

How to make a user journey map has a seven steps:

1. Pick a Process with a Start and End Point

This process can be long, containing many mini-procedures, or short, containing only a couple. I recommend using a process that is naturally broken into between 3-15 steps. Any less than 3 and little valuable data will be gathered from the journey map, and more than 15 gets over complicated and confusing. If you find yourself with a process that is above 15 steps, either eliminate nonessential steps or make more than one journey map.

2a. Optional but Recommended: Watch a User go through the Process

If possible, it’s best to base assumptions in ux research on proven data or statistics. To know for sure what user’s do or think during a process, observe actual (or at least potential) users go through the process that you want data on and take notes on what the users do, think, and feel. 

Have them think out loud as much as possible, and don’t give them directions unless they get very frustrated. I recommend watching at least 3 users go through the process to give you a good idea of the common frustrations and pain points, making a journey map for each user.

2b. Make a Persona 

To maximize research data, make a persona for the ideal customer that you can easily and naturally picture going through this process. They should be fleshed out enough that you know what methods of transportation (if the process requires going to a location), internet browser (if the process requires the internet), and the general budget that they prefer/have.

3. Add User Data

At the very top of the journey map, place basic info about the user/persona like age, profession, gender, etc. Add the name of the process or scenario with a brief outline of it. Lastly, add the goals of the persona that they are trying to achieve by going through this process. Not ‘trying to buy exercise equipment’, but rather ‘I need reliable equipment to exercise with to lose weight’. This should be about what the user truly wants the outcome of this process to be, not what you think it is or should be.

4. Identify the Important Steps of the Process

Clearly mark out the main steps that the user/persona went/go through in the process. Make sure you get the main steps that are critical to completing the process. They may be small and short, but they may be areas of great frustration to the user that you could remove or prevent. Place these steps on the journey map at the top of what will be the timeline.

5. Identify the Problems in Each Step

Once the steps are outlined on the map, identify the pain points, worries, and frustrations that users have with each step, and I mean all of the main ones, including the ones that are out of your control and/or you can’t do anything about. This includes: ‘I hope the bus is on time to make my appointment’ (for a doctor’s app) and ‘I hope my internet doesn’t go down during this’ (for a website during a critical process like a download or checkout). 

Put these pain points under the timeline, leaving room between this section and the timeline for a small graph for the next part.

6. Decide the Ease and Mood for the Steps

Considering the pain points of each step, decide what the ease and user’s mood for each step is on a scale of 1-5. 1 being the hardest for ease and most frustrated for mood, and 5 being the easiest for ease and most happy for mood. Make a scatter plot line-graph with a scale of 1-5 below the timeline and place the ease and mood data for each step, making two clearly labeled lines across the graph. Add symbols for particularly good and bad steps like happy faces and frowny faces or thumbs up and thumbs down.

7. Identify Opportunities of Existing Process/Product

Using the pain points found in the journey map, find problems with the process that may lead to adjustments in the product/service, how it is acquired, how it is used, how many or much of it is there, or how it is thrown away or removed (don’t we all hate that long line or special instructions to return things). Problems that the user is having may lead to the development of new products/services or applications of existing products/services. List these possibilities at the bottom of the journey map either by the pain points they correspond to or as a bulleted list of ‘recommendations’.

See below for a completed user journey map for using PowerPoint:

Summary:

A journey map shows the path taken when someone goes through the steps of a process or procedure. It can be as simple or complex with as few or as many steps as the designer desires to make it. A user journey map shows a user’s progression through buying and/or using a product, site/app, or service. Making a user journey map will allow you to better understand your customers and their needs and adjust and expand your products and services.

How to make a user journey map has a seven steps: picking a process or procedure with a start and end point, watch a user or make a persona to go through the process, adding user data, identifying the steps of the process, finding the problems in the steps, identifying the ease and users’ mood of the steps, and finding opportunities and need adjustments based on the pain points of the process’s steps.

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