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Creating an effective User Journey Map

While solving problems & creating a product, we have to interact with two entities namely: Users and Buyers. At times, both can be the same person. But in many cases, we have seen they are different, a live example can be an iPhone in this context. How buyers are different in iPhone context is illustrated below:


  • If someone has purchased it for his/her own usage, in that case Buyer and User is the same.

  • In the second case, if an iPhone is purchased for gift purpose to someone near and dear, definitely the User is person who is going to get the gift and buyer is none but he/she who has purchased it.

  • Let us reiterate a few basic concept in product context. At the end of the day, user is only worried about functionality of the product (i.e. what he/she can do with the product). On the other hand buyer is worried about the value part (Safety, Price and Reliability) of the product. Of course when BUYER == USER, he/she is worried about both the functionality & the value part.


    What a Journey Map is: Visual Interpretation of Individual Users relationship with a Product over a period of time and across channels.


    WHow does it help in building a Product: It can explore us answers “what if” scenario for users during research & conceptual design phase of the product.


    So, what should typically it include: Nothing but User Personas & a defined Timeline, the emotions found by users, touch points, the channels of interaction & where the interactions happen.


    How to derive at the common steps we should include in order to create an effective journey map for users:


  • Review the goals of the product.

  • Gather research data: This could be done using either using of any of these or at times all of these:

  • o  User Interviews

    o  Contextual Enquiries

    o  User Survey

    o  Competitive Intelligence

    o  Product Logs

    o  Web or Mobile Analytic

    o  Social Media


  • Generate the list user touch-points and channels: Find out where these touch-points occur (e.g. for the scenario in connection with a mobile bill Payment can be either: Pay Online, Pay in Person or Pay via embedded link in a mail or an SMS or anything similar).

  • Develop an Empathy Map: Extract various facets of a persona or his/her experiences in a given scenario (e.g. how the user perceives/observes). The goal of empathy map is to get details about the feeling of a user while experiencing a particular scenario.

  • Brainstorm with lenses: Generate ideas with short period of time with word presenting key concepts that can help us to look at the problem in a different way.

  • Develop Complete Affinity diagram: Organize Ideas, apply in teams concepts that helps us to raise solutions for this audience.

  • Sketching the user journey: Put together all the ideas we generated to improve future user journey. There is no one way of sketching a user journey.

  • Refine these all, digitize & iterate.

  • Take it to users.