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Understanding Business and Customer Needs Through Journey Mapping

August 7, 2019


At Art & Science, we partner with clients to deliver products and services are in line with users’ expectations. In order to accomplish this, there are many methods, tools and activities user experience designers can leverage to understand the overall context that businesses and their customers operate within. 

A “journey map” is one such common tool. This is usually facilitated during the discovery phase of a project, but they come in all shapes, sizes, and formats. Journey maps are best used when designing a solution that involves a sequence of events or stages. 

What is a user or customer journey map? 

The Nielsen Norman Group defines a journey map as “a visualization of the process that a person goes through in order to accomplish a goal”. 

Journey mapping starts with defining key stages a user goes through when they are interacting with a product or service. Facilitators work with users and/or stakeholders to identify actions, thoughts, and emotions the user experiences, and places them into a timeline. This collaborative exercise ultimately leads to a polished and visual deliverable that tells a story, with takeaways such as design opportunities and key insights. 

How to facilitate a journey mapping workshop 

Journey maps come in many shapes and sizes, and are used in a variety of contexts. However, there are a few common elements that need to be considered when using this method.

1. Decide on a persona

The persona is the character the journey focused. It is mapped based on their point of view. Journey maps typically focus on a single customer type or user group to help build a strong and clear narrative. For example, when creating an internal communication product, employees who use the system, and administrators who manage it, are two separate personas and therefore require two different journey maps. 

2. Context Matters

A scenario is the context or situation that the journey map addresses. It’s usually associated with the persona’s goal, need or expectation. For example, a scenario is an employee creating a new account for their company’s internal communication system. 

It’s important to note that scenarios can be existing ones, meaning they uncover findings for the current state, or they can be anticipated ones that focus on the future and ideal state. 

3. Phases and Steps 

The phases in a journey are the different stages or steps the persona goes through. These are often high-level and allow design facilitators to organize the rest of the information in the journey map. In most cases, facilitators have enough knowledge to propose those phases, but it is meant to be a collaborative exercise where participants help fill in the gaps. 

4. Themes for Analysis 

After you have defined the different stages in the journey, it’s time to populate the different themes of the map. These themes are: doing (actions), thinking (thoughts), feelings (emotions), and opportunities (insights). 

Why is Journey Mapping Useful? 

Journey maps enable better experiences because they provide insights into where the business is not meeting expectations. These insights can be used to design a more streamlined that allows customers to achieve their goals more seamlessly.

Journey maps also allow us to get to the heart of what customers or users are thinking and feeling, resulting in opportunities and insights that can then be used to enhance a product or service. 

By providing context, having a more complete picture of stages within an experience, and seeing the journey from start to finish, businesses gain a better understanding of potential and existing customers. 

The Art & Science Way

Our creative team at Art & Science facilitate journey mapping workshops often with different clients and at different stages of the project cycle. 

We always start with the end in mind, ensuring we understand whose journey we are mapping, and why. We then ask questions that go beyond a customer’s direct interaction with a product or service. This is because we feel it’s important to understand what customers are thinking and doing, before and after, to provide a more holistic and complete view of their journey. 

This fosters an experience-led approach and mindset that allows us to design solutions that keep the user top of mind, every step of the way in order to connect in more meaningful ways. We believe that every touchpoint counts, and as a result, we strive to design them to align with users’ expectations. 

Interested in how journey mapping can improve customer experience for your company? Send us a message. 

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