I noticed that there is not as much discussion about journey maps as there are other methods and design steps. These visual artifacts are not uncommon, just underutilized, maybe. A key component of content strategy, these are intended to help designers and stakeholders empathy into the user’s path to success in a particular task or goal. The organization knows what it has to offer and they know their target audience, but they need a way to understand the issues from the user’s point of view.
While working on a side project, I decided to create a journey map to show the problems and solutions from the user’s POV. I thought my project would be perfect for creating a few different journey maps to help ideate and create the perfect pet adoption website. I haven’t created a journey map before, so this was a great place to practice.
I like journey maps and you should too! They are easy to create, fun and loose design tools that can impart a lot of information about users and what their needs and desires are at any/every important focal point in the journey. It can identify user pain points or opportunities for content/features improvements. It shows a clear starting and end point for the user and every step along the way.
You will want to create a journey map earlier in the design phase. Before you begin creating wireframes, but after you have established users, needs and product content. It can be low fidelity drawn on a white board for the design team to reference, it can be colorful and highly stylized for a stakeholder presentation, it can promote the value of your content strategy, it can be a mid fidelity version to help the dev team focus on what your designs are working towards. It is a great visual that summarizes the problems and solutions and it is easy for everyone to digest.
The user’s point of view is the key verbiage here. If the journey just shows what the organization is offering, it misses the point of empathizing and solving for the user. Before you can make a journey map you need to be able to answer a five questions:
Who is the journey map for?
What is the user’s journey or end goal?
What are the phases of the user journey?
What are the emotions, needs or desires throughout the process?
What are the opportunities your project is creating to help the user?
A journey map looks like a simple high level tool that can be created whenever needed, but that is not the case. Without answering the above questions you can not make an effective journey map that speaks for the user’s needs and the organizations solutions. Remember, the journey map is a visual tool to show the problem from two different perspectives; The user and the organization. Without the user’s needs prioritized, it will fail to help in creating an effective product or strategy for anyone.
For my project, I decided to create my journey map on a ‘Miro’ board. I wanted to use a lite design tool that I could use to collaborate with my project partner. This turned out to be a fun design step. After discussing features, content, users and adoption pain points, we put together a timeline of an adoption process. This gave us the information we needed to put together this journey map. This particular map shows two separate people wanting to adopt a pet and their process to a successful adoption. I tried to tie in their emotions, their pain points and needs throughout each phase of the adoption process.
This was my first attempt at a journey map. I think it was a decent attempt for a first time. It is not perfect and I plan to revise, but I like how it is forming up. I plan to continue creating journey maps in my future projects and hone this skill. Here are a couple resources I have referenced when creating my map and when writing this blog: Nielsen Norman Group, A beginners guide.
I would love to hear what experiences you have had creating and using journey maps.