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User Journeys are a way to map out how a person completes a task on your website. Mapping out the journey users take can highlight the reason a person came to your site, as well as touchpoints, pain points, and emotions experienced in each step they take. User Journeys are a key output of a sites discovery as they help stakeholders understand user behaviour and needs.

What are user journeys used for?

Customer journey maps are used to help communicate the vision of the project with stakeholders. They help inform the design of the new solution by identifying opportunities, critical tasks, and pain points. For example, there may be too many clicks to find content, or information missing that will help the customer make a decision.

User journeys can help with prioritising the flow and the layout of the page during solution design as you will know what the key user journeys are. They also act as a reference point when a design has gone through a number of iterations to make sure the goals are kept in mind.

 

How to create a user journey

1. Conduct Research

Before a user journey is created you should research user needs by speaking to potential and existing users of your website. Try to find out what the user’s goals, motivations and frustrations are. The insights gathered from these interviews will be used to create personas of the people using your website.


2. Gather your tools

Mapping user journeys are best done as a team in a workshop. Set aside a couple of hours per journey and invite stakeholders and your team to the workshop. Stakeholders with a good knowledge of the people using the website and key decision makers are valuable during this experience.


3. Define user goals

Whilst keeping the personas in mind, choose the main goals from your website and thus the journeys you wish to map out. For example, filling out a contact form or booking a holiday. You may want to map out the journey for each persona if everyone performs different tasks on the website. Or map a single journey for all personas if everyone performs that task.


4. Define the stages users will go through to achieve that goal

Start by identifying the main stages the user will go through to perform the task. Write each stage on a separate card along the horizontal axis. For example, the stages of a booking holiday customer journey might be:

  • Research
  • Validate
  • Decide
  • Purchase
  • Checkin
  • Airport

Then write the information you want to map along the vertical axis:

  • Pain points
  • Thoughts
  • Emotions
  • Expectations
  • Channels
  • Opportunities

Then starting from the first stage as a team discuss each event and gradually build up a picture of the experience. Make sure you include what you learnt from the user interviews. For example, the first stage in booking a holiday might be to research and a pain point might be that the mobile experience is slow when not on Wi-Fi.

 

5. Complete your user journey

Continue to flesh out each stage of the user journey until you have a well thought out process. Continue to test user journeys as your website develops over time and travel through the journey yourself to ensure nothing is broken.