Understanding Users with Journey Maps

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Designing positive user experiences relies on solving problems users encounter. The Journey map helps designers better understand the needs of their users, by visualizing the actions users take to achieve a goal.

Why Journey Maps?

UX tools such as personas, empathy maps, and problem statements help develop a better understanding of users’ needs. However, journey maps elevate methods to understand a user by tracking the steps users take to complete an action.

The map demonstrates key moments a user takes throughout the entire process of a goal. By mapping these moments out, one can identify specific issues and emotions users encounter along the way.

Lego created this Journey Map to highlight users’ emotions when traveling on a flight to New York City.

How to Make a Journey Map

Developing a journey map can be a challenging study. However, the process becomes much easier when you have developed the following elements.

  • Comprehensive Persona: Who becomes the central focus of the journey map?
  • Scenario: What is the user attempting to do with your product or service?
  • Journey Phases: What are the key steps your user will take?
  • Actions, Thoughts, and emotions: What does the user do to complete their task? How do they feel about completing those steps?
  • Opportunity for Improvement: What are the key issues your user encounters? What can you do to improve your user’s experience?

A Journey Map Example

In the past few posts, I’ve been exploring the foundational user experience on video hosting applications, Vimeo, Youtube, and TikTok. I wanted to develop a journey map to better understand how users use Vimeo.com’s cell phone application to host content they created.

This journey map represents a fictional user’s steps to creating and uploading a video to Vimeo.

Developing the journey map proved difficult as the process forced me to think about the unique needs of a fictional person. I had to think of each step Charles would use Vimeo’s services and immediately found opportunities for Vimeo to improve its application.

Vimeo provides many resources for users to develop content through Vimeo. However, those resources are not available on the mobile application. Including this content in the app might help users like Charles who have not produced a video before.

Secondly, the journey map indicates that Vimeo’s paid services are too expensive, and the platform limits users by limiting file size for video content. By increasing the limit slightly, more users like Charles would be able to fully us the software before investing in the company’s paid services.

Journey Map Reflection

After creating this journey map, I realized how essential it is to learn about your user’s experience with your product or service. This process demonstrated key issues users encounter and provided clarity on how to best solve those problems for users.

Journey Map Resources

Nielson Norman Group: Journey Maps 101

UXeria: 10 Interesting Customer Journey Maps

UX Planet: Beginner’s Guide to Journey Mapping

Keep Exploring UX Posts

Still Need Help?

If you’re still seeking assistance developing a journey map for your nonprofit or educational organization, I can help you map out your user experience with journey maps.

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About the Author
About the Author

Drew Furtado is an Emmy Award winning filmmaker, and leader of a nationally recognized high school media arts communication department .

He develops guides and strategies for nonprofit and educational organizations to improve and grow their social media presence, website development, and communication practices that best engages audiences.

New Bedford, Massachusetts

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