User journeys are how our users do a thing. Maps of that journey help us to see what happens, understand the journey better, increase our empathy with our users and make the journey better. User journey maps are a tool that are used mainly by designers and user research, and we need to get better at making them. Because they are a great way to show what the problem is, and work out how to fix it.
User journeys give the big picture the journey is bigger than the service the service is bigger than the content (image from Rebecca Cottrell, GDS Interaction Designer) Mapping the user journey will show you how your thing fits in, what other things might or should change as part of the journey redesign, and who you need to be talking to in order to make those changes happen. the journey map itself is a useful way of facilitating those conversations, it’s always useful to have something big on the wall you can stand around and discuss, and keeps the broader context always present even when you’re talking about a specific thing.
We map journeys over time
horizontal - think about the time frame, think about when the user journey starts when does the user need begin? what does a user do first? what are the activities? are there specific activities within each phase? when does the journey end? is it cyclical or linear?
Your map can be about pieces of content, how your user is feeling, their goals, what materials they are including. You decide this when you decide what you want to find out with your map.
You map a user journey to see how things are now, or how you want them to be in the future. You agree them with your team, then you can make them beautiful and use them as a way to talk about your project. And get buy-in.
This is Kate Ivey-Williams journey map of how people interact with all government services that impact on pensions. The scope is massive, but it’s just a spreadsheet.
You can use the journey as a way to ask questions and think through things.
You can make them look pretty, but do that once you’ve decided on your vision, so after your first draft. If they look great, are huge and on the wall, you can talk about them with people outside your team. It makes conversations easier.
This is Kate’s tarted up version of the spreadsheet, journey based browse structure for pensions content
This is a user journey from a patent application. We try and keep user journey maps for all of our improvement themes.
This is a user journey from an improvement theme on tax credits. It’s massive, but it let everyone agree on where we were starting from.
groups around table of 5 or so people - MIX THEM UP IF THEY ARE SAT WITH PEOPLE THEY KNOW
What questions do they have? What do they need to do? What do they need to know? What exists already to deliver this service? How do different bits of the journey make them feel?
post-its for touchpoints with government and 3rd parties, content, questions and emotions One post-it per thing map them over time, group on the vertical where you see it Facilitators - content people will need to reminded to think about how users are feeling. They can use emoticons on their post-its, if they want. Timescale for the journey?
Most of the content isn’t yours. Who owns it? What’s your relationship like? Do you talk to them?
Get participants to talk about how they would add in user research, and what kind of research to look at what types of content.
Write it on your journey may.
No right or wrong; it’s for discussion only
If it doesn’t come up, point out that they should bring in Content owners, who will need to factcheck and approve your content to see user testing. For less friction in the factcheck process.
This is our user journey from a standard visitor visa, showing web pages on that journey. Your maps are probably more complex than this one.
ConCon Manchester: mapping user journeys
User journey maps
Fish eating each other: image by Rebecca Cottrell
●What questions do they have?
●What do they need to do?
●What do they need to know?
●How long does it take?
●What exists on GOV.UK now?
●What information is not on GOV.UK?
●How do different bits of the journey make