User Journey Mapping - An overview
The success of a website relies on far more than sleek looks and well-written blurbs, you need to plan how visitors will actually use the site. User Journey Mapping gives an overview of how visitors will interact with the website and its key features, you can then use this information to alter the website so that they interact in the desired manner. The importance of this process cannot be understated, it must be based on actual users in order to capture their interest and imagination, and should not be based on the opinion of the decision-makers.
After deciding on the general features and functions of the website, the process of User Journey Mapping means that you can envisage how these features will be experienced by the user. You must picture the challenges and emotions that users will encounter at each part of their journey. It is these user touchpoints throughout the website that will dictate how the user views your website and crucially your business, brand, or product.
Some general touchpoints include:
Their first visit on the website,
How they found the website,
Experience of trying to find specific products or services,
Method of contact.
What goes into your map?
Like any map, the accurate and precise data used to create the map is vital. Therefore, gaining data through research from a range of sources will make the process far more effective.
Research is essential, you must speak to potential and existing visitors of the website. Find out their general opinions of the website and how they interact with it. Within this, it is useful to note their motivations for visiting, ultimate goals, and any user issues they may have faced. Once you have gathered enough information you will have a clearer picture of your common visitor.
Part of the creating process should be the identification of the main functions that any visitor will perform, you can then map the current and desired journey clearly from each of these points.
Once you have this information you should be able to start building a journey which visitors will take on your site. You need to outline the journey visually to create the map itself.
Which type of map works best for you?
There are multiple versions of journey maps that you could create, however, the one you decide to choose should be based on the purpose and what you want to achieve.
Current state journey mapping - This summarises everything that a user performs, experiences, and thinks when visiting your website. It is represented in a linear map reflecting the whole experience, including the changes in emotion, challenges, and any questions at every step of the journey.
Future state journey mapping - This is a goal-setting map, it envisages how your desired journey for users would look at each stage. This is, therefore, the ideal map for your users and you can then work out how best to achieve this.
Non-linear journey mapping - This is a type of map best used when the target audience is very wide, and a typical type of user is hard to pinpoint.
Once you have decided what works best for you, you are ready to start mapping!