Key Components of a Journey Map
Journey maps come in all shapes and sizes. Regardless of how they look, journey maps have the following 5 key elements in common:
The actor is the persona or user who experiences the journey. The actor is who the journey map is about — a point of view. Actors usually align with personas and their actions in the map are rooted in data.
Provide one point of view per map in order to build a strong, clear narrative. For example, a university might choose either a student or a faculty member as actor — each would result in different journeys. (To capture both viewpoints, the university will need to build two separate maps, one for each of the two user types.)
- Scenario + Expectations
The scenario describes the situation that the journey map addresses and is associated with an actor’s goal or need and specific expectations. For example, one scenario could be switching mobile plans to save money, and expectations for it include to easily find all the information needed to make a decision.
Scenarios can be real (for existing products and services) or anticipated — for products that are yet in the design stage.
Journey maps are best for scenarios that involve a sequence of events (such as shopping or taking a trip), describe a process (thus involve a set of transitions over time), or might involve multiple channels.
- Journey Phases
Journey phases are the different high-level stages in the journey. They provide organization for the rest of the information in the journey map (actions, thoughts, and emotions). The stages will vary from scenario to scenario; each organization will usually have data to help it determine what these phases are for a given scenario. Here are some examples:
- For an ecommerce scenario (like buying Bluetooth speakers), the stages can be discover, try, buy, use, seek support.
- For a big (or luxury) purchases (like test driving and buying a car), the stages can be engagement, education, research, evaluation, justification.
- For a business-to-business scenario (like rolling out an internal tool), the stages could be purchase, adoption, retention, expansion, advocacy.
- Actions, Mindsets, and Emotions
These are behaviors, thoughts, and feelings the actor has throughout the journey and that are mapped within each of the journey phases.
Actions are the actual behaviors and steps taken by users. This component is not meant to be a granular step-by-step log of every discrete interaction. Rather, it is a narrative of the steps the actor takes during that phase.
Mindsets correspond to users’ thoughts, questions, motivations, and information needs at different stages in the journey. Ideally, these are customer verbatims from research.
Emotions are plotted as single line across the journey phases, literally signaling the emotional “ups” and “downs” of the experience. Think of this line as a contextual layer of emotion that tells us where the user is delighted versus frustrated.
Opportunities (along with additional context such as ownership and metrics) are insights gained from mapping; they speak to how the user experience can be optimized. Insights and opportunities help the team draw knowledge from the map:
What needs to be done with this knowledge?
Who owns what change?
Where are the biggest opportunities?
How are we going to measure improvements we implement?
Zone A: The lens provides constraints for the map by assigning (1) a persona (“who”) and (2) the scenario to be examined (“what”).
Zone B: The heart of the map is the visualized experience, usually aligned across (3) chunkable phases of the journey. The (4) actions, (5) thoughts, and (6) emotional experience of the user has throughout the journey can be supplemented with quotes or videos from research.
Zone C: The output should vary based on the business goal the map supports, but it could describe the insights and pain points discovered, and the (7) opportunities to focus on going forward, as well as (8) internal ownership.
- Which elements do you typically include in journey maps?
- What do you find to be the most frustrating or unhelpful part of using journey maps?
- What do you find to be the most helpful results, outputs or benefits of using journey maps?
- When does journey mapping fail?
- When does journey mapping succeed?