UX Mapping Methods Compared: A Cheat Sheet

by Sarah Gibbons on November 5, 2017

Summary: Empathy maps, customer journey maps, experience maps, and service blueprints depict different processes and have different goals, yet they all build common ground within an organization.

Designing and developing a product often involves a large team of people with different backgrounds and experiences who must be on the same page about the project goals, the user needs and behaviors, and even the component processes involved. This common understanding is often built with visualizations (commonly referred to as mappings). Mappings make sense of and describe various aspects and processes associated with a product.

Four Types of Mapping

This article gives an overview of four commonly used mappings, their defining characteristics, and when to use which:

  • Empathy mapping -help team members understand the user’s mindset.

  • Customer journey mapping – focus on a specific customer’s interaction with a product or service.

  • Experience mapping – generalize the concept of customer-journey maps across user types and products.

  • Service blueprinting – are counterparts to customer journey maps, focused on the employees.



All UX mappings have two-fold benefits. First, the process of creating a map forces conversation and an aligned mental model. Second, the shared artifact resulting from the mapping can be used amongst your team, organization, or partners to communicate an understanding of your user or service. This artifact can also become the basis for decision making as the team moves forward.

Using one mapping method over another will not make or break a project. Ideally, a combination of all four will be used as needed at different points in your process, to create an in-depth understanding of your users and organization.



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