A Beginner’s Guide to User Journey Mapping in Your Web App

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Are you struggling to find out how you can improve your app to suit your user’s needs? A user journey map is a timeline of actions that the user took. It describes the relationship between your brand and the customer and provides a visual representation of how the user interacted with your app.

Although user journey maps can come in all shapes and formats, it is still commonly represented as a timeline consisting of information on all the channels your users went through to interact with your app.

This week, we’ll look at the benefits of a User Journey Map and how you can create one from scratch.

Benefits of user journey mapping for your business

  1. Assess company’s performance with alignment to business goals.

Journey maps are created to support a known business goal. This goal can be to resolve aninternal or external issue. For example, an internal issue could be to address the lack of ownership over certain parts of the customer experience. Whereas an external issue example could be to learn about your user’s purchasing behaviour.

  1. Change your company’s perspective to view the app from a user’s point of view.

Journey mapping helps shed light on the real human experiences that organizations often know very little about. User journey mapping fosters a customer-centric approach to product building, ultimately leading to better customer relationships.

Some questions you might ask about your user’s journey include:

  • What made the user download and open the app?
  • How easy is our app to understand and use immediately?
  • How long does it take users to accomplish what they came there to do?
  • How well does the experience extend across multiple channels, and where do they run into gaps?
  1.  Break silos, to create a shared vision within the entire organization.

User journey mapping helps facilitate cross-department conversation and collaboration as it creates a vision of the entire customer journey. By highlighting pain points and areas of friction, journey mapping answers the question of “Where is our starting point?” and aids in building an organization-wide plan of action to invest in customer experience.

  1. Understand your quantitative data and target specific customers.

Analytics and quantitative data help to identify why sales are dropping, or whether certain tools are underutilized. However, journey mapping helps you figure out why these events are happening. It can also help you figure out how to improve your new feature adoption rates.

Throughout the journey mapping process, you will be able to better understand the similarities and differences across the journeys of various user personas. Thereafter, you will be able to better prioritize or target a specific customer base.

Examples of different user journey maps

1.     Experience maps

These maps track behaviours at each phase of a process from start to finish with no focus on any topic such as demographics, company, product preference, etc. They are useful for giving you a sense of the user experience of your app, as you are encouraged to think about the user’s wants, needs, and actions they might take in a certain scenario. 

2.     Empathy maps

These maps do not follow any sequence of events along a user’s journey. They are usually created during user interviews to track what a user says, thinks, does, and feels when using your app.

3.     Day in the life maps

These maps zoom out, identifying users’ daily behaviour to gain insight into how a product can help reduce a person’s pain points. Throughout the process, the company should visualize obstacles a user might encounter and try to resolve the issues before the user notices the problem.

It addresses questions such as:

  • What challenges is the customer confronted with?
  • How’s the customer using our product?
  • In what ways can our product be put to better use?

4. Current state maps

These maps illustrate how users engage with a product at every touch point while using the app. They stimulate thinking about a user’s mindset, behaviour, and pain points when they use your product. With this, you can constantly improve your UX to retain satisfied customers.

It addresses questions such as:

  • What’s the customer thinking/feeling?
  • Should any change be made at this point?
  • Why should we make this change and how will we do it?

5.     Future state maps

These maps help companies envision how they hope customers will use their product before they start using it, and then guide them towards establishing specific goals during the design process or at other touchpoints. These maps are usually drawn when brainstorming new product ideas or for mapping out best-case scenarios for existing products.

It addresses questions such as:

  • What action does the customer take?
  • What’s the difference between the above section and the current state?
  • How will this affect the customer journey?

6.    Service blueprints

These reveal hiccups in business processes as they focus on the customer, employee and service provider roles in different scenarios.

The main components include:

  1. Customer actions: What customers do when engaging with a service provider.
  2. Frontstage actions: Employee actions that the customer sees.
  3. Backstage actions: Everything that occurs in the backend, out of customer’s view.
  4. Processes: All events and inner workings of the organization that makes the business work.

Ultimately, when choosing which type of journey map to use, consider your goals and the problems you want to uncover and solve.

Components of a user journey map

Although, as we’ve seen, user journey maps adopt different formats, the following elements are usually present:

  • User persona – The user who experiences the journey.
  • Scenario – The actual journey the user persona takes.
  • Goals – What the user persona expects to accomplish through the journey.
  • Journey steps – Steps taken by the user persona to reach the goal. Can be supplemented with real user quotes or videos of user interaction with the product.
  • Opportunities – Insights obtained to help the product team understand how to improve the user experience.
  • Internal ownership – Assigns person/department in charge of changes to the product based on the identified opportunities.

User journey mapping process

Step 1: Define the goals and scope of your journey map.

This determines whether your user journey map will translate into a tangible impact for your users and business. Thus, prior to goal setting, you need to identify your existing and future consumer base, to be able to set specific goals for your target audience at each stage of their experience.

A tip is to gather unique perspectives and insights from key stakeholders who are likely to touch different points of the customer experience. This helps in identifying where improvements are needed.

Step 2: Collect customer data and insights for persona research.

Obtain as much information as possible about the persona your journey map concerns. Depending on the maturity of your business, target persona information may be difficult to obtain.

Here are some ways in which you can gather meaningful customer data:

  • Conduct interviews.
  • Talk to employees who regularly interact with customers.
  • Look through customer support and complaint logs.
  • Pull clips from recorded sessions or monitor discussions about your company on social media.

The type of information you want to look out for should include:

  • How customers found out about your product/brand?
  • Why & When customers purchase or cancel?
  • How easy/difficult users found your product to navigate?
  • What problems your product did not solve?

Step 3: Define customer touchpoints.

Determine and state in your journey map how and where your customers interact with and experience your brand. Identify your engagement points to see if this feature leads to better retention in the long run (i.e. this is a feature that most users will find useful and is the product’s wow moment. But it’s currently too concealed in some part of the app).

Additionally, include information that addresses elements of action, emotions, and potential challenges. Depending on the type of business, the number and type of touch points you identify will vary.

Step 4: Define dropoff points

You should also check the workflows your customers take when navigating your app, and when they start to drop off. Optimizing this flow can help lead to better retention.

An example of this is in our interactive onboarding tutorials, where you can analyze user interaction. For example, here’s how Nickelled shows user dropoff points inside our guided tours:

Step 5: Map current state

There is no “correct” way to format your journey map. Prioritize the right content over aesthetics and invite input from relevant stakeholders to ensure accuracy when building your journey map. Include the touchpoints, actions, channels, and assigned internal ownership for each phase along the journey timeline. This process helps you to start identifying gaps or red flags in the user experience.

With more complex software, onboarding new users usually poses an issue. With Nickelled, the setup is quick and new users will automatically be brought through a clear and interactive click-through guide when they launch your software for the first time, resulting in a more positive initial user experience.

Step 6: Map future states

After mapping your current customer journey state, you’ll realize some gaps in your customer experience, information overlaps, obstacles for customers, etc. It is time to map out potential solutions and compare the current state map with your idea, future state.

Once the comparison is done, present your findings with a clear roadmap for expected change, and how roles should be assigned to improve the customer journey.

Enhance your user journey mapping process with customer engagement insights from Nickelled.

User journey mapping can help optimize the ways customers use your app, improve retention, decrease drop-offs and lead to a better experience for your users. If your app is complex and has a steep learning curve, a great user experience may be dependent upon an efficient learning system.

Use Nickelled to effectively onboard your new users and turn them into loyal fans of your product. Get instant insights on how they’re using your guided tours.