User Journey Mapping

Journey maps are a powerful tool for building products to meet user’s needs. They allow builders to get a birds-eye-view of the product.

They visualise the user experience over time. You have a user complete different tasks in your product, step by step. You take notes on their experience with this process. They could experience the process with happiness, confusion, frustration. These tell us what’s working well and what to improve.

Doing so, we can refine our product or take notes for future product/ feature backlogs.


We use user journey mapping to:

  • Create an in-depth visual perspective on users and their experience with your product

  • Identify parts of the user flow with pain points and points of delight

  • Explore how a user actually interacts your product

  • Provides opportunities to improve specific screens and journey flows

  • Communicate insights to the rest of the team, ensuring all align on building a customer-centric product

  • It’s also a vital tool to align devs, design, marketing, and other verticals on a user’s point of view.


Step 1: Open the User Journey Map Resource


Step 2: Set task

Set a task you would like the person to complete on the app/website

Step 3: Observe

Ask the person to share their screen and observe them completing the task

Before they walk through the product its good to provide a bit of guidance:

  1. Let them know that you are testing the product not them

  2. That you are open to all feedback they provide and don’t have a personal connection to the product

  3. That they can help by thinking out loud as much as possible

  4. Step 4: Create User Journey map

Create a user journey map from test/s. This can be repeated with a few users to get a set of insights that can be compared.

  • The journey’s “columns” will represent the individual steps that a user goes through.

  • The journey’s “rows” are different sections you can focus on in the experience. Common sections include: user tasks, user’s emotional state, pain points, points of delight.


The most common journey map variables are the following:

1. Stages or Phases

Stages or Phases structure the experience map into parts with a common theme/goal, eg.  “Problem Recognition → Information Search → Evaluation of Alternatives → Purchase Decision → Post-Purchase Behaviour”. Each stage contains a number of steps.

2. Steps or Actions

A sequence of all experiences, activities, or events a user has in a broader experience we are trying to map. The more steps we divide from the experience, the more detailed map we will create, as this is the basis of analysis.

3. Emotional journey

A graph representing an actor's emotional state at each step, typically using a scale from -2 (very negative) to +2 (very positive). It’s very useful for quick assessment of problems to solve or very good experiences to strengthen.

4. Quotes or Thoughts

Any useful quotes the actor said or thought during the experience.

5. Pain Points

Points out specific problems that users faced during the experience.

6. Opportunities

Insights or moments in the experience that are a chance to improve an actor's experience within that step - either solve a pain point or strengthen good experiences they have.

7. Moments of Truth

Decisive, critical moments in experience that can often “make or break” their overall experience. It can be for example first contact with the product, first seeing it in real life or first usage.


  1. Stickdorn, M., Hormess, M. E., Lawrence, A., & Schneider, J. (2018). This is service design doing: applying service design thinking in the real world. " O'Reilly Media, Inc.".

  2. NN Group

  3. Journey mapping UX Practitioners