Customer Journey Maps

Your constantly-updated definition of Customer Journey Maps and collection of topical content and literature

What are Customer Journey Maps?

Customer journey maps are used to map the relationship between a customer and an organization over time and across all channels on which they interact with the business. Design teams use customer journey maps to see how customer experiences meet customers’ expectations and find areas where they need to improve designs.

Data often fails to communicate the frustrations and experiences of customers. A story can do that, and one of the best storytelling tools in business is the customer journey map.”

— Paul Boag, UX designer, service design consultant & digital transformation expert

Here is Frank Spillers with more on how to include journey maps in your design process.

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Customer Journey Maps – Tell Customer Stories

Customer journey maps are research-based tools which design teams use to reveal typical customer experiences over time and visualize the many dimensions and factors involved. These enable brands to learn more about target users. Team members examine tasks and questions (e.g., what-ifs) regarding how a design meets or fails to meet customers’ needs over time when they encounter a product or service. Therefore, these maps should be detail-rich timelines that show the most important sub-tasks and events. Over this timeline framework, you add insights of what customers think and feel when proceeding along the timeline. The map should consist of:

  1. A timescale – a defined journey period (e.g., 1 week) including selected areas from awareness to conversion and beyond.

  2. Scenarios – the context and sequence of events in which a user/customer must achieve a goal (e.g., a user wants to buy a ticket on the phone), from first actions (recognition of a problem) to last actions (e.g., subscription renewal).

  3. Touchpoints what customers do while interacting and how they do it.

  4. Channels where they perform actions (e.g., Facebook).

  5. Thoughts and feelings -what the customer thinks and feels at each touchpoint.

The goal of a customer journey map is to gain an understanding of how the customer experience develops over time and show that in a deliverable which everyone in the organization can appreciate. It allows you to discover possible problems and improve the design so it’s more likely to exceed customers’ expectations at all touchpoints.

How to Make Customer Journey Maps for Exceptional Experiences

To create a customer journey map, you can follow these steps:

  1. Define your Map’s Business Goal – Clarify who will use your map and what user experience it will address.

  2. Conduct Research – Use customer research to determine customer experiences at all touchpoints. Get analytical/statistical data and anecdotal evidence through, e.g., customer interviews, surveys, social media listening and competitive intelligence.

  3. Review Touchpoints and Channels – List customer touchpoints (e.g., pay a bill) and channels (e.g., online). Look for additional touchpoints or channels to include.

  4. Make an empathy map – Pinpoint what the customer does, thinks, feels, says, hears, etc. in a given situation. Then, determine his/her needs and how he/she feels throughout the experience. Focus on barriers and sources of annoyance.

  5. Sketch the Journey – Piece together everything (touchpoints, timescale, empathy map output, new ideas, etc.) however you like(e.g., a map). You want to show a customer’s course of motion through touchpoints and channels across the timescale, including his/her feelings at every touchpoint.

  6. Iterate and Refine – Revise and transform your sketch into the best-looking version of the ideal customer journey.

  7. Share with Stakeholders – Ensure all stakeholders have your map, understand it and appreciate how its use will bring beneficial changes to customers and across the organization.

Once the map is ready, you should measure the enhanced journey’s results. For instance, check key performance indicators (KPIs). The more touchpoints there are, the more complex the map will be. In any case, your entire organization should soon notice its value as a revisable, “living” document because members from all sections will have a common reference point for a wider, sharper customer focus.

Our Customer Journey Map template features 3 zones (top – persona and scenario; middle – thoughts, actions and feelings; bottom – insights and progress barriers).

Learn More about Customer Journey Maps

Take our User Research Methods and Best Practices course:

Here are some compelling Customer Journey Maps:

This is an incisive blog showcasing examples:

This empathy-themed piece features an activity and field tips:

Find some additional insights here:

Literature on Customer Journey Maps

Here’s the entire UX literature on Customer Journey Maps by the Interaction Design Foundation, collated in one place:

Learn more about Customer Journey Maps

Take a deep dive into Customer Journey Maps with our course Journey Mapping .

This course will show you how to use journey mapping to turn your own complex design challenges into simple, delightful user experiences. If you want to design a great shopping experience, an efficient signup flow or an app that brings users delight over time, journey mapping is a critical addition to your toolbox. 

We will begin with a short introduction to mapping — why it is so powerful, and why it is so useful in UX. Then we will get familiar with the three most common types of journey map — experience maps, customer journey maps and service blueprints — and how to recognize, read and use each one. Then you will learn how to collect and analyze data as a part of a journey mapping process. Next you will learn how to create each type of journey map, and in the final lesson you will learn how to run a journey mapping workshop that will help to turn your journey mapping insights into actual products and services. 

This course will provide you with practical methods that you can start using immediately in your own design projects, as well as downloadable templates that can give you a head start in your own journey mapping projects. 

The “Build Your Portfolio: Journey Mapping Project” includes three practical exercises where you can practice the methods you learn, solidify your knowledge and if you choose, create a journey mapping case study that you can add to your portfolio to demonstrate your journey mapping skills to future employers, freelance customers and your peers. 

Throughout the course you will learn from four industry experts. 

Indi Young will provide wisdom on how to gather the right data as part of your journey mapping process. She has written two books, Practical Empathy and Mental Models. Currently she conducts live online advanced courses about the importance of pushing the boundaries of your perspective. She was a founder of Adaptive Path, the pioneering UX agency that was an early innovator in journey mapping. 

Kai Wang will walk us through his very practical process for creating a service blueprint, and share how he makes journey mapping a critical part of an organization’s success. Kai is a talented UX pro who has designed complex experiences for companies such as CarMax and CapitalOne. 

Matt Snyder will help us think about journey mapping as a powerful and cost-effective tool for building successful products. He will also teach you how to use a tool called a perspective grid that can help a data-rich journey mapping process go more smoothly. In 2020 Matt left his role as the Sr. Director of Product Design at Lucid Software to become Head of Product & Design at Hivewire. 

Christian Briggs will be your tour guide for this course. He is a Senior Product Designer and Design Educator at the Interaction Design Foundation. He has been designing digital products for many years, and has been using methods like journey mapping for most of those years.  

All Literature

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