At its core, a journey map is a visual storyboard that helps you understand moments that matter to people, in context. It's a powerful tool that can help you identify friction, pain points, and opportunity to create impactful solutions.
What do you mean by “non-Product” People?
This piece is for people in the business of impacting humans, including those of us who don’t make products or have customers.
What’s a Journey Map?
A journey map is a visual representation of the experience a subject has at each step on the way to an end point. The map tells the story of the subject’s journey from their POV, including what they see, think, feel, and do at critical points. We often refer to the subject as the “actor” to frame the map as a narrative story.
What Does Human-Centered Mean?
A human-centered Journey Map is a visual storyboard that helps you understand human moments in context. We sometimes see the word “journey” used to describe the pathway of a non-human object from one place to another, as in food’s path through your body, or electricity’s path to your house. That type of mapping does indeed show a pathway, but not a human experience on that pathway. Human-centered journey maps help us understand how the human at the center sees the world and makes decisions.
Does the subject have eyes?
An easy rule of thumb for whether a map is person-centered: Does the subject have eyes? The map is designed to help see through someone else’s eyes. A good journey map will feature a subject with a name, a face, and a story.
What are journey maps good for?
Shared understanding. When a multi-person team, or a multi-team collective, is working together, a journey map gives the group a shared, holistic vision of what they are working on, and how each piece fits into the whole. Journey maps help to:
- share understanding and vision among cross functional teams
- identify where there is opportunity
- prioritize opportunities for greatest impact
- communicate a shared vision with others.
Who should use journey maps?
Journey maps are great for anyone who wants to impact human behavior. Some examples:
- Marketing — to know how and where to attract eyeballs, and what kind of eyeballs are most valuable to the business.
- Products and services — to understand the needs of their customers and clients, audiences, board members, etc.
- Healthcare, Policy, & Social Services — to influence outcomes.
What is framing the journey?
Framing the journey is deciding the who, what, and where of your map. Those details are clearly communicated in the visualization.
Whose journey is it?
A journey map depicts one person’s journey. It can be a real person, as in the case of a diary study, or it can be a persona — a realistic but functional character that represents your target segment. A persona has a name, a face, and a story.
What are you mapping?
Person-centered journey maps are structured around a person pursuing a goal of their own. That sets them apart from other types of roadmaps that center around the strategic goals of an organization or team. It is important to remember that it is rarely anyone’s goal to become a customer or user, or patient. Those things happen on the way to doing something they actually care about. A person-centered journey map starts with the phrase (or sentiment) “I want to ________.”
Some examples include:
- I want to buy a car.
- I want to pay for things with my phone.
- I want to have a mole removed.
- I want to feed my family.
Types of Journey Map
Customer journey maps, user journey maps, patient journey maps — these are sub-types of journey maps that should all be human-centered. They differ in which journeys they focus on.
At its core, a journey map is a visual storyboard that helps you understand moments that matter to people, in context. It’s a powerful tool that can help you identify friction, pain points, and opportunity to create impactful solutions.