Journey Maps: The Ultimate UX Design Tool

A journey map creates a holistic view of user experience and keeps an intranet design and development project moving in the right direction.

By Cathy Dew

A journey map is a great tool for keeping users front and center during development. Done properly, a journey map creates a holistic view of user experience and keeps a design and development project moving in the right direction.

Think of a journey map as the visual manifestation of a user’s day-in-the-life of their interaction with your organization, complete with all the positive possibilities and potential pitfalls.  A good journey map embraces the good, the bad, and the ugly, addressing each possibility in a way that gets the customer, employee, or target moving in a positive direction toward your organization’s goal.

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Think of a journey map as the visual manifestation of daily interaction with your organization.

A good user experience journey map keeps the ultimate goal in mind.

When it comes right down to it, the success of your site or app design is going to depend on how well you can remain focused on your user. A good user experience journey map informs and supports design decisions so you can reach your project’s goals.

For example:

  • If the goal is to create an e-commerce site with high conversions, understanding your shoppers’ behaviors and interests and identifying potential frustrations and annoyances will go a long way to getting you the sales volume you want.
  • A gaming app designer who understands on how players will interact with and react to the site, as well as what will turn a gamer off, will attract users who will return again and again for more competition.
  • An informational website creator who understands what visitors needs to know and how they search for information, while identifying what distracts or confuses them, means more traffic and longer page reads.
  • In the context of employee intranet design, when the designers understand how, from where, and why employees are most likely to use the site—and what factors could dissuade them from accessing it—the likelihood of reaching the organization’s overall goals are increased exponentially.

A well-orchestrated journey map is the gateway to the ultimate UX because it not only identifies where you want your user to go, it explores the different ways to get there, the spots where trouble could derail the journey, and how to address those problems either through prevention or quick responsive action.


What are the key elements of a journey map?

While every journey map is different, there are certain key elements that are almost always present in a journey map’s narrative.

  • Persona or point of view: Who is the main actor in your story? Are there potentially other actors? Should they join this actor or is their point of view so different that they need their own story?
  • Stage or scenario: What is the experience you are mapping? Where is this journey taking place?
  • Actions, perceptions, and emotions: What is your main character doing, thinking, and feeling?
  • Touchpoints, features, and channels: How and when does your actor interact with the organization? What are the mechanisms used for interaction?
  • Insights and opportunities: What are the potential problems the actor could encounter on the journey? How will you address them? Can you prevent them?

Let the 2Plus2 information architects create your UX journey map

The IA and design professionals at 2Plus2 are experts at exploring these questions and creating powerful journey maps that transform how companies interact with employees, customers, and other stakeholders. Go online to schedule a free consultation with our team or call 510-652-7700 today.

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Cathy Dew
Cathy Dew – CEO + Information Architect
Cathy focuses the company on our mission – Real results. Every time. Information architect and strategist, Cathy is passionate about making software work well – the function, the feel, the result.