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Journey MappingMethod

A journey map is a holistic, visual representation of a user’s experience with a product or service over time. Journey maps combine data and insight from other research and discovery methods to provide a detailed description from the user’s point of view of steps taken, decisions made, successes, pain points, and emotions felt.

Journey maps help designers understand the user’s motivations and needs at each step of a process, from the earliest earliest phases of researching a product or service all the way through adoption, providing crucial insight for designing solutions that better meet user and business needs. The journey map’s visual and storytelling elements also help it communicate research data and findings to broader audiences within an organization.


Journey Mapping is often more effective when it is informed by these complementary methods.


  1. Define business and user goals
    Clearly articulate the organizational goals for the product or service, the design and business goals for the mapping exercise, and the goals of the target user the map is to represent.
  2. Gather research data
    Effective journey maps are based on qualitative and quantitative data collected across a range of activities. Review and incorporate existing research as you create your journey map, and note where gaps in understanding indicate the need for additional research. 
  3. Identify touchpoints and channels
    Touchpoints describe what users do and how they do it. Channels describe where the interaction takes place (e.g. website, call center, native app, or in-store). 
  4. Create an Empathy Map
    Empathy maps describe what users do, think, feel, say, and hear in a given situation. They help you understand and articulate users’ emotional state, and provide the basis for illustrating the peaks and valleys of frustration, anxiety, happiness, etc.
  5. Sketch the journey
    Visualize the order in which users exhibit behaviors, use information, make decisions, and feel emotions. Group elements into phases related to the narrative of each user. Integrate touchpoints, channels, empathy insights, and other research to show the user’s course of motion across the timescale as a whole. Include the user’s feelings at each touchpoint. 
  6. Review, refine, and revise
    Review your draft journey with team members and subject matter experts to gain new insight and integrate new perspectives. Use these to identify additional opportunities to make your journey map more accurate, more expressive of the data, and more useful for the design process. From time to time, evaluate your map to make sure it remains accurate. Revise as necessary to account for evolving research, product development, and user and business needs.


Journey Mapping typically produces insight and solutions focused on these areas:

  • User Preference

    Elements, arrangements, or qualities of experience design that user state or show are valuable to them.

  • User Behavior

    Information about how users currently use a site, service, or resource.

Journey Mapping Resources

Next Steps