Using Research Data: Journey Mapping

When I first started reading about UX and all the research methods you could use to find out what people need, the one thing I could not find much information about was what to do with all the data you end up with. The answer always seemed to be ‘it depends’, which was not really very helpful.

Today I am going to focus on the results from interviews and workshops.

Sometimes my clients do not want me to test their website or product, they want to know what journey their customers take, or the full process their team follow.

They probably have a reasonable understanding of some of the things these people do or go through, but they might not have the full picture. Or they might think they do but something has happened to make them question their knowledge.

In this case instead of a usability test I am more likely to conduct an interview with the relevant people if it is customers or run a workshop with staff to find out what their process is. As always it depends on who I am speaking to and what I need to find out.

I always start by working out exactly what I need to find out. By the end of the hour I have to speak to them, what do I have to know?

I can then write a discussion guide of possible questions that I might want to ask, broken up into sections to make it easier to follow. As the title suggests this is a guide to help me remember all the possible things I might want to ask them about, but depending on how the conversation goes this will be different for each interview.

It is always interesting, even when speaking to people working in subjects where I do not fully understand everything they are telling me, for instance when speaking to financial advisers.

I have spoken with couples, which brings a new dynamic to the conversation and I have run workshops were the team tell me all the parts of their process and surprise each other as they learn how each other work.

At the end of these sessions there are probably a lot of post-it notes and my scribbled timeline to look through before the fun part. Creating a journey map.

The simplest of maps focus on what the person is doing, where or with what touch point, and how they are feeling. More detail can be added depending on the journey, for instance other departments that might be involved when speaking to a team. However this is not supposed to show everything. It is supposed to give a flavour of where the highs and lows of a customers journey are.

If speaking to both an internal team and customers, the two maps can reference each other and give an even more interesting overview of the journey

And by being able to tell the story of what is happening for these people it helps my client to understand what the opportunities are to improve their service or their internal process.

Once these maps are created we like to print them out on A1 card and give them to the client. All the maps I have presented so far have had people out of their seats to look at them and have been taken away to be stuck up in the office where everyone can see them and pain points can be ticked off as they are improved.

Helping a client to do their very best for their customers, does not always have to end in a powerpoint presentation.