Visualizing the customer experience using customer experience journey maps

Too often when we think of a customer, our view is filtered through the lens of our job, profession,  department, or specialty. Think of how patients are treated in most hospitals. They are viewed as a disease, an illness, a collection of parts – each with its own specialist. The hospital system is designed for the convenience of the specialists, not for the needs of the patient. Specialists in a hospital are much like the silos in an organization, each viewing a customer from their own departmental lens.

Bringing the outside in using customer experience journey maps

Customer experience journey maps are a tool to help bring the outside world into an organization. They are a tool that can help bring customer stories to life. An entire story. Not just the piece one silo or function within an organization normally may encounter.

And as we map out the customer’s story, our organization’s own story becomes visible. And often what’s revealed is an incomplete fractured story.

Below are a few examples of different types of customer experience journey maps.

[updated September 28, 2011 & May 22 2012 with additional examples]

Social Gamer created by nForm

This map was created by nForm during a project to evolve one of Comcast’s gaming websites

Social Gamer Experience Map

  • I like how the map provides a brief summary of the target persona for the journey, the use of visual icons to code the journey, and how actual quotes from gamers are used to illustrate key points.
  • Notice the journey isn’t linear and the absence of the traditional marketing funnel. The gamer is in control here. Awareness is ongoing and crosses different media channels. Choosing is quite complex and is dependent on actually being able to play the game.
  • Journey includes past experiences, awareness of new games, process of choosing, purchase experience, play experience, and sharing experience. Really hits home at how gamers invest their time – on forums, in stores, with friends – before buying a game. But misses out on the post-sharing experience… what happens when the gamer tires of a game (and what are the factors that contribute to tiring of a game)?
  • Map could have benefited from including moments of truth (when the gamer forms an opinion, turns a corner, makes a decision).  Was the game fun? What’s their definition of fun?

Customer experience journey mapping as part of transforming public services in the UK

In 2005, the UK government set out on a journey to transform public services. As part of this journey, they focused on customer insight techniques such as customer experience journey mapping. This presentation includes some interesting maps based on government services such as applying for school meals, applying for an entry visa, and jury duty. These examples reveal feelings, call out touchpoints, and capture moments of truth. One of the examples also steps down to reveal underlying processes that support the experience.

Lego’s WOW map for an executive’s experience visiting LEGO

Lego uses tool called a ‘customer experience wheel’ to map an existing experience. “We understand what is and what is not important to the customer in that experience and then we design a ‘wow’ experience to improve it.”

Lego - Designing the Experience - Example WOW

  • This particular LEGO map is a service oriented map, visualizing a WOW experience for an executive visiting LEGO.
  • Unlike the Gamer example, this map does highlight moments of truth (defined as make or break moments).
  • This map also specifically highlights questions to think about and reveals requirements (in the form of information or data to help deliver the WOW experience).

customer experience journey map by desonance

  • I love this map by desonance, it packs a lot of information into a very visual, easy to scan format. I was struggling in my own maps in how to capture both activities within a phase along with the highs & lows and also making readable, and desonance has done this well.
  • Key points about the customer types (personas) includes circumstances, biggest pain, and expectations (could benefit from adding goals/motivations)
  • Experience triggers capture how people enter the journey
  • Each experience phase includes a visual flow of the activities and experience within that phase, marking pain points, opportunities, and touchpoints… I need to work on my sketching skills!
  • Specific touchpoint and interactions are detailed in a chart below the visual journey
  • Emotional journey of the highs and lows is very simple, marking failures and pleasure points (though not moments of truth)… a kind of executive summary of the journey
  • Points of pain and opportunties are marked using an icon in the experience phase diagram and then summarized in alongside the map

customer journey template by thoughtworks

  • Interesting, simple format, though I can’t quite figure out what the horizontal sections are for. Are they levels of emotion? Assume that the orange highlights for moments of truth.
  • Uses empathy map instead of persona which would be useful if doing a workshop and personas aren’t yet available
  • Motivations are clearly called out

Starbucks experience map by Little Springs Design

starbucks experience map

  • Useful mapping of the positive and negative emotions and sensory cues, they don’t try for a curving line like many other maps as each touchpoint has multiple sensory cues, some triggering positive and others triggering negative emotions
  • Interesting method of mapping the touchpoints against the phases, but not sure how well this would scale
  • References the persona, but the map itself doesn’t try and incorporate details about either the persona or call out opportunities and pain points
  • Map is focused around a specific purpose (work/drink coffee) vs what I would imagine are other like hang out with friends

customer journey canvas by This is Service Design Thinking

Customer Journey Canvas by This is Service Design Thinking

Customer Journey Canvas by This is Service Design Thinking

Customer Experience Waveline by Nathan Shedroff

consumer experience waveline journey map

  • In addition to the emotional and functional aspects that other types of maps capture, this one also includes identity and meaning. “The trick is that you map these forms of value first.”
  • I love the notion of capturing identity and meaning in a map as I too use the lens of story to both understand and design experiences. As identity and meaning are critical to behaviour, I plan on experimenting with this technique in my next mapping exercise.
  • Shedroff borrows the waveline technique from the narrative worlds of music composition and screenwriting. You can find the waveline template on the UXMatters review of the UX Strategies Summit. It’s also worth reviewing his 2015 UX Strategies workshop slides Redefining Value: Bridging the Innovation Culture Divide.

Mapping the customer experience

And here’s a presentation  I delivered that includes a couple of templates you can use to help structure your thinking as you start visualizing your customer’s journey.

I don’t think there’s one right way to map the customer experience. And you don’t have to be an artist. I’ll use Excel to capture details and stories then create a simplified view using PowerPoint.

All you need is empathy and the ability to feel the journey from the customer’s perspective.

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    About Joyce Hostyn

    21 Responses to “Visualizing the customer experience using customer experience journey maps”

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    1. Jim Rieder says:

      Great post. Really something all product teams should be keeping an eye on as they develop new tools for users.

    2. Matt Beran says:

      Very cool, I like how he’s playing a game cube lol…

    3. rod butcher says:

      like it! We’re getting to grips with all this too. What we learn is that the devil is in the detail, you DO need a visualisation too, to make it come to life – still grappling with that – and we also have found that walking in shoes and taking photos/ groups with you, is very effective too.

    4. Joyce Hostyn says:

      Walking in shoes is a great technique for building up the understanding & emotions that are visualized through the map. The photos can also provide visual reinforcement & be a springboard for a story that illustrates a particular moment of truth or good or bad experience.

    5. Mimi says:

      Very Informative, especially the Lego Wheel and its break point moment. I love it. Is it too much to ask for templates?

    6. Joyce Hostyn says:

      Hi Mimi,I agree concept of break points is critical. What might make the difference between them abandoning the journey or moving to the next stage? Where are the greatest moments of anxiety? The ones fraught with the most risk? I talk about these as dragon gaps in this post:
      Not every interaction is a moment of truth
      I included a version of a template I use in this presentation I posted to slideshare:
      Writing great customer experiences: customer experience journey maps


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    4. Quora says:

      What are the best resources for customer journey mapping?…

      Another great resource that does a good job of embedding some awesome visuals examples of customer journeys is

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    11. Quora says:

      What are good examples for (product) experience maps?…

      Here are some links I often reference when I’m working on an experience map (customer journey map): One of the best articles out there on the topic. A couple of visual examples as well…

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