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Tools: Customer journey mapping

user journey map squareWhat?

User Journey Mapping (also called customer journey mapping) is a tool used to track the pathways of individuals through a service. It is a visual representation that shows the different interactions users or customers have with a service and allows us to look at a particular service in detail – for example discharge of older people from hospital or employment support services for young people. It can also be used aspirationally to plan how a service will function.


User journey mapping can be used to develop ideas for improving services in specific ways as it:

  • shows services from the user’s point of view based on their actual experiences
  • identifies what works well within services
  • highlights weaknesses and inefficiencies to show what parts might need improving or where new things can be added (often resulting from a siloed way of working)
  • helps to create empathy with different types of users, helping people who aren’t in that situation themselves to better understand the impact of their services on users
  • helps staff to think about users in a more holistic way, rather than simply their interactions with an individual service


A User Journey Map is developed using research to plot experiences against the different aspects of a service.

The process generally involves:

  1. Mapping as many elements of a service as possible, including types of support provided, how contact is made at various points, how users ‘leave’ the service, and so on, to understand the journey a user takes through the service as a whole. This could involve discrete elements provided by other agencies.
  2. Work with users to understand their experiences. Interviews, ethnographies, focus groups, and other forms of research can help to understand what the most important elements of a service are, how users feel about a service and how they are affected by it.
  3. Creating a visual representation of the service and how it is experienced based on the service map and research findings.

User Journey Map

Filed under: TOOLS

About the Author

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I am an Associate at the Young Foundation working on the Building Local Activism programme funded through the Big Lottery Fund's People Powered Change initiative.

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