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:
- 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.
- 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.
- Creating a visual representation of the service and how it is experienced based on the service map and research findings.