Ensuring your website meets the needs of its users has never been so important. A recent study by HubSpot revealed "88% of users are less likely to a website that has bad UX". Thankfully, we can use UX tools like user journey maps to gain a better understanding of what those needs are.

But what is a user journey map and how can we use them to improve our website?

What is a user journey map?

User journey maps are the paths taken by users to reach their goal when using a website. Shown in the form of a map or flow diagram, they illustrate every step or action along the journey. Even though they come in a variety of forms, user journey maps generally consist of 3 important elements

  • User profile
  • User actions including thoughts and emotions
  • Takeaways, opportunities and insights

But before you go ahead and create a user journey map, you will need to understand your audience. Start with conducting user profiling and creating persona workshops to gain invaluable insights about your users. This data will form the foundation of your maps, if your research is poor or unreliable to begin with, your maps will be inaccurate.

Along with highlighting any pain points its also important to include any areas of success too.

What are the benefits of user journey maps?

Here are 5 benefits for creating user journey maps.

01. Shared vision

Because user journey maps analyse the whole user journey, they require input from all areas of the business. Collaboration between departments ensures a shared vision is agreed and a wider range of audience is considered. They also help identify any areas of disconnect which can be latter resolved to improve the user experience.

02. Make better decisions

User journey maps are shared documents that can be referenced by the whole team. They should form the basis of any future "website" decisions. Because all members of the business have access to the maps, your decisions are going to be more considered and thoughtful.

03. Create empathy

When user journeys are mapped out, website designers are able to see the experience in the eye's of the user. They begin to have empathy for their struggles and start to remove any pain points from the journey.

04. Identify opportunities and pain points

One of the main reasons for mapping out user journeys is to identify any missed opportunities or pain points in the experience. Any missed opportunities can be quickly acted upon to enhance the experience further and provide additional value to the website. Any pain points, moments of frustration and annoyance, should be removed to make the experience more enjoyable.

05. Increase in profits

Users are most happy when they are able to reach their goals. When they have a positive experience they are more open to returning to a website. By using user journey map we are able to see any pain points in the journey. By removing these, we increase user satisfaction and the likelihood of them completing their task.

Key Takeaways

User journey maps can be time consuming and complex to create. They require quality research to be meaningful and there is no one-size fits all model to follow

However, their benefits can be vast. They are great for gaining a better understanding of your users and help identify any missed opportunities or pain points in the user journey. User journey maps force all areas of the business to come together and make them focus on delivering the user a better experience.