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Designing experience maps

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The Customer Journey Map is used to present all the user's experiences with a given brand, so it shows their goals, actions and feelings not only at the moments of contact with the brand, but also before and after a given interaction. This means that the process is studied from the moment, for example, when it crosses his mind to buy a red shirt, although he does not yet know what brand, until the moment when the customer already owns a specific shirt and has managed to tell his friends about it, show off on Social Media and use help with returning the goods and exchanging for a smaller size.

Experience maps are usually implemented at the user and business level. The first describes the needs and problems of customers, and the second describes how the brand can respond and respond to these needs and problems, such as which elements of the designed website will be helpful.

When is the experience map most useful?

  1. After conducting a cycle of studies, when you want to present their results in a simple and readable form.
  2. When you want to better understand customer behavior, especially if the issue is related to a new industry.
  3. When verifying that the solution available to users meets their expectations.
  4. When analyzing specific points of contact of the user with the brand, e.g. website, hotline, application.

How is the experience map created?

  1. The first step is to collect the data. These can be obtained by conducting usability studies, questionnaire studies or contextual research.
  2. The data must be analyzed, which must take into account each issue separately, for example by creating collections of user comments on specific elements. Of course, it must be borne in mind that a set of data will also be created that will refer to the entire process under study.
  3. When you already have grouped data, write next to these groups how a given user problem is solved by the current tool and evaluate these solutions. At this point, you also need to write down the business goals that customers should pursue.

Keep in mind that the experience map is not created once and for all — it can change every time you make changes to the process.

Design and analysis of user paths

The path of the user is called the path that he travels to achieve his goal, i.e., for example, order a subscription to a magazine or subscribe to a newsletter.

Their creation is particularly useful when designing new pages or introducing major changes (e.g. a new offer) and in order to check what is caused by a possible decrease, for example, conversion or customer satisfaction.

Checking the user path of an existing page can be done in three ways. The first is usability research — during meetings with users, the specialist asks such questions in order to see how users cope with the implementation of specific goals. The second way is through analysis, thanks to which the specialist is able to come into possession of quantitative data that represent the way users move around the site. The last way to learn about the path is an expert assessment, during which the specialist takes on the role of the user and himself goes through the individual elements of the site.

User paths are represented by diagrams or applied to an existing sitemap. To create this type of diagram, you must first write down all the names of the screens that the user will see, and then arrange them in order. However, it is important to remember that a path does not always have to be a line that looks like this — it must include longer and shorter variants and “cycles”, that is, certain repetitive user actions (e.g. product filtering). Once this type of diagram is created, you should consider whether there is a possibility to improve the user's path, such as: are all screens necessary, is there a possibility of shortening the path, or does the user have enough information to walk the path without wandering?

When creating a map of experiences, all available points of contact of the user with a given brand are analyzed. It is an extremely valuable tool for a better diagnosis of the reception of a specific proposal, solution.

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