User journey – what is that?

If you want to develop or optimize a product or a service, the user journey can deliver helpful input. 
With the help of user journey research, we show how a user may want to use a particular product and compare this to how he actually uses it. We combine observations of handling the product with data collection in surveys. Potential users are asked about acceptance and expectations of the product or service. Also, we observe which emotions are connected to the experience.
User journeys show all the steps a product user goes through to achieve a particular goal. The path that the user takes is defined on the basis of his decision points. Each new decision at such points takes the user from one step to the next. 
To make the user journeys tangible, they are displayed in user journey maps. Here, the entire path to the decision including all steps and experiences is shown in detail.

What benefits do user journeys have?

  1. Visualizing user requirements
    Whenever a new product is designed, the first step is always to define the requirements of the product. And this is precisely where user journeys come into play. They help you to describe the user’s path in order to achieve a specific goal with the product. Once all the steps have been described, you can then define an “ideal” trip or journey that does not include any negative emotions or frustrations. 
    Based on this ideal journey, we can deduce what you should achieve in the project when designing the product. 
  2. Providing information in the design process
    We use the user journey at a later stage in product development when it comes to working out or improving various levels of functionality. This makes it easier to understand key features of the products. In addition, there is a clearer picture of what the product requires to meet the functionality. 
    In practice, taking a closer look at the user journey can help to a large extent to define certain elements of a user interface and subsequently to work out how these should be called. 
    If the products already exist, then processes may be optimized directly by identifying points of frustration through user journeys. If these are made tangible, you can develop improvements and strategies for solutions in the following step. 

User journey maps – what should they include?

A user journey is presented over a series of steps. And the number of steps the user needs varies depending on the case. Different factors are important for each step, for example:

  • Context: Where are our users located, in what type of environment are they, what are their surroundings like? Are there also any distracting factors?
  • Progress: How can the users reach the next step? What factors or strategies can guarantee this? 
  • Functionality: What expectations do users have in terms of the features? Can the preferences regarding functionality be satisfied sufficiently? 
  • Emotion: How do the users feel? What emotions do they have regarding the various steps? Are they excited or bored, or is the current result satisfying or rather frustrating for them, ...? 

All of these reflections on the various factors are then presented in the user journey. To ensure as much information as possible is included, the user journey shows both the weaknesses that should be rectified as well as the specific benefits that the users experience.