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Plotting an Accurate and Impactful User Journey

The best type of data to feed into a journey map is data that’s collected as key events are happening. A “moments-based” study design can capture information in-context, including details that may be lost to participants upon later reflection.

Developing a research protocol that clearly asks users to document important moments in the journey process can provide more dynamic data than static surveys or more reflective IDIs. While those methods can help to clarify a journey, a moments-based activity can quickly build out a journey’s bones.

It’s important to clearly understand which moments matter and why. It’s crucial to be able to explain this to participants as well so they know when to log an entry. User journey’s aren’t always as clear cut in the moment as they may seem from a distance.

dscout gives the researcher the opportunity to reach the user where they’re at during the journey in question. Our sample study design utilizes this platform, but can be applied to however you collect longitudinal data.

A sample study design:

Recruit people who are currently (or soon to be) actively in the midst of the journey you’re interested in.

For each step you’ll likely want to be able to speak to a variety of factors.

Journey Map checklist:

  • Behaviors
  • Motivations
  • Tools
  • Emotions
  • Pain Points
  • Opportunities

Part 1: Getting to know you

Get to know the participant and the specific journey they’re embarking on. What are they about to try to do or purchase? Why do they want to do it? What is important to them in the process?

Example questions:
What’s most important to you about this purchase/journey? (E.g. price, time, convenience, quality, etc.)
What do you need to know or have to make this journey successful?
Do you take this journey regularly? How often does it come up?
How long does it take you when it comes up?
How do you feel about taking this kind of journey?

Part 2: Make me a map

Get the participants to jot their own ideas on paper about this type of activity or journey. Ask them to ideate for themselves what they think the normal way to complete this journey is, if it’s something they can easily think about. Have them make you an artifact!

(A note that this ask works great with journeys that are more concrete—like a shopping or workflow journey. Something more abstract like a “grief journey” might be more difficult).

Example questions for asynchronous/unmoderated research:
Draw a map of this process as you experience it.
Make us a video explaining the map.
Look at your map and identify some “highlight” and “lowlight” experiences. Why are they the best and worst parts?

In cases where the journey is more complex, you can move into doing this as a guided activity through Live mission (or other tool for moderated interviews), using shared access to an online whiteboard.

Part 3(+): Moments

Ask participants to show you moments related to this journey. You could do one really wide-spanning open part of a mission/study.

Or, if you’re sure that you want to see certain, predetermined steps in the journey, you could make multiple parts and run them parallel (e.g. allow participants to simultaneously complete ‘research moments’, ‘sharing moments’, and ‘shopping moments’). What’s important is getting in-the-moment data on participant’s actions and emotions.

Example questions:
Log every time you do [task related to journey].
What are you doing right now?
How does it impact the larger journey you’re on?
What tools are you using, and how are they helping you?
How are your tools falling short? What would you change about them to help you more?
What did you need to start this step? What are you getting out of it?
How are you feeling about this step? Why?
Describe this step in the process in 3 words.
Why is it important to do this? What would happen if you did not?

Part 4: Wishes

If participants could improve this journey, what would they change? Solicit participant feedback on how they would improve the processes at hand. This could be a concrete reflection on a finished journey that they just completed, or a broader reflection on this kind of journey or activity more abstractly.

Example questions:
What’s one thing you would change about this process/tool/journey/etc?
How would the change help you?
What tool comes close to helping you with this? How is it falling short?
Reflect on the moments you just shared with us. Look at the initial journey you drew for us in Part 1. Now, draw a new and improved version of this journey. What would you change?

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