A user journey shows step-by-step how your users will reach their goals in your software.
But here’s the really important part:
User journeys are not just for designers:
They are for everyone.
Creating and sharing user journeys ensures that everyone is on the same page from the start. And when everyone has the same mindset, the whole process becomes a lot smoother, meaning you can get to a workable app faster.
Below we walk through what a user journey is and how they will turbocharge your project’s success. In this article we cover:
- What is a user journey?
- How user journeys set up your project for success
- How we use user journeys at Arcade
What is a User Journey?
A user journey shows how people will move inside your product to reach their goals. Mapping the journey is about working out what users will do, in what order and for what purpose.
User journeys shouldn’t be confused with customer journeys, which identify the steps before and after using your product.
Creating the user journey is one of the most interesting and integral parts of the whole design process. Before we start drawing wireframes, we identify the steps people go through to meet their goals – whether that’s signing up, browsing products, finding a store location, uploading photos, and more.
Then, we can determine the path through a product’s use and what experiences it needs to provide.
What Does A User Journey Look Like?
It depends on your product. At its simplest, a user journey is presented as a series of user steps and actions following a basic skeleton.
Or, they can be more complex with interconnected experiences for different scenarios.
Here’s what one of our user journeys looks like:
Recap: A user journey should show the in-app pathways to leading to the most important goals for your users.
Why Is User Journey Mapping Important?
Mapping user journeys saves time, turbocharges the development process and ensures the end product meets your users’ needs.
It gets everyone on the same page.
This is the big thing about user journeys that many app development teams don’t fully appreciate. This deliverable is not just for designers look at; a user journey is created to be shared.
We use user journey maps as a deliverable to ensure everyone is on the same page right from the start. Design, Engineering and Product leadership roles – anyone can look at the user journey, contribute ideas, and dispute it.
Communicating design decisions is easier.
One of the biggest challenges in any project is communication. How does a designer explain changes to the client in a way that makes sense? How can the client then sell that decision to their stakeholders, who aren’t hands-on in the project?
The user journey provides an easy way to clearly explain decisions around the functionalities of the app and win people over. It’s about making sure people understand the “why” behind the design so the whole team can move forward confidently.
Everyone is focused on the user.
If you don’t know who you are solving for, what motivates and inhibits them, and what they really want from your product, your whole team is operating in the dark. Designs will be created based on assumptions, not fact, and you’ll wind up with something that doesn’t meet the brief.
The process of user journey mapping helps everyone relate to your users’ experiences. You know why your users are there in the first place, and what they want to get out of it.
This builds the foundations for an incredible UX, as every functionality is considered and designed based on the users’ needs from the start.
Rather than creating user journeys just for the designers, we use them as an early tool for collaboration.
Because the act of creating a user journey (not the deliverable itself) is the most valuable part of the process.
We make user journeys through workshops. By involving the whole team – designers, developers and product owners – we can make sure we’re on the best path from the start.
We know from experience that this is the fastest way to get to workable prototypes and apps.
User Journeys are not just another deliverable to tick off the list during the process. They improve the whole design process, streamlining communication and collaboration, so we get you to the solution your users need.