Understanding your end user - their emotions and attitudes, their goals and motivations - can be a marketing challenge for even the most defined brands and organizations. You may think you know what your customer wants from your website and how they plan to get it. However, it is often much more complicated than you realize. Companies tend to assume they know their audience inside and out. But even if you know who your audience is, do you know how they think? This is where user journey mapping comes in handy.
A user journey can be defined as a visualization of a customer's interactions with your product. User journey mapping "creates a timeline of all touch points between a customer and your organization" (AppcuesBlog). In other words, this "map" details how your customer comes to learn of your product, what steps they take to become familiar, how they get to a point of purchase, and how they feel throughout the journey.
User journey mapping is important because it offers valuable insight into how your customers experience your brand and product. Through user journey mapping, you and your web designers can create a sophisticated UI/UX (user interface / user experience) platform that increases leads, sales, and brand loyalty.
How to Create a User Journey Map
1. Develop User Personas
The first step to user journey mapping is identifying your key audiences and developing their personas. This includes information like:
- Demographics: Age, gender, location.
- Motivations: What emotions are they feeling? What motivates them to take action?
- Channels: Where do they spend their time?
A lot of this information is based on hypotheses your team has put together over time. It is important to follow the additional steps in user journey mapping in order to validate your hypotheses.
2. Conduct Qualitative Research
Qualitative research is a vital piece of your user journey mapping process. Through qualitative research, your team can explore the user personas you've assembled, solidify the hypotheses you've created, and establish an initial timeline. We recommend a combination of the following research approaches:
- Field Studies
A field study is the collection of raw data that involves observation. Field studies for UI/UX user journey mapping often incorporate eye-tracking technology, asking a user to follow simple directions on a website, and web page heat mapping.
- Customer Interviews
One-on-one customer interviews allow researchers to explore emotions and motivations behind certain actions. Coupling field studies with customer interviews is a great way to see what a customer instinctually does AND why.
- Competitive Analysis
It never hurts to see what the competition is doing. Beyond just analyzing the structure of a competitor's website, you can utilize a testing platform to record your customers using your competitors' sites and ask for their feedback.
3. Conduct Quantitative Research
Quantitative research complements qualitative research to provide a complete picture of your user. Sending out surveys to quantify a customer's feedback can serve as a great follow-up to any of the qualitative methods mentioned above. In addition, it is helpful to review your digital analytics to see what real data reveals. Google Analytics has robust reporting on page views, exit rates, top web pages, and more. Google Tag Manager will allow you to track specific actions (like button clicks and page scrolls) to see how a particular page is performing in detail. We strongly recommend incorporating quantitative data into your overall strategy.
4. Map It Out
Once you have your research in place, you are ready to map out the journey for each of your user personas. The timeline you develop could include important touch points, pain points, and benchmark actions. For a more comprehensive user journey map, you will want to analyze cross-channel actions and emotions that occur along the way.
All of this market research will help you to better understand your end user and how they interact with your brand. We strongly encourage you to use this information to inspire your website's UI/UX, tracking and analytics, and overall marketing. If you need assistance with any of these areas, contact the experts at Informatics Inc.