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Journey



Journey maps are a common UX tool. They come in all shapes, sizes, and formats. Depending on the context, they can be used in a variety of ways. This article covers the basics: what a journey map is (and is not), related terminology, common variations, and how we can use journey maps.




Journey



In its most basic form, journey mapping starts by compiling a series of user actions into a timeline. Next, the timeline is fleshed out with user thoughts and emotions in order to create a narrative. This narrative is condensed and polished, ultimately leading to a visualization.


Most journey maps follow a similar format: at the top, a specific user, a specific scenario, and corresponding expectations or goals in the middle, high-level phases that are comprised of user actions, thoughts, and emotions; at the bottom, the takeaways: opportunities, insights, and internal ownership.


For example, imagine the world before the ridesharing market existed (Uber, Lyft, Bird, or Limebike, to name a few). If we were to create an experience map of how a person gets from one place to another, the map would likely include walking, biking, driving, riding with a friend, public transportation, or calling a taxi. Using that experience map we could then isolate pain points: unknown fares, bad weather, unpredictable timing, paying in cash, and so on. Using these pain points, we would then create a future journey map for specific product: how does a particular type of user call a car using the Lyft app?


If journey maps are the children to experience maps, then service blueprints are the grandchildren. They visualize the relationships between different service components (such as people or processes) at various touchpoints in a specific customer journey.


For the Lyft scenario above, we would take the journey map and expand it with what Lyft does internally to support that customer journey. The blueprint could include matching the user to a driver, contacting the driver, calculating fares, and so on.


While, at a glance, a user story map may look like a journey map, journey maps are meant for discovery and understanding (think big picture), while user story maps are for planning and implementation (think little picture).


Although a journey map and user story map may contain some of the same pieces, they are used at different points of the process. For example, imagine our journey map for Lyft indicated that a pain point appeared when the user was in a large group. To address it, the team may introduce a multicar-call option. We could create a user story map to break this feature (multicar call) into smaller pieces, so a product-development team could plan release cycles and corresponding tasks.


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In the fall of 2011, a radio-collared Oregon wolf with the designation OR-7 from the Imnaha Pack in northeast Oregon made history. After an epic journey across the state, the two-year old male became the first confirmed wolf west of the Cascades since the last wolf bounty had been collected in 1947.


After spending time in the Soda Mountain Wilderness, Klamath Basin and Sky Lakes Wilderness south of Crater Lake, OR-7 continued his journey south and became the first wolf confirmed in California in nearly a century. Part of what made OR-7's trek across the state possible were the Wilderness and roadless areas he traveled through, demonstrating the value and worth of large roadless areas to facilitate wildlife corridors (learn more about roadless areas below).