UX Research & User Testing

Empathy & Customer Journey Mapping

Paul Boag

Paul Boag

UX Research & User Testing

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The "Empathy & Customer Journey Mapping" Lesson is part of the full, UX Research & User Testing course featured in this preview video. Here's what you'd learn in this lesson:

Paul explains the concept of empathy mapping and customer journey mapping. He describes how empathy maps are similar to personas but provide a different perspective on user experience. He also discusses the benefits of journey mapping, such as providing context, identifying failings, and planning projects. He also provides examples and tips for conducting workshops and creating journey maps. he acknowledges that journey mapping can be time-consuming and may not always be feasible, so they suggest alternative approaches like empathy mapping or upfront testing.


Transcript from the "Empathy & Customer Journey Mapping" Lesson

>> Afterwards, once I've got survey results, once I've got the interviews or if I've done one or the other, or I've done a little bit of both or just gathered consolidated information. Basically anything that I've got, whatever I've got, I tend to turn into an empathy map. So an empathy map is a bit like, very much like a persona, I call it an empathy map so that stakeholders don't go.

Well, our marketing department did a persona recently, we don't need to do that now and of course their persona doesn't give me anything I want. So I just gave it a different name and suddenly everybody went, all right, let's do that then, right? So he's a personian puppetry picture of them in the middle you put their made-up name on it, and then you just kinda list.

What questions and tasks people have, what pain points they were experiencing, what their goals were, what kind of journey they were having overall. What was influencing them in their behavior and what feelings they had. So it's a kind of summary of all those things we talked about earlier or just put into a persona.

And I kind of use those for my reference but also shoved them into presentations and I referenced them as much as I can. I've been into offices before at night and taken down all the fun photographs corporate offices have important people shaking hands. And big expensive buildings that they have and I put up personas instead, which always gets me into trouble.

But it's a way of raising the attention about user experience and getting people talking about it, but I get in trouble for that so properly don't do that. So oftentimes an empathy map is, I create a few of them for the different segments. If I've got more time, if I'm feeling super ambitious because I've managed to get a little bit of time, sometimes I'll do journey mapping, right?

So journey mapping is a bit like a persona, it kinda shows you those persona elements over time, if that makes sense, right? So this can be really useful for understanding, how your project fits into other things or the steps that people will go through during your your project.

This is a bit more of a luxury if I'm being honest, if you already got your foot in the door, maybe the last project you did personas. This one next time you might wanna do journey maps, so what is a journey map? Well, basically a lot of people misuse and misunderstand journey maps cuz really it's only a story, right?

Everybody starts thinking about journey maps is we're gonna map the customer journey. Now you know, because every customer has a different journey, everybody is different kind of doesn't work like that. But what we can do is we can tell a story of a hypothetical customer going through hypothetical journey using our app, right?

It's not gonna be 100% accurate, but it will at least give us a sense of how things are working, so it basically uses an archetypal user, right? So in the same way as a persona does, because every user experience is obviously unique, but we're mapping being a typical archetypal user.

And it's typically a very oversimplified journey cuz people we're very haphazard in the way we work, so for example, let's say typical e-commerce journey, right? A kind of a typical e-commerce journey from a customer journey map will say, you discover a need and then you research the options.

And then you shortlist the options and you buy your option thing and you get it delivered, right? In truth, most journeys are much more complicated than that, you recognize a need, you don't do anything about it for six months because you've got other things going on. And then you research some options and you couldn't find one quickly, so you kind of give up and forget about it.

Then later on you remember the need again and then you do some research again and maybe shortlist and your bookmarket to come back to it later but never quite get round to it. So you're kind of pinging all over the journey, and there's no way you could show that realistically in a journey map.

So instead, we do this simplified version and then finally you slot into that some insights into the user and the journey that they have and the steps that they go through. So you can see each of the steps of an experience someone has gone through and the different things they're experiencing along the way.

And that helps you to understand where your project fits into it, what the project has got to deliver, etc. So let's give you a real example, you remember earlier on I said, don't worry I'm not expecting you to be able to read all this. Earlier on I said I worked with a mental health charity that's a suicide hotline, this is the customer journey actually produced for that.

So basically, you can see along the top the various steps in the journey. So you have a life event something horrible happens in your life, maybe you lose a job, a loved one dies or whatever. Then you have a realisation you're not coping in that situation that you're struggling and fInding life difficult.

You then seek help, typically maybe with friends and family or healthcare professional. Then the point comes where you make contact with this charity in this which was called the Samaritans, and you then receive help. And then hopefully after you've received help from this charity, you recover and you have a post-help experience.

So those are the kind of steps in the journey and then if you go down vertically, you've got different aspects that are relevant to that user journey. So obviously, how people are feeling is a huge part of it, so that's where you've got your emojis with the different emotions around them.

Then you've got the questions that a user is asking themselves, right? Or other people, then the actions that they're taking, now on this particular journey we decided to add weaknesses where we felt we the charity. We're letting the patient or I can't remember the proper term for it that's gone out of my head, the user down, right?

So it's a very useful tool in kind of understanding the entirety of the experience. Now, you might be thinking this all sounds quite like a luxury and more than I'll get to do on projects, but just to help you sell the idea if you wanna have a go at it.

The reasons that journey mapping is worth considering is cuz it provides context, mapping the journey provides you the context of the project you're working on. You can see what happens before the project deliverable and after the project deliverable. It's great for identifying failings and points of friction in a journey to help you understand where things have gone wrong.

So it's really worthwhile, so the front end masters is a great example of this, you could map from first discovering about front end masters all the way through to being a regular subscriber. There'll be different friction points along that journey from signing up and the sign-up process through to seeing which courses you've covered before, those are all potential friction points.

I'm sure they're all perfect and they don't exist, but that's the kind of thing that a journey mapping would uncover. They're great for planning projects, so, you can actually look at a customer journey map and go well, we're really rubbish at that stage. We need something to address that stage of the journey there needs to be a project created.

So it's a great way of kind of defining future projects, and they're really good for getting everybody aligned and understanding what the journey is and what the experience is like. So they're a really good tool if you can find time to do them, in terms of how you do them, let's talk about the most stripped down version of it, right?

If you wanna have a go at this but you don't wanna spend too much time on it, you can do a workshop, right? It works so much better if you can do it in-person workshop, I recognize that's a bit tricky. To map a journey, one journey is gonna take you about three hours, so it's a half day workshop basically, if you can manage that then it's great.

Often I kind of position, it as a kind of alternative to a kick off meeting or an alternative to a meeting that you're already gonna have if that makes sense. So if you're gonna talk about the scope of the project for example, then you might be better off mapping the customer journey than making up a scope, anyway, how to run that workshop?

First of all you wanna who's in the room is really worthwhile, there are some people that are more valuable to the process than others. So, I'll show you the thick people that most want all the way through to people that are your backups if you can't get the people you most want, does that make sense?

So sometimes you'll struggle to get the ideal people in the room so you can kind of compromise down, so the best person to have in the room is end users, right? It can't do better than that, it's their journey, let's get them in the room doing a customer journey math, but that can be a bit tricky to find those people and get them.

So if you can't get them, get some customer facing staff, people who do customer support, that kinda stuff, right? If you can't get them, then try and get some people that have got data on user behavior and know a little bit about user behavior. If all else fails, then try and get the most senior people you can in the room, right?

And that's because those people although they probably don't know a lot about the user, by getting them thinking about the user. Even the act of thinking about the user will improve the quality of the product [LAUGH] so oftentimes you end up with a bit of a mix of all of those.

You might be able to get one end user that you could persuade to come in for it. And you might get one executive sponsor and then the rest is people in between, do what you can something is better than nothing, right? You're so gonna be bored of that by the end of this, then you've got to decide on the scope, right?

There are kind of two ways of doing customer journey mapping, the macro and the micro. What it basically comes down to is if you're gonna visualize the user journey, I mean, most user journeys consist of like dozens of steps, right? And you can't put all of that in a pretty info graphic, right?

You kinda got a narrow down and you can't really do a lot more than kind of five steps, right? If you start having 10 steps, it's gonna be a really complicated diagram that no one's gonna understand and no one's gonna look at and it's gonna be valueless, right?

So you gotta kind of go, well, I can only have five steps, so what are my choices here? I can either look very broad high level at the entire journey or I can focus in just a part of the journey that's related to this particular project, does that make sense?

So, if you're say for example doing a landing page, right? If you do the customer journey mapping for just the landing page project, you would look at what happened before the landing page project. Couple of steps on the landing page and then step after, if that makes sense, right?

Or you could look at the entire customer buying journey from end to end, but at a very high level. So the very high level stuff works really well for planning out projects and finding weaknesses in the overall experience. The drilled in level is great for individual projects, so just pick your poison basically depending on the context.

A customer journey map basically comes down to an Excel spreadsheet, which is deeply depressing. But you don't present it like that, but that's what it is under the hood, right? So it's a series of steps and then information you wanna know on each step, so your stages are the different parts of the journey, right?

So discovering a need, researching your options, making a purchase, getting it delivered post-sales would be a typical e-commerce one, right? Your ones will be totally different, but you pick a series of steps. So you've got to decide on those, then what you've got to decide on is what you wanna know about the user for each of those steps, right?

So typically you might wanna know things like what tasks are they trying to complete? What questions do they have, what touch points do they encounter, how are they feeling? What's influencing them and maybe where things are going wrong, what weaknesses, right? Just to clarify something cuz it always causes confusions, touch points refers to any form of interaction between the user and the organization.

So at different points in the journey there'll be different touch points, so a touch point might be a website, an app, social, email, in-store, etc. So some of the touch points will be offline, some will be online, some will be within your app that you're designing, others won't be, etc.

So once you've kind of mapped out the kind of rough structure of your journey map. What you wanna know, what steps to include in it, then really for each of the those cells, right? So like discovery tasks, you're basically brainstorming ideas of all the tasks somebody might wanna complete when they're in the discovery stage, right?

Which probably wouldn't be many because you've only just discovered a need so you're not doing a huge amount, yeah, right? But you might have some initial questions like, can I make do with what I've already got, could I get what I've got repaired rather than buy a new one, right?

So there are potential questions that someone might have, and their touch points probably aren't gonna have any yet because they haven't actually interacted with the company yet. So you get the idea, so you kind of brainstorm a whole load of things for each of those steps, yeah, sorry, someone's got a question.

>> I do.
>> [LAUGH]
>> So if the whole thing here is it's like a in-person workshop where you're talking him through the user journey, right? So how do you pitch people to show up to this?
>> That's actually that's a very fair question, part of the time I piggyback on an existing meeting, as I was saying earlier.

And I'll say something like, well, instead of it's just all having a meeting where we sit around and arguably about this. I have this exercise called a customer journey mapping that maybe we could run through that together instead and I talk about the advantages of customer journey mapping.

So oftentimes I'll piggyback on something that's existing, if I can't swing that, then I will invite people and I will say, I often paint it as. This meeting will help define the functions of the new whatever it is we're building. And this is your opportunity to express what you think that functionality should be cuz that's always a killer, everybody wants their say.

So that often makes them turn up, other times you can't make it happen and it is possible to do this online. And I use a slightly different methodology to do this online, which I couldn't fit into this workshop because otherwise it'd go on forever. But by all means, drop me an email to Paul@bowagwill.com and I'll give you a presentation to that or something.

So you can do it online, it's a bit laborious and failing all that, I give up on the idea, right? I'm pragmatic I go, okay, so customer journey mapping is not gonna work, let's do some empathy maps instead, right? Or other times I might go well, I really need a customer journey map which is quite unusual, they're a bit of a luxury.

And I'll go, all right, I'll have a crack at it and I'll send that around to people and see what reaction I get. Cuz often people are happy to criticize but they're not so easy to get them to turn up to contribute, right? So if you send them something, suddenly everybody becomes opinionated about it.

And I have used that to actually trigger then having a follow-up meeting because I've got so much feedback. I've gone well, we really need to meeting about this and that makes the meeting happen [LAUGH] so it's a bit convoluted. But that's generally my approach, but it's not the end of the world if you can't do it be pragmatic, something's better than nothing, all right, cool.

So as you're going through this, you're gonna generate way more ideas than you could ever fit on an infographic, right? It's not unusual sometimes to come up with 30, 40 questions just on one step of the journey, right? You can't show all of those on an infographic, right?

So what you then need to do is I just do dot voting, I don't know whether you ever come across dot voting, but basically I say you got three votes. You can either put all three votes on one question that you think is a super important question, or you can spread them out.

And so everybody votes on which questions come out the most and then I take the first half a dozen or however many I think I can fit on the infographic. Because those are the top questions that we wanna focus everybody on anyway, and I'll come more onto that idea of top questions and top tasks later.

So yeah, that's what I do with customer journey mapping, it can be very useful sometimes, but it is a little bit of a luxury, it's a little bit time-consuming and difficult to set up. So it's one of the ones that I tend to drop sooner rather than later if it's not working out, I'd prefer if I can to do a little bit of upfront testing

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