• Design

What are User Journeys and Why are they Important to your Website?

Written by Alex Curtis

‘How will our products and services be used?’

If it’s not a question you’re asking yourself and your colleagues, it should be.

The answers can be broad and can open up challenging discussions in your business, but these can often lead to valuable product learning.

In the context of web design, mapping user journeys provide invaluable insights in bridging the gap between a site visitor and their goals.

Optimising the touchpoints of each journey is a crucial aspect in consolidating the ultimate user experience.

planning with sticky notes on a whiteboard

So, what does it mean?

Simply put; a user journey is a step by step process a web visitor takes to reach their desired goal. For example, from browsing the ‘about us’ page, a user might visit the ‘products’ page and eventually make a purchase. Each of these segments should be collected and visually mapped to see the current flow of user interactions.

Once the most frequent permutations of these have been collected, a designer can assess issues or gaps that can be redesigned and optimised, thereby allowing user goals to be reached quicker and more efficiently.

How are user journeys mapped?

The first aspect to consider is pinning down the kind of user personas attracted to your website. Conduct user interviews or surveys to collect this data.

You then need to segment each user profile along with the type of goal they want to achieve. Understand the user motivations and expectations e.g. completing an online order in under 2 minutes.

To further break down the goals, create a list of touchpoints (which are the user’s actions with the product/service) to allow for refined optimisations.

Traditionally, a user journey map can be illustrated using a flow diagram depicting each action and decision points for every page. This can help you understand whether or not additional elements are needed (e.g. CTAs or links) to smoothen the experience.

Benefits of Effective Use Journeys

User journey maps are a critical component of user research and discovery. When looking to improve your digital presence or e-commerce success, improving customer service is simply not enough. Here are 3 key advantages of user journey mapping:

  • Identify customer pain points and communication gaps. For instance, you may find that there are too many steps in your purchasing process and reducing them may increase your conversion rates.
  • Reduce cost on customer service by allowing users to find all the necessary information required.
  • Increase customer engagement as you gain a better understanding of their feelings toward particular areas. You can have visitors who still make a purchase but may feel negative towards the sales process thereby writing a bad review.

 

It is important to consider that the objective in mapping journeys is to paint a comprehensive picture. Get your team involved to assess and understand gaps from a user’s points of view. Then, use this data to build out your product or service.