Journey Map

What is a journey map?

A journey map is a visual representation of a user’s steps in accomplishing a goal. Journey maps show the user’s context and help us explore questions that arise during research and conceptual design. A journey map can be used at any stage of the project when you need more information about the user’s experience and behavior.

How to create a journey map:

Establish a goal and have a clear understanding of the problem you are trying to solve. Once the goal is defined, choose the persona(s) that will be taking the journey. It is important to keep in mind that maps will be different each time you create one as the outcome is dependent on the particular scenario you are mapping. Gather relevant research such as interviews, analytics, and any other pertinent research to prepare for the journey map. The more insights you have the better your map will be.

The initial map is created in a collaborative session using a whiteboard and sticky notes. The following elements should almost always be present in the map: the persona, timeline, emotions, touchpoints, pain points — again, it depends on the scenario you are mapping. If you need to do this work remotely, we recommend using a tool like RealtimeBoard.

As a team, create a timeline with touchpoints (interactions with the organization) for the scenario with the steps the user needs to take to complete the goal. Document pain points, emotions, thoughts, feelings, etc. of the user on sticky notes and place them appropriately in the timeline. Be sure to denote good touchpoints as well as bad touchpoints. When the whiteboard exercise is done, document it with pictures then convert the map into a deliverable that can be easily understood and shared.


Creating a journey map requires a solid understanding of the various touch points an organization has with a user. In addition, the best journey maps are extremely detailed and often provide a visual representation of the journey along with descriptions of the specific activities a user completes.


A detailed and complete journey map can be one of the most powerful tools for understanding a user’s journey.


Effective mapping requires a full understanding of the user’s journey as well as the ability to extrapolate thoughts and feelings based on individual tasks. Creating the final deliverable can be greatly assisted by design software that usually has a bit of a learning curve.