The 5 Steps to Customer Journey Mapping

One of the frustrations I often hear from professionals who undergo dirty marketing initiatives is that there’s no standard process that they know of to actually go through the process of journey mapping.

So what I want to introduce today is a high level five step process that you can use for your next current state documentation of a customer journey. The first phase I like to call aspiration and allies. This happens before you even begin journey mapping. You need to go through your organization and find a core group of cross disciplinary team members that are going to be your allies throughout the project. You also need to create some kind of aspiration for your map. In other words, what’s the point of view? Determine the scope of whose journey, your mapping and what journey you’re mapping. Secondly, start on the inside, do a bit of internal investigation. A lot of times organizations have a lot of knowledge sitting in various departments about the user that you can go through, investigate and start to piece together in order to formulate some kind of assumption.

The assumption formulation stage is best carried out as a workshop with your team of stakeholders that you’ve pulled together, where you piece together those bits of knowledge and start to create some kind of picture of the as a state that you can use to shape your external research. But don’t stop there. You have to go out and validate and make sure that you’re not making decisions based on assumptions that are inaccurate. So remember to go out and do external research and remember that journey. Mapping research is a qualitative process. You want to do anything that puts you in direct line of observation with users. So user interviews and contextual inquiries are great places to start from there, piece together your external research in order to validate and make sure that what you’ve put together in the assumption map is accurate and to fill in the gaps. And finally, the fun part, the mapping. But remember that this is still a collective initiative.

So bring together your team that you established at the beginning in order to do the final state mapping where you take what you’ve learned internally coupled with your external validation and create an accurate depiction of the current state journey. From there, you might decide that this is enough for you and your team and that the process of journey mapping has given you enough insights to move forward. Otherwise, if you’re working with a larger team or you’re working with a client, you might need to create some kind of polished visual or diagram to share with them in order for them to understand the insights that you’ve learned throughout the process.

The 3 Types of User Interviews Structured, Semi-Structured, and Unstructured

User interviews are a great method of getting insight into the way your users think, they’re incredibly versatile. They come in different forms and serve different goals. So it’s good to be clear on what kind of interview you might be conducting. There are predominantly three types of interview you could perform a structured interview, a semi structured interview or an unstructured interview.

So what’s the difference? Structured interviews have carefully scripted questions and will be asked by each user and by each interviewer if there are multiple in exactly the same way, they often contain lots of closed questions and fewer open questions. Sometimes the interviewer will present the participant with predetermined options to choose from. In structured interviews, interviewers usually do not probe. And as a result, structured interviews are not often used in the early stages of a design project because they don’t really generate many new insights. Semi structured interviews are often used in design projects, and, as the name implies, there is some structure there. The interviewer will have a few questions prepared.

We call this an interview guide or a discussion guide. These questions are generally Open-Ended to allow the participant to talk, and interviewers will then ask probing follow questions. Interviewers have the freedom to change the order of the questions in the guide or to spend longer probing a response to one specific question. If they’re getting lots of helpful insight from the participant. Lastly, an unstructured interview is an interview where there aren’t prepared questions, although the interviewer might have an idea of some topics that they could cover. The interviewer might just begin the interview asking the participant. Tell me about your experience planning holidays. The interviewer will keep the conversation moving along with non-leading probing questions. So I’ve just described three different types of interviews. So when might we use each of these types? If you know nothing about the domain, you might start with an unstructured interview to begin to learn more about your uses and significant areas. Now, this is a pretty difficult interview to do because it’s pretty hard to think good non-leading questions on the spot.

So I wouldn’t recommend that to people just getting started doing interviews. If you’re looking to learn more about a specific issue area experience, then the best type of interviewee to carry out would be the semi structured interview. Preparing a guide will help you avoid going off tangent, and it shows you have some really good quality questions prepared that provide sound insights. If you’re looking to interview a lot of people and easily compare responses, for example, maybe you’ve just soft launch a product or service and you now want to get some rich feedback on it, then a structured interview would be a good option and you can nicely compliment this qualitative data with things like analytics.

To give you a good understanding of your products performance, you can learn more about how to effectively conduct these types of interviews in a course on user interviews at IU conference.

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