According to a study by advertising agency Havas, so-called “meaningful brands” that take the time to connect with customers, enjoy better brand awareness and higher annual returns than other companies.
So, what makes a business meaningful?
It’s having a deep understanding of who your customers are and what they want.
Whenever any of us uses something — a computer, a blender, bicycle, or pair of running shoes — we embark on a user journey. It’s a step-by-step process of our interactions, thoughts, and feelings with and about the product.
The visualization of this process is called the user journey map.
Knowledge of this map plays an important role in understanding our customers better in order to have meaningful interactions with them.
The user journey map helps to stop users getting lost
Many enterprises, like yours, begin with a simple idea — to bring a solution to a consumer in a certain industry. So you create a product to meet certain needs; a running app, let’s say.
The main feature is to track time, distance, and there’s a chat or blog feature for discussions around running. As time goes on, technology and the marketplace evolve. It’s time to improve the app.
Without a user journey map, product designers, marketers, and other enterprise professionals run the risk of overwhelming users with features.
Let’s say you begin to add things like weather forecasts, celebrity opinions about running, more blogging elements, and so on. And as much as these features may be useful, users can become “lost” and struggle to find what they’re looking for — the start button, for instance!
Creating a user journey map helps you to stick to what’s important: how your users interact with and navigate your product.
Evaluate your product from the customer’s POV
Feedback is one of the vital parts of modernization of products and services. Because getting feedback is one of the key principles of understanding your customer.
And when it comes to data, user journey maps give easily understandable, visual results.
Not only does the process of creating a user journey map involve analysis of user opinions, it also factors in the scenarios and environments in which such opinions are formed.
In addition, mapping allows you to spot vulnerabilities during interaction with your product. For instance, you can find out whether your running app advises routes and workout patterns to your user or they have to go and search for them elsewhere.
You can also discover how they found information about your app, or get some feedback about possible UI issues. This data helps the enterprise prioritize tasks for development.
It can also give you hints on how to make the user journey more convenient by providing or eliminating certain touchpoints.
The topography of the user journey map
While this process is important for any product, the mapping will vary depending on industry and product type. But there are some fundamentals that remain relevant in each case.
According to a study done by the University of Lille, every step in the process should be data-driven. Here are the most important ones:
1. Start by building your customer’s persona
You need a clear understanding of who your customers are and how they differ from each other. What are their motivations, thoughts, and issues? What type of runner are they; professional or amateur? Are they a trend driven person?
All these questions will help you predict your user’s interactions with the product and categorize them into groups of “personas.”
2. Research user experience
You need to collect information about your users’ reasons for using your product. Will they use the app for competitive training or for daily running, for example? What workouts do they favor? Where else do they get their running advice from?
There are plenty of ways to gather such data; for instance, cookies from your app and website, or basic research on social media and forums.
For enterprises that want to get a deep understanding about their users, there are more advanced tools like Digital Adoption Platforms (DAP). These are software layers that can be added to your website or digital product.
Not only do they help your users better understand the possibilities of your digital tools, they also collect detailed adoption data about all of your users, providing you with a plethora of useful feedback.
3. Visualize the steps
Once you’ve collected the data and grouped your audience into personas, it’s time to put it all together.
You need to mark step-by-step all the user interactions, starting with the intention of running and ending with achieving and sharing their goals.
User journey maps are fantastic visual tools, helping you to understand your users/customers better. Clever use of this tool, combined with excellent data capture and analysis, will boost interest in your products and profits to your bottom line.