Journey maps

Create a journey map after your user research sessions. You will get a broad view of the experience and how your content fits into that.

Why create a journey map?

Journey maps are useful in the early stage of research and discovery. Use your journey map to step out what you have learned about the user during your research.

Prep time

2 hours


2 to 10

Run time

2 hours to 1 day


To create a successful journey map, try not to assume or guess people’s real-life experiences prior to the exercise.


  • whiteboard or butcher’s paper
  • markers
  • post-it notes

How to make a journey map

Step 1: Decide on your user

You need to define the user in your story. You should do this by using evidence from user research, so the journey is realistic. For example, what they were trying to do, their motivations, and their context before and after the interaction? Do this in every iteration of development.

Quantitative research is good, but you really need qualitative research. It will give you the insights to how users think and feel through their journey.

Step 2: Choose the scenario

Define the scope of the experience you are going to map.

For example, this could be a new cafe registering their business. Try to keep your user journey simple. Your map may cover the journey from the initial business plan through to registration and opening the business.

Make sure you define a clear goal for the user. For the example above, the goal would be to register a business.

Step 3: Visualise the journey

You can map your user’s journey in a way that suits your team. It doesn’t need to be a linear timeline. Represent the user’s journey in swimlanes. Use visuals to communicate points on your journey. Use post-it notes on a wall or a marker on butcher’s paper to show:

  • your user — describe their age, background, thoughts, feelings, opinions, expectations and pain points
  • timeline — define the scope of the user’s journey in their context
  • touchpoints — how users interact with your agency and various levels of government, at different points in the journey
  • emotions — how the user feels in the journey
  • channels — how they are interacting with your agency (this could include website, mobile app, call centre or shopfront)
Example of a journey map

Visualisation to help understand the journey of a user trying to complete a task on a website.

Follow up

Display your journey map in a prominent spot so your team and stakeholders can view it.

Walk stakeholders through the journey. By sharing this the journey, you encourage empathy for your users. Your stakeholders will also gain an understanding of the challenges they face.

Keep updating your map. It’s a living artefact.

You can use your journey map to define scope and show where to solve problems. You can also use it to break down business area silos across a service. This will help to better understand the whole user experience.

Highlighting user pain points along a user journey is a crucial part of understanding the problem. These pain points can help you write user stories.


The following sources will help you create a user journey map: