2nd November 2011

UX Toolkit: Experience Mapping

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As a digital agency, one of our keys roles in any project is to consult our clients (the brand) on how they should be targeting and interacting with their customers both on and offline.

To allow us to do this we must become fully immersed in their business operations, and work together to formulate a strategy that is going to be most effective for them. One tool that can help with this is Experience Mapping

What is an Experience Map?

An Experience Map is a diagramatic overview of all the touchpoints a customer may have with the brand during their User Journey. These touchpoints could be physical tasks, emotions, preconceptions, social interactions etc; and are displayed over a period of time that directly correlates with a user’s experiences with the brand.

Why draw an Experience Map?

The intention of an Experience Map is to represent the UX from the view of the customer; and not the brand. We use this to observe and record the following information, from first contact to end goal:

  • The experience from the eye of the customer
  • The frequency and duration of each interaction with a touchpoint
  • Positive/negative experiences with particular touchpoints
  • Experience(s) over time
  • Point(s) of failure
  • Opportunities to improve or innovate
  • Missing touchpoints
  • Identify touchpoints that cross channels

How do I get started?

As this blog post is an introduction into why we should be Experience Mapping and not how, I am going to direct you to the following article at (the excellent) UX Mag for how to get started on your own map. I have borrowed the diagram from James Torio (the author) to demonstrate an example of an Experience Map for this post. All credits go to him.

Client Experience Map - Paradise Resort

We can see how much easier it is to understand a User Journey by mapping it. Viewing particular touchpoints, and the level of customer satisfaction along the journey allows the author to examine opportunities and weaknesses, so that the brand can identify where to focus resources for the highest impact.

If you would like to start with your own basic Experience Map then think of a journey you commonly make such as purchasing your lunch. Think of all the touchpoints you encounter (you may need to go over the journey a few times as you think of more), and make a note of what you see/do/think at each touchpoint. Try to make it as real as possible, extra UX tools such as personas and storytelling may help with this.

For an alternative, slightly more detailed Experience Map example please see the following for Starbucks Coffee from Little Springs Design.

What are we hoping to achieve?

The end goal is to analyse the current UX during a customers journey to identify weaknesses in the operations, opportunities for cross selling, UX improvements and cross channel interactions.

We are able to record if the customers are happy, confused or frustrated at any point. We can identify areas where the brand can support their customers across touchpoints at the right time. And most importantly we can put the brand in the customer’s shoes so that it is the customer that is receiving the very best User Experience.