Whether a marketer, UX designer or developer – the goal of understanding the user experience to engage and make conversions applies to all. There are many ways to gather information to more clearly understand the user with most becoming more advanced as greater importance is placed on UI/UX.It’s no longer enough to simply understand the basic needs of a user. A site must be designed and developed to cater to the actions and perceptions that occur at all touchpoints.

To understand customers cross and omnichannel behaviors, the use of the customer journey map is ideal. 

The use of customer journey mapping, for some, can seem cumbersome and time consuming. However, with increasing importance placed on user experience and expectations it has become a requirement for businesses to deeply understand and respond to the needs of their consumer. In reality, it’s a a valuable hands-on exercise that allows a team to gain a new level of understanding about their user – to both the positive and negative side.

Traditionally, the use of data is well intended, providing high level insights that are necessary to making a conversion, offering increased detail as technology develops. Despite this information at the fingertips of an organization, customer experiences remain unremarkable as most data is unable to communicate the true feedback and emotions of the audience.

Though analytic data is useful, the main roadblock is that it tends to be fragmented, resulting in a difficulty to draw actionable items from. Unless digging deep with near constant monitoring, an organization can only make small steps in optimizing their user experience through data alone.

Understanding the small nuances with which a user interacts with an interface is the most direct route to creating the optimal experience which are most adeptly found by mapping the journey of the customer.

It is within these small movements that decide the longevity of the user engagement and the ultimate satisfaction of the relationship. Seemingly rudimentary when placed alongside analytics alone, the process of customer mapping delivers insights needed to create storytelling opportunities and perspectives.

Because a journey map is comprised of an overall view of an individuals relationship and lifecycle with a brand, service or product – all forms of user research should be leveraged to compile the most information to work from.

After compiling the user research, the process of creating the map can begin.

Whether opting to use mapping software or taking a longhand (post-it-note+sketchbook) approach, consider the point of view of all users rather than taking a ‘one size fits all’ approach.

Opportunity for personalization is one of the key takeaway benefits from a mapping exercise. Upon building and reviewing the initial map, work with both creative and strategic team members to identify opportunities both missed and possible. Analyze pain points to uncover ways in which to weave a newly optimized landscape, thus delivering a better experience for customers.

The use of customer journey mapping is not a new activity, however it has not been widely adopted by the digital set. Mapping has long been a tried-and-tested tool for organizations to evolve past a simple ‘sell’ and establish meaningful, long-term customer relations. The use of maps are now being implemented by interaction designers searching for the deeper connections between business goals and user experience.

For organizations who aim to gain a deeper understanding of their user to leverage new business, a customer journey map process is highly recommended. There is a time commitment involved and the data must be crafted into a brief and built into a strategy in order to be put into action. The process of journey mapping can also be used a team building strategy to bring creative teams together and achieve ‘same page’  clarity and understanding about a client or their own company.