This is the second of four installments in our podcast series titled, The UX Power Tools Behind Compelling Software – featuring one of Macadamian’s all-star user experience researchers, Anneliis Tosine, and user experience designers, Sara Fortier. In this episode, we discuss the importance of customer experience maps.
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What is an experience map?
Experience maps are infographics that illustrate the experience at each one of the touch points along the journey that an individual might have with a product or service. They help organizations understand their customers’ experience at each step along the way of the process from the very beginning to the very end. They shift focus from operations to the customer and explain the emotions behind each one of the actions they take.
What value do experience maps provide?
Experience maps provide visibility for pain points and opportunities for improvement on many other areas along the entire customer experience that could be improved – not just as it relates to software applications, but process and overall customer service issues as well.
They spark discussions to help close knowledge gaps and provide a point of reference to help fill in information that may be missing in the process. They also help inform valuable design decisions and can act as a catalyst for idea sharing and generation between teams and between clients.
What role does UX research and design play in experience map development?
Experience maps are created by conducting research (e.g. ethnographic) on one or multiple end user personas. This research answers questions like: who is your user, what are the user motivations, what tools or artifacts do they use, what are the biggest influences on their experience, and what are their social interactions influencing tasks?
Collaborating with your designers at this point is great so that the experience map can clearly show the insights such as pain points and opportunities for improvement. You can also include a few complimentary statistics to bring awareness of the users experience. With all of these elements clearly illustrated on the map, it provides something for teams to rally behind to help drive product decisions.
How do experience maps differ from other or more traditional forms of UX deliverables?
When done right, experience maps combine and visually connect research from multiple areas. Rather than looking at the user in a vacuum, an experience map provides a better understanding of the person and the life factors that influence them at any given moment. Experience maps are highly actionable documents that highlight insights, pain points, and pinpoint opportunities for improvement.
Creating your own customer experience map
To get started creating your own customer experience map see our guide to creating customer journey maps.