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Where does a Journey Map take you?

Updated: Dec 7, 2022

Everything You Need to Know About Journey Maps

If you're like most people, the phrase "journey map" might not mean much to you. But if you're involved in user experience (UX) design, it's a critical tool. This HD column will tell you everything you need to know about journey maps: what they are, why they matter, and how to create them.

What are journey maps?

Journey maps are visual representations of the data that your customers communicate while they interact with your platform, product, or service. They help businesses do the following:

  • Identify and understand customer needs and desires

  • Identify pain points and areas for improvement

  • Track customer engagement

  • Create more seamless user experiences, etc...

In other words: journey maps are essential for improving the customer experience. If you are in the healthcare sector, you might create a Patient Journey Map, or if you are in an industry service base organization, you might create a customer journey map, experience map, or a product journey map.

Journey maps are a tool that can be used to understand and document the steps involved in a particular process or event. They can be helpful for planning purposes, or simply to reach a better understanding of how something works through the lens of your end user. Some examples of how organizations use journey maps include:

  • A grocery store might be curious about a featured product. They might create a journey map based on a shopping experience to purchase this product

  • A doctor's office might be curious about why they have such a high no-show. They might create a patient journey map about the current patient visit experience.

  • A local foundation might not be reaching a resource disbursement target or goal. They decide to create a journey map about the grant application process for nonprofits.

Why do they matter?

Journey maps are a critical tool for any business that wants to provide an optimal customer experience. They help companies understand how their customers interact with their products or service and identify areas where the customer experience can be improved. Also, journey maps can help businesses design marketing campaigns and improve conversion rates. In our experience in the social impact and healthcare sector, journey maps have helped us create more innovative products and services. Just by listening to our customer's experiences, their needs, and how those services solve those pain points. We also look for bottlenecks or what areas we might be wasteful in.

"Success is not delivering a feature, it is learning how to solve the customer’s problem.
– Eric Ries

How to create a journey map?

To create a journey map, you will need to gather data from your customers (through surveys or interviews) and then use it to create a visual representation of their journey. We will dive deeper into the steps in a future article but for this one, we will cover the basics.

Here are some steps to get started:

  1. Create the Plan

    1. Draft a quick data process plan of how you will gather information from your customers. Within this plan identify touch points where you will communicate with your customer about how they feel about their current experience with your offering. For example, will you be interviewing them in person with open-ended questions to gather data, or will you send out surveys? What process will this data pass through? In creating this process plan, it is essential to create an experience that doesn’t inconvenience your stakeholders too much.

    2. Create the infrastructure/framework. Here are some keywords to keep in mind while developing this structure for your data to pass thru.

      1. Actions: what is the customer doing at each touchpoint of their experience with your organization? How are they moving along to each process?

      2. Motivations: what motivates or engages your user or customer to continue their relationship w/ your resource?

      3. Questions/ Barriers/ Bottlenecks

        1. What are some hesitations your customer may have with your product or service?

        2. What barriers might your customer have to not fully immerse themselves in the experience you’re creating? (i.e. cost, distance, etc…)

        3. Are there any current processes within your platform that can create friction between the ultimate customer experience and the product you are serving?

  2. User Personas to create a concise journey map as you gather data around your users you want to group users per persona. User personas are fictional characteristics that identify your customer base.

    1. Create 3-5 personas based on your customer database. Remember to name them. The personas are not based on negative stereotypes but they tell a story on the common points your users identify with. For example, some of your users might be moms that prefer a specific experience that you offer.

  3. Develop in empathy as you receive feedback from your customers it is essential to create a safe to hear feedback and allocate to a plan that will create change

    1. Do not defend but hear what they are saying

  4. Extract information

    1. Identify customer experience in each touch point

    2. Identify pain points

      1. How did it make them feel?

    3. Identify Gains

      1. How did it make them feel?


As you are developing your scenario, what stages are involved in your buyer's journey?

For example: If you run a service business the stages could be:

Discovery > Purchase > Adoption> etc…

  • Keep it, Simple Sheldon!

  • Don't overwhelm yourself. This is something you can build upon.

  • Empathy is your secret sauce

  • It helps to group experiences together.

Here are a few templates from Canva

Why Create a Journey Map?

Well, to dive deeper, we will answer this question by separating it into 3 categories.

Experience Map

A customer journey map is a tool used to understand the specific steps that a customer takes when interacting with a particular business or product. In contrast, experience maps are more general, and are used to understand overall human behavior. They are much simpler than a journey map.

Patient Journey Maps

Patient journey maps help healthcare leaders better understand the needs of their patients, the gaps in their care, and the ways in which their organizations can improve efficacy.

The map helps leaders and their teams identify opportunities to make the experience of care more efficient and effective for patients. Creating and analyzing the patient journey helps healthcare leaders better understand the needs of their patients, the gaps in their care, and the ways in which their organizations can improve efficacy. Patient journey maps are a powerful tool in healthcare innovation and quality improvement, according to a 2016 study published in Health Affairs. The study found that organizations that used patient journey maps to simplify and standardize care reported reduced cost and length of stay, improved patient satisfaction, reduced how often patients revisit the hospital, and increased staff engagement.

Journey maps are an essential tool in healthcare initiatives, as they help us to better understand how patients interact with the hospital or health system throughout their care journey. By mapping out the steps involved, we can identify areas for improvement and innovate to provide better care for our communities.

Customer Journey Map

In social impact initiatives, once you lay out your infrastructure it allows you to better understand how your end user connects with your product or service at different touchpoints.

Infusing empathy thru design

Here at HD, we love a good journey map. As you develop your strategic plan and refine your ongoing initiatives for the new year, consider getting to know your customers or end users through the lens of a journey map. It allows you to better understand how your end user connects with your product or service at different touchpoints. This understanding can then be used to improve the user experience by making changes that are more likely to result in a positive outcome for the user.

The journey of your customer’s purchase is often not straightforward it can be unique. Someone may go straight from awareness to purchase without doing any research, for example, if they have a strong recommendation from a friend. Or they may spend a long time researching different options before making a decision, as with an expensive purchase. However, the frameworks provided here can help you better understand the customer journey and how customers engage with your company, brand, products, partners, and people. With this knowledge, you can adapt and customize your own customer journey to best suit your needs.

One More Thing

Would you like to work with us to further develop a journey map?

Let's chat!


I’m Christele. The founder of Ham Designs.

We are a b2b company that serves Healthcare & Social Impact focused organizations by using an empathy lens to create tools that help clients develop campaigns focused on diversity, community engagement, and ecosystem development.

Additionally, we offer workshops and consulting services to help our community generate ideas using a human-centered design approach. Our goal is to help companies create initiatives that improve the quality of their clients' lives and the lives of those around them.


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