Get into the Journey Mapping Mindset with This Exercise


Journey mapping can be daunting. When considering a user journey, start with what you know and use this as a spark to help you think creatively about what could be different.

While designing services we tend to think about the moment of interaction when the service happens, but it’s important to think beyond that moment and consider the entire user experience well before and after the interaction. Here’s an activity to help you get into the mindset of designing for the entire user journey.

Step 1: Pick a Service Moment

Pick a moment that’s common in your everyday life, for example going to a coffee shop.

Think about the last time you experienced ________________ (going to a coffee shop).

Step 2: Before the Moment

Think about what happened before _______________ (you went to the coffee shop).

Questions to consider:

What were you doing when you decided to go to the coffee shop?

What considerations played into your decision to go to the coffee shop?

How were you feeling and what was happening in your day?

Think about from a user perspective how you’re simultaneously processing the decision you’re about to make along with all the other things going on in your day. As a service provider, it’s important to remember that you’re not the only thing on your customer’s mind.

Step 3: During the Moment

Think about what happened while _______________ (you were at the coffee shop).

Questions to consider:

Is the line too long?

Do I have enough time?

What’s the experience like? Deli? Fancy coffee shop? Gas station?

Is it clean?

Are things easy to get to?

Is the transaction seamless?

These are the types of questions you want to ask in order to determine if you'd go back. Did this experience enable what I needed and wanted to happen?

Step 4: After the Moment

Think about what happened after ____________ (you went to the coffee shop).

Questions to consider:

Did it spill? Did they give you a sleeve? Did it taste good?

Did you have a chance to drink it? Did you enjoy the coffee?

Was the cup recyclable?

Did it follow through in delivering the experience you expected?

Did you have that feeling of satisfaction and resolution?

Step 5: The Rollup

When you think back to your moment, what could they have done different or better, knowing the before, during, and after?

Thinking beyond the service moment and considering the before, during, and after is important because as a service provider you have a certain amount of control at the moment, but so much of what your users think about include the before and after.

What can you do to streamline your user’s decision-making process before using your service? For example, as a customer, if you know your local coffee shop has great baristas, serves your favorite drink, and is always clean, going to the coffee shop becomes an easier decision for you to make. And after the experience, do your users have reasons to want to go back again? Did the experience deliver on their expectations or even better did it exceed their expectations?

To learn more tools from IDEO on great service design, check out our Human-Centered Service Design online course. 

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