User Journey Mapping: 10 Best Practices to Follow

User Journey Mapping

User journey mapping is a crucial process for understanding how users interact with your product, service, or brand. This process is about detailing each step of the user’s experience, you can uncover valuable insights into their needs, motivations, and pain points

However, customer journey mapping is an undeniable segment of UI and UX design. Unfortunately, most novice designers find it difficult to prepare the map. That’s why we decided to share some of the most effective practices for the process.

So, we are here today to help you be a killed journey map creator. Keep checking and don’t skip a single point if you don’t want to miss something essential.

What Is User Journey Mapping?

User journey mapping is a method used to visually represent the steps a user takes to achieve a goal when interacting with a digital product, service, or brand. The mapping system helps create a user-centric approach by focusing on what users think, feel, and do at each step. 

This process promotes empathy and understanding within an organization, highlighting the user’s experience. It details the user’s goals, actions, thoughts, and emotions at each touchpoint, whether covering the entire customer lifecycle or a specific interaction. 

Unlike user flows that focus on technical steps or customer journey maps that look at the overall experience, user journey maps emphasize the user’s personal perspective. Validating these maps through research and testing ensures they reflect real user experiences for improving user experience design.

Features of an Ideal Customer Journey Map

An ideal customer journey map effectively covers the entire experience of a user as they interact with a product, service, or brand. Here are the major features of the mapping system:

Features of User Journey Map

User-Centric Focus

The map should revolve around the user’s perspective. It should highlight what the user thinks, feels, and does at each step. This approach helps in understanding their needs, motivations, and pain points.

Clear Goals and Touchpoints

A journey map usually defines the user’s goals and the key touchpoints where interactions occur. Touchpoints refer to factors like websites, customer service, social media, and in-store experiences. Identifying these touchpoints helps in understanding where improvements are needed.

Detailed Personas

The approach uses detailed user personas to represent different types of customers. These personas should include demographic information, preferences, behaviors, and goals. It can ensure the journey map is relevant to actual users.

Chronological Steps

User journey mapping system usually lays out the steps in a logical sequence from start to finish. This approach helps in understanding the flow of the user’s journey and identifying where they might encounter issues.

Emotions and Thoughts

This approach also documents the user’s emotions and thoughts at each step. It indeed, provides insights into their satisfaction and frustration points. As a result, the approach helps identify areas for improvement.

Visual Elements

In this process, designers need to use visual elements like diagrams, charts, and icons to make the map easy to understand at a glance. A visually appealing map can communicate complex information more effectively.

Pain Points and Opportunities

The map must highlight pain points where users face difficulties and identify opportunities for enhancing their experience. This approach can lead to actionable insights for improving the product or service.

Cross-Functional Input

The map also involves different departments like marketing, sales, and customer service in the mapping process. It simply ensures a comprehensive view of the customer journey from various perspectives.

Validation through Research

The entire process also validates the journey map with real user data through surveys, interviews, and usability testing. As a consequence, the map accurately reflects the actual customer experience.

Actionable Insights

The journey map should lead to actionable insights that can be implemented to improve the user experience. It should serve as a practical tool for making informed decisions.

These are the core features of user journey mapping. Because of all these factors, it becomes helpful for designers to guarantee the best quality of work.

10 Best Practices for User Journey Mapping

Now, you must have a proper idea of why user journey mapping is so essential. Well, remember that user journey mapping is not so easy at all. It would help if you learned how to prepare the map as well as know some of the best practices for it.

Very soon, we’ll cover the entire fact of how to make a user journey map. You can keep an eye on our YouTube channel for upcoming videos on these facts. Now, let us share 10 best practices for user journey maps.

1. Understand Your Business Goals

Before you start mapping, knowing what you aim to achieve is essential. For sure, holding your business goals is essential. You must have a clear idea of whether you want to increase customer satisfaction, and sales, or improve a specific service. 

Your fixed goals will guide your mapping process. Then you must ensure it coincides with your business objectives. When you know your goals, you can focus on the parts of the journey that matter most. 

For example, if your goal is to improve customer service, you should pay extra attention to touchpoints where customers seek help. Thus it will help you identify areas for improvement.

2. Learn Why User Journey and User Flow Aren’t the Same Things

User journey and user flow might seem similar, but they are not the same. Grasping the difference is important. A user journey map shows a customer’s overall experience with your brand. It includes their emotions, thoughts, and interactions over time.

On the other hand, a user flow is a step-by-step path a user takes to complete a specific task on your website or app. It is focused on the process rather than the experience. If you know this difference, it will help you create more accurate maps.

User Journey Vs User Flow

3. Never Combine Different Scenarios in a Single Map

It is better to avoid combining multiple scenarios in one map. Each customer journey is unique, and mixing them can confuse them. You should create separate maps for different scenarios to get a clear view of each experience.

For example, the journey of a new customer will vary from that of a returning customer. If you map these separately, you can identify specific needs and challenges for each group. This approach ensures your solutions are effective.

4. Learn to Identify Customer Segments

Identifying customer segments is key to effective journey mapping. Not all customers are the same. If you can divide them into segments it will help you realize their different needs and behaviors. 

So, you should look at demographics, purchase history, and interaction patterns to create segments. Once you have your segments, you should map each journey separately. 

This approach helps you see how different groups experience your brand. Like, young adults might interact with your business differently than older adults. So, if you can recognize these differences, you will sort out the strategies to meet their diverse needs.

5. Understand Customer Requirements and Goals

If you wish to create a meaningful user journey map, You must grasp what your customers want to achieve. If you know their goals and requirements, it will let you align your services with their needs. 

You can conduct surveys and interviews. Additionally, you can use analytics to gather this information.

When you grasp their goals, you can identify gaps in your service. For example, if customers want quick responses, but your support is slow, this is a clear area for improvement. If you can meet the customer’s goals, it will generate higher satisfaction.

6. Learn to Notice Customer Emotions

Customer emotions play a big role in their journey. Positive emotions pave the way to satisfaction and loyalty. On the other hand, negative emotions can drive customers away. So, you must pay attention to how customers feel at each touchpoint.

User Journey Vs User Flow

Don’t forget to check feedback, reviews, and direct interactions to gauge emotions. You should note when customers feel frustrated, happy, or confused. 

It will help you identify emotional highs and lows in the journey. If you can track the negative emotions timely, you can turn a bad experience into a positive one.

7. Select Swimlanes Based on Your Business Goal

Swimlanes in your journey map help organize information. You must choose swimlanes that align with your business goals. Some of the common swimlanes include customer actions, emotions, touchpoints, and pain points.

Like, if your goal is to improve customer service, you should include swimlanes for support interactions and response times. This organization helps you focus on relevant aspects of the journey. Also, it makes the map easier to understand.

8. Represent Your Customer’s Perspective

You should always create the journey map from your customer’s perspective. Then you should try to step into their shoes and see things from their point of view. It will help you grasp their experiences and challenges better.

Moreover, you must avoid assumptions and base your map on actual data. For example, if customers find your checkout process confusing, their perspective can reveal specific issues you might overlook. 

If you can represent their perspective properly, it will ensure your solutions are customer-centric.

9. Try to Map Out Customer Touch Points

Always, try to identify and map all customer touchpoints. These are the moments when customers interact with your brand. They can be both online or offline. Touchpoints can cover website visits, social media interactions, customer support calls, and in-store visits.

If you can map touchpoints properly, it will help you see where customers engage with your brand. Also, it highlights areas that need improvement. 

Customer Touch Points

For example, if customers often abandon their carts at checkout, this touchpoint needs attention. If you can improve these interactions, it can greatly enhance the overall journey.

10. Align with Your Brand Promise Properly

You must ensure your user journey map aligns with your brand promise. Keep in mind, your brand promise is what you have pledged to deliver. It sets expectations and defines your brand’s identity.

Like, if your brand promises exceptional customer service, your journey map should reflect this. You should always check if each touchpoint meets this promise. If there are gaps, you must work on aligning your actions with your brand promise. So, if you can remain consistent, it will build trust and eventually strengthen your brand.


What is the KPI in the customer journey map?

Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) in customer journey maps are a system that usually measures success metrics like conversion rates or customer satisfaction scores at different stages. It helps gauge effectiveness and identify areas for improvement.

What are the main principles of a customer journey map?

Customer journey maps should focus on the user’s perspective, and highlight emotions with pain points. It should also involve cross-functional teams, validate with data, and lead to actionable insights to enhance user experience.

What is the customer journey cycle?

The customer journey cycle refers to the stages a customer goes through from awareness to purchase and post-purchase interactions. It encompasses all touchpoints and interactions that influence the customer’s experience and decision-making process.

Wrap Up

Undoubtedly, user journey mapping is indispensable for understanding and improving the customer experience. It visually maps out the user’s interactions, emotions, and pain points to help us gain valuable insights into how to optimize products and services. 

The system also prioritizes empathy, aligns teams around a unified customer-centric vision, and uncovers opportunities for innovation. Validating these maps through user research ensures they accurately reflect user realities. Ultimately, integrating user journey mapping into UX design processes not just enhances satisfaction and loyalty but also drives business growth enormously.

Abdullah Al Noman
Chief Operating Officer
With seven years in design, he transformed Toffee at Banglalink into a platform loved by 10 million Bangladeshi users, expertly merging user feedback with design expertise. He's collaborated with top-tier brands including Autogrill, Laderach, The Asia Foundation, and Robi. As a co-founder of Design Monks, he crafts experiences that resonate deeply, also hosting the insightful 'Design Chit Chat' podcast. His early mentorship through Bangladesh's a2i Programme has made him a pillar in nurturing new UX design talent.