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User journey map

Put yourself in the user’s shoes to understand their needs



Mapping out the user journey gives us a greater sense of empathy, projecting us into the beneficiary’s experience. This exercise involves gathering together all the information we need to better define the user’s needs and improve their experience.


Time needed: 30 minutes to 2 hours


Constructing a user journey map is about telling a story.

Here’s how to read it:

Download the map

Key steps

Present the user profile(s) whose shoes you want the participants to imagine themselves in:

Next split them into groups of 2 to 4, and ask them to try to imagine what the users’ experience is like:

  1. On the map, they can pin-point the beginning and the end of the journey, and all other stages in between. Ask them to limit it to 4 or 5 steps. (e.g.: getting ready to go out, shopping, payment, putting things away)
  2. For each stage of the journey, the participants must list the actions carried out by the user, trying to anticipate any problems or obstacles (e.g.: forgotten shopping list).
  3. In the “feelings” row, ask them to indicate the user’s emotions during the experience: Negative? Neutral? Positive? Next ask them to join up the dots.

    The dots can be marked in different colours to represent different emotions (red, orange or green).

  4. Once the map is finished, the group has a visual representation of the issues and areas for improvement within the journey. They can then define where the user requires them to innovate or improve.

Tips and advice

Encourage the participants to prioritise action verbs when describing the different stages.

Example for the shopping preparation phase: make a list, take a basket, get in the car.