How critical user journey can help your website

Critical User Journey

Critical user journey is a path that user may take to reach their goal when using a particular website. When designing websites, user journeys are used to identify the different ways to enable the user to achieve their goal as quickly and easily as possible.

The example below shows  a webshop that provides food for pets. All elements on the screen are purposely placed in mind of critical user journey. The website is designed in a way that visitors would achieve their goal as quickly as possible


User journeys are different depending on the type of website they are designed for. The user journey for web shops is designed to encourage purchases, while for a blog, it might guide users to subscribe to a newsletter.

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The three things that make an ideal user journey:

  • easy usability,
  • the value of the actual products and information on your website,
  • and simple and intuitive navigation through the whole website, from the beginning through the end of the journey.


Why should you create a user journey?

Investing time into user journey brings many benefits to the creation process of your website.

User journeys are great way to communicate what you are trying to achieve with stakeholders. They show an example of what the future state of your website could be. They can be one of the key elements in the requirements gathering stage at the beginning of a project.

User journeys can help you understand how users are going to interact with your system (website) and what they expect from it.

When you understand the „flow“ of the various tasks that users want to do, you can start to think about what sort of taxonomy (system used to classify and organize things) can help support those tasks and what kind of interface is needed.


When to create it?

Creating of user journey typically comes towards the beginning of a project in the discovery or requirements gathering phase. Reason is, to visualise the user requirements and help feed into other design activities such as information architecture or wireframing.

User journeys can be used further down the line when scoping out pieces of functionality in more detail.


How to create user journey?

A user journey is closely connected to user personas. Before creating a user journey you should understand facts gathered from user personas.

You should understand your user’s goals, their motivations, their current pain points, their overall character and the main tasks they want to achieve. Creating one journey for each of your primary personas is a bare minimum.

Steps of a user journey

Every user journey should contain a series of steps. Each step should cover specific a segment of journey.One of the steps should focus on context.

Context cares about where the user is on the page, what is around them and if there are any external factors which may be distracting them.

Progression focuses on the transition between steps. How does each step enable users to get to the next?

Third step focuses on devices. The main focus is on devices user uses and are they novice or expert with them.

Functionality is one of the most important steps in a user journey. This step explores question like: What type of functionality are users expecting?

Last but not least is emotion.  This step considers the engagement of a user. Are they bored or annoyed? What is theri emotional state in each step of user journey?

 

What should a user journey map look like?

User journey maps will be specific to unique product and users. However, there are some general similarities that are being used as a foundation for journey maps.

Whichever layout style you choose you will want to include: a picture of the persona the journey relates to, a title summarising the journey, a series of steps in short and concise text, an illustration of what is happening in the step. 

In each step you should present the device used, changes to the current journey,benefits to the user and business and any functionality being demonstrated.


Critical user journey gone bad

There are few pitfalls that you should keep an eye out when creating customer journey map. Often  a customer journey is viewed as a workshop exercise rather than a practical tool. Customer journeys are intended to be used throughout the year.

They should be part of day-to-day focus on the customer needs, solving their problems and making customer experience the best it could possibly be. 

Often, there can be a tendency to gravitate towards views that reflect common wisdom or our own opinions. Employees are often expressing personal views, rather than views back up with hard evidence. It is important to seek out range of opinions from a range of different groups of employees.

While listening to opinions of your employees you also must speak with the customers themselves. While creating customer journey map you should conduct customer research. Without user insight business decisions are based on assumptions that are not validated by your customer.

Conclusion

 User journeys are great way to understand your users and what they are trying to achieve. User journeys include activities like information architecture, sitemaps and wireframing.

They are critical in the design of new websites because they highlight current issues and they produce an ideal picture from typical user’s perspective. 

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