Journey Mapping Design – the 5 Design Principles that will enable your journey map to drive change

Kris LaFavor is the founder of DesignAhead.  In addition, Kris is Heart of the Customer’s go-to designer for all of our journey maps (she also designed our website, so we’re big fans!).  In this post, Kris lays out her guidelines to make sure our maps have that visual impact that is so critical to driving customer-focused change.

Think like the customer.

Before you start designing your map, you have to approach the design process from the point of view of the customer whose journey you’re mapping. To do this, you have to understand the research your map will be based on. This research is your window into the customer’s thoughts and emotions, so dig deep and ask a lot of questions to understand the premise and goals of the research before you begin your design process. Read more

The best (and worst) uses of journey mapping workshops

ccexpo_0581We often get calls from organizations who want to hold a journey mapping workshop, but have no time or budget for research.

Our willingness varies depending on what the client is looking to accomplish. There are times when a workshop is absolutely the best journey mapping methodology – and times when it’s a train wreck. Let’s start with the best ways.

#1 As a way to internalize research results

We frequently end our research projects with mapping workshops. After sharing the research results, we have participants map out the customer journey, using the voice of the customer as their guide. Read more

Interview with Jim Kalbach


Jim Kalbach is the recent author of Mapping Experiences. We had a chance to interview him to go deeper on what he has learned about journey maps.  You can see more about his book here.

Along with your other diagrams, journey and experience maps are often used to drive culture change.  What are your tips for using these to engage leadership and change culture?

Jim Kalbach: This first thing to keep in mind is that a diagram won’t provide any answers outright. It doesn’t magically bring change to your organization. Instead, diagrams are conversation pieces that engage others.

Sure, you want to create an artifact that is accurate, reliable and compelling. But to drive change, you’ll need to focus on including others throughout the mapping process. Think verb (mapping) rather than noun (map).

A centerpiece I invariably include in the process is a workshop. With this, you can use your diagram to explore a given experience with a diverse group of stakeholders.

Beyond that, also consider ways to have others in your team participate in the mapping process. For instance, bring them along to customer interviews during your investigation. Or, create a draft diagram together with sticky notes on a whiteboard. The more people involved, the more people will better understand the customer perspective.

In addition, it’s more important that the team has the same knowledge than each person have new knowledge. Otherwise, they will never make the collective decisions needed for change to happen. Maps of an experience are sense-making tools.

In the end, it’s the mapmakers job to also facilitate the conversation, not just create a diagram. Only then can the organization shift its perspective from inside-out to outside-in. Read more

So You Want to Make a Journey Map

HP2P95KQGX - 1In just the last year we have seen a dramatic increase in journey mapping’s popularity, as more and more organizations realize what an effective tool it can be. But as more and more journey maps are getting made by more and more people, two critical questions arise—who and what to map. These are the first two questions we ask when we work with prospective clients.

First, which journeys to map? This may sound like an easy question, but it seldom is. Quite often organizations wish to map every journey. Which sounds like a great idea at first. Unfortunately, you can’t map every journey. Not only does this become prohibitively expensive, there is also the question of the organization’s ability to act against the results of multiple journey maps at once. We typically recommend starting with one journey, creating action, then moving to another.

You may ask yourself: Why focus on such a small subset of customer journeys? Won’t that limit the usefulness of your results? As it turns out—no. Bruce Temkin has created a great visual for helping determine what approach to use for each of their maps. Your most important journeys require research, to understand exactly what your customers need, and their true pain points and moments of truth. But the next tier down are best served with a workshop, and some do not even warrant a full-day workshop – journey thinking is the right approach for that.

Use this graphic to help you prioritize – those most critical items warrant research. Then, within this set, prioritize those which your organization most needs to focus on. How do you do this? Read more