A Great Way to Facilitate Journey Maps in Workshops

File under:
Design Process

Written by Brian Ling (Design Sojourn)
Oct 05, 2012


Journey map by Evan Litvak. A fresh look at a visualization of a circular repeated journey.

Kim Cullen, from Adaptive Path, recently shares their process in teaching Journey Maps at Workshops. Their process was adapted from Jamin Hegman and Jared Cole’s service design workshop. (A great introduction to the basics of Service Design by the way.)


What is the purpose of the journey map and who is it for? Will a design or engineering team use it to build out a service? Or is it a tool for executives to socialize a concept throughout the company? Is it intended to be tactical or inspirational?

Create hierarchy by prioritizing. There tends to be a desire to document everything in a journey map, especially if it’s intended to be a tactical tool. But is there an aspect of the experience that is most important to elevate? The emotional highs and lows? The “break points” (points when users disengage with the service)? Use of media and devices?

How do visual hierarchy, typography, color, scale, space and dimension impact communication of the story? What associations do people already have with certain colors? Are there opportunities to use symbols over words? How do you indicate where the journey begins and ends or the most critical moments?

How are these visual choices appropriate for the audience and purpose of the map? How will the typography and hierarchy differ if it’s an inspirational poster versus a something that will be printed and referred to daily?

Activity Overview

  • Introduce the concept of service design. Some great resources include: servicedesigntools.org, thisisservicedesignthinking.com/, servicedesignbooks.org
  • Identify a familiar service as the focus for the activity.
  • Have one member of each team describe a specific experience they had with that service.
  • As the “research subject” is talking, other members of the team capture key people, actions, emotions, things and contexts that they hear in the story on post-its. Use a different color for each category.
  • Group the captured notes on butcher paper and identify key stages of the journey. Do meaningful patterns emerge? Is there anything surprising?
  • Do rapid sketching of possible visualizations and share with the larger group.
  • Refine through digital visualizations. Emphasize that the goal is to not only to document the experience but provide insight into user needs and identify design opportunities for improving or evolving the service.

  • Another Journey Map by Tanya Siadneva
 that focuses on rider emotion. Similar to our Heartbeat Experience Map Tool, Tanya’s resulting highs and lows allows her to identify design opportunities.

    What was interesting with this activity, was the different types of visualizations created by the participants, who were incidentally students (graphics shown up top and above). Firstly it proves the robustness of the process. Secondly the students have a very different take (as they have no preconceive ideas) to the so called “industry standards” of Journey Maps that look very much like a map of train lines and stations.

    This also aligns with my belief that tools are just meant to be tools. There should not be only one right way to do it, nor should you spend time arguing the mechanics of expressing the experience or customer journey. The success or failure of such tools is in its ability to get you to your goal of creating meaningful user experiences. How it works or looks really does not matter.

    Thanks for sharing Kim!

    Via: Adaptive Path.

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    Gerard Tocquer
    Jul 02, 13 – 10:17 am

    Thank you for sharing your emotional map. I experienced in the past some problem regarding the scale used on the left side that show the emotion intensity of the customers. (usually a 5 level scale).
    What word would you suggest to improve the meaning of the scale. Excellent to Very poor or would you prefer to use some emotional words like Wow to Terrible. The scale should be flexible but at the same time measure emotions that are specific to a service category

    Dr Gerard Tocquer
    Mahidol University

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