A user journey captures the entire experience of the steps that a user might take when interacting with a product or service. Typically depicted as visual diagrams or described in narrative form, user journeys help teams to understand the user’s perspective and identify areas for improvement in a comprehensive and easily digestible format. User journeys are useful tools for designers, researchers and strategists to ensure that the user’s interaction at every touchpoint during the use of a product or service is as smooth and seamless as possible, and the final goal or desired outcome is achieved.
The user journey typically includes the following touchpoints:
– The first point of the user journey is when the user becomes aware of the product or service (e.g. an advertisement or recommendation through family or friends).
– The next stage of the user journey captures the point at which the user decides to engage with the product or service (e.g. clicking a link or visiting a website).
– The third stage might encompass the setup process, which might require account creation or learning how to use the product or service.
– Following the initial setup process, the user’s ongoing usage and interaction with the product or service is documented and includes the various tasks and actions that the user performs (e.g. browsing content or using features).
– Critical moments in which users must make a decision (e.g. purchase decisions) are also recorded, as these choices will impact the user journey.
– Technical issues, unclear instructions or general challenges faced by users due to usability issues during the user experience are also captured within the user journey.
– The final action made during the user journey is recorded.
Aside from the outlined touchpoints, follow-up activities such as confirmation emails as well as user feedback and ongoing interactions with the product or service may also be mapped.
Why are user journeys significant for conversion optimisation?
Reduced abandonment rates
Systems that are complex and difficult to navigate can result in users abandoning the product or service overall. Creating and analysing user journeys enables the simplification of the user experience by understanding where there might be pain points or bottlenecks at each touchpoint. For example, unclear instructions presented when a user is attempting to fill out a form is likely to result in the user leaving the page. Improvements can be made in these areas such as this to make the user experience more intuitive and help to reduce abandonment and increase the chances of conversion.
Users are able to make faster decisions when interacting with a product or service that is simple and intuitive. Gaining an understanding of the different touchpoints in the form of a user journey and making improvements results in a seamless journey, and helps users to move through decision-making processes more efficiently, which in turn creates conversions.
Improved user satisfaction
A platform that is easy to navigate and understand communicates that the brand is professional and reliable. Refining the user experience through user journeys is likely to increase trust within users, and improve the likelihood that users will take desired actions as well as recommend the platform to people they know. In a competitive digital landscape, a user-friendly and well-designed platform can be an impactful differentiator.
Mapping the user journey
Mapping the user journey involves creating a visual representation of a user’s interactions, actions and emotions as they navigate a product or service. Firstly, define the goals of the user journey – do you want to identify pain points and challenges, or gain an understanding of the touchpoints that require refinement? Next, it’s beneficial to create some personas at this stage to represent the target audience and aid in understanding the various needs, motivations and behaviours of the users that might be navigating the platform. It’s also useful to collect primary qualitative or quantitative data to supplement these personas through user interviews, surveys and analytics. Insights from stakeholders is also valuable during the data collection process, as feedback from customer service can highlight areas of the experience that require more focus. Usability testing is also a key research output to imagine the user journey.
User journey maps can be visualised in the form of a timeline or flowchart, and include all key touchpoints. Describe the interactions that users make at each of these touchpoints in as much detail as possible – what is the action the user is trying to accomplish? What are the steps involved? Are there any emotions or thoughts associated with each touchpoint? At this stage, opportunities to refine the experience to delight users become clear. It will also be useful to consider multichannel experiences if your users interact with your product or service across different platforms such as on the web, mobile or through social media.
Following the implementation of changes or refinements, it is recommended that user behaviour is monitored and the impact of the improvements is measured. User journey mapping is an ongoing process that evolves and a valuable tool in ensuring that experiences are simple, and above all, user-centred.
Landing page and entry point optimisation
It is crucial to contribute significant focus towards the landing page and other relevant entry points during the user journey mapping process to increase conversions. These pages and touchpoints create first impressions for users, and a well-optimised entry point can make the difference between a positive or negative perception of a brand and impact the likelihood of further engagement. Establishing a clear value proposition and attention-grabbing content is key for these pages as this reduces bounce rates and encourages users to explore the website further. Ensuring something as simple as the use of relevant keywords can improve a site’s search engine rankings which leads to more organic traffic. Optimising initial points of contact also entails a focus on a brand’s messaging and identity, reinforcing brand recognition and trust.
Strategic call-to-actions (CTAs) also guide users towards conversion actions. Placing CTAs where users are likely to see them (e.g. near the top of the page or within content) is likely to encourage users to engage. Contrasting colours, larger font sizes and bold styling are ways in which CTAs can be made more visually prominent, as well as through the use of compelling and persuasive language that drives the value and benefits of clicking on the CTA. CTAs should always be refined based on user feedback and performance data and tracked with analytics tools.
Ensuring mobile-friendly experiences
As mobile usage continues to grow, optimising user journeys for mobile devices is essential. Some key considerations when implementing a mobile-first approach include a web design that adapts to various screen sizes and ensuring that all content is concise and easy to read. Videos and infographics should be responsive on mobile devices, and navigation should be structured intuitively through the use of a hamburger menu and other mobile navigation patterns. Interactive elements and CTAs should ideally be within easy reach of a user’s thumb, and the platform should be optimised to facilitate fast loading times. Usability testing on mobile devices with users is also advisable to ensure that designs are guided by real insight.
To summarise, user journey mapping is invaluable for conversion rate optimisation, especially concerning landing pages and mobile optimisation. Visualising the entire journey allows for a comprehensive identification of pain points, user behaviour and preferences to improve and enhance the overall user experience.