Defining the User Journey in UI Design
It’s no longer enough to simply understand the basic needs of a user. A site must be designed and developed to cater to the actions and perceptions that occur at all touchpoints. Whether a marketer, UX designer or developer – the goal of understanding the user experience to engage and make conversions applies to all. There are many ways to gather information to more clearly understand the user with most becoming more advanced as greater importance is placed on UI/UX.
The process of journey mapping delivers insights needed to create storytelling opportunities and perspectives. Because a journey map is comprised of an overall view of an individuals relationship and lifecycle with a brand, service or product – all forms of user research should be leveraged to compile the most information to work from.
Testing, analytics, surveys, and tracking are a good place to begin when gathering information for the journey mapping process. These sources can provide insight to pain points, conversion rates and drop points. One caveat is that analytical data can be notoriously unforgiving and easy to misinterpret – while they show actual user actions, they lack motivations and reasoning to truly know what the user was intending with each click of the mouse.
While it may be more involved – qualitative research offers a more ‘personal’ approach to gathering journey data. Activities such as interviews, field studies and focus groups – this method will deliver the most authentic information inclusive of users emotions, goals, thoughts, feelings and motivations.
Ideally, cross-functional teams should collaborate to compile each segments data, avoiding duplication and irrelevant information. It’s important to remember that a journey map isn’t simply a play by play of the user’s experience, it is a key to uncovering the user’s needs. After the map is developed, a plan for implementation should be put into place with the aligning stakeholders to determine styling and development. As the information can change with user’s preference, it’s essential to leverage the information soon after the process and continually optimize.1