Customer Journey Maps

Your constantly-updated definition of Customer Journey Maps and collection of videos and articles

What are Customer Journey Maps?

Customer journey maps are used to map the relationship between a customer and an organization over time and across all channels on which they interact with the business. Design teams use customer journey maps to see how customer experiences meet customers’ expectations and find areas where they need to improve designs.

Data often fails to communicate the frustrations and experiences of customers. A story can do that, and one of the best storytelling tools in business is the customer journey map.”

— Paul Boag, UX designer, service design consultant & digital transformation expert

Here is Frank Spillers with more on how to include journey maps in your design process.

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Customer Journey Maps – Tell Customer Stories

Customer journey maps are research-based tools which design teams use to reveal typical customer experiences over time and visualize the many dimensions and factors involved. These enable brands to learn more about target users. Team members examine tasks and questions (e.g., what-ifs) regarding how a design meets or fails to meet customers’ needs over time when they encounter a product or service. Therefore, these maps should be detail-rich timelines that show the most important sub-tasks and events. Over this timeline framework, you add insights of what customers think and feel when proceeding along the timeline. The map should consist of:

  1. A timescale – a defined journey period (e.g., 1 week) including selected areas from awareness to conversion and beyond.

  2. Scenarios – the context and sequence of events in which a user/customer must achieve a goal (e.g., a user wants to buy a ticket on the phone), from first actions (recognition of a problem) to last actions (e.g., subscription renewal).

  3. Touchpoints what customers do while interacting and how they do it.

  4. Channels where they perform actions (e.g., Facebook).

  5. Thoughts and feelings -what the customer thinks and feels at each touchpoint.

The goal of a customer journey map is to gain an understanding of how the customer experience develops over time and show that in a deliverable which everyone in the organization can appreciate. It allows you to discover possible problems and improve the design so it’s more likely to exceed customers’ expectations at all touchpoints.

How to Make Customer Journey Maps for Exceptional Experiences

To create a customer journey map, you can follow these steps:

  1. Define your Map’s Business Goal – Clarify who will use your map and what user experience it will address.

  2. Conduct Research – Use customer research to determine customer experiences at all touchpoints. Get analytical/statistical data and anecdotal evidence through, e.g., customer interviews, surveys, social media listening and competitive intelligence.

  3. Review Touchpoints and Channels – List customer touchpoints (e.g., pay a bill) and channels (e.g., online). Look for additional touchpoints or channels to include.

  4. Make an empathy map – Pinpoint what the customer does, thinks, feels, says, hears, etc. in a given situation. Then, determine his/her needs and how he/she feels throughout the experience. Focus on barriers and sources of annoyance.

  5. Sketch the Journey – Piece together everything (touchpoints, timescale, empathy map output, new ideas, etc.) however you like(e.g., a map). You want to show a customer’s course of motion through touchpoints and channels across the timescale, including his/her feelings at every touchpoint.

  6. Iterate and Refine – Revise and transform your sketch into the best-looking version of the ideal customer journey.

  7. Share with Stakeholders – Ensure all stakeholders have your map, understand it and appreciate how its use will bring beneficial changes to customers and across the organization.

Once the map is ready, you should measure the enhanced journey’s results. For instance, check key performance indicators (KPIs). The more touchpoints there are, the more complex the map will be. In any case, your entire organization should soon notice its value as a revisable, “living” document because members from all sections will have a common reference point for a wider, sharper customer focus.

Our Customer Journey Map template features 3 zones (top – persona and scenario; middle – thoughts, actions and feelings; bottom – insights and progress barriers).

Learn More about Customer Journey Maps

Take our Journey Mapping course.

Here are some compelling Customer Journey Maps.

This empathy-themed piece features an activity and field tips.

Find some additional insights here.

Questions related to Customer Journey Maps

How to create a customer journey map?

Creating a customer journey map requires visually representing the customer's experience with your product or company. Harness the strength of visual reasoning to understand and present this journey succinctly. Instead of detailing a lengthy narrative, like a book, a well-crafted map allows stakeholders, whether designers or not, to grasp the journey quickly. It's a democratized tool that disseminates information, unifies teams, and aids decision-making by illuminating previously unnoticed or misunderstood aspects of the customer's journey.

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What are the 5 stages of customer journey?

The customer journey encompasses five distinct stages that guide a customer's interaction with a brand or product:

  1. Awareness: The customer becomes aware of a need or problem.

  2. Consideration: They research potential solutions or products.

  3. Purchase: The customer decides on a solution and makes a purchase.

  4. Retention: Post-purchase, the customer uses the product and forms an opinion.

  5. Advocacy: Satisfied customers become brand advocates, sharing their positive experiences.

For a comprehensive understanding of these stages and how they intertwine with customer touchpoints, refer to's in-depth article.

What is perspective grid workshop?

A perspective grid workshop is a activity that brings together stakeholders from various departments, such as product design, marketing, growth, and customer support, to align on a shared understanding of the customer's journey. These stakeholders contribute unique insights about customer needs and how they interact with a product or service. The workshop entails:

  1. Creating a matrix to identify customers' jobs and requirements, not initially linked to specific features.

  2. Identifying the gaps, barriers, pains, and risks associated with unmet needs, and constructing a narrative for the journey.

  3. Highlighting the resulting value when these needs are met.

  4. Discuss the implied technical and non-technical capabilities required to deliver this value.

  5. Brainstorming possible solutions and eventually narrowing down to specific features.

The ultimate aim is to foster alignment within the organization and produce a user journey map based on shared knowledge. 

Learn more from this insightful video:

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Why customer journey mapping is important?

Customer journey mapping is vital as it harnesses our visual reasoning capabilities to articulate a customer's broad, intricate journey with a brand. Such a depiction would otherwise require extensive documentation, like a book. This tool offers a cost-effective method to convey information succinctly, ensuring understanding of whether one is a designer or lacks the time for extensive reading. It also helps the team to develop a shared vision and to encourage collaboration.  Businesses can better comprehend and address interaction points by using a journey map, facilitating informed decision-making and revealing insights that might otherwise remain obscured. Learn more about the power of visualizing the customer journey in this video.

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What are the pain points in the customer journey map?

Pain points in a customer journey map represent customers' challenges or frustrations while interacting with a product or service. They can arise from unmet needs, gaps in service, or barriers faced during the user experience. Identifying these pain points is crucial as they highlight areas for improvement, allowing businesses to enhance the customer experience and meet their needs more effectively. Pain points can relate to various aspects, including product usability, communication gaps, or post-purchase concerns. Explore the detailed article on customer journey maps at Interaction Design Foundation for a deeper understanding and real-world examples.

What are the benefits of customer journey mapping?

Customer journey mapping offers several key benefits:

  1. It provides a holistic view of the customer experience, highlighting areas for improvement. This ensures that products or services meet users' needs effectively.

  2. The process fosters team alignment, ensuring everyone understands and prioritizes the customer's perspective.

  3. It helps identify pain points, revealing opportunities to enhance user satisfaction and loyalty.

  4. This visualization allows businesses to make informed decisions, ensuring resources target the most impactful areas.

To delve deeper into the advantages and insights on journey mapping, refer to Interaction Design Foundation's article on key takeaways from the IXDF journey mapping course.

What is the customer journey map in design thinking?

In design thinking, a customer journey map visually represents a user's interactions with a product or service over time. It provides a detailed look at a user's experience, from initial contact to long-term engagement. Focusing on the user's perspective highlights their needs, emotions, pain points, and moments of delight. This tool aids in understanding and empathizing with users, a core principle of design thinking. When used effectively, it bridges gaps between design thinking and marketing, ensuring user-centric solutions align with business goals. For a comprehensive understanding of how it fits within design thinking and its relation to marketing, refer to Interaction Design Foundation's article on resolving conflicts between design thinking and marketing.

What is the difference between a customer journey map and a user journey map?

A customer journey map and a user journey map are tools to understand the experience of users or customers with a product or service.

  • A customer journey map is a broader view of the entire customer experience across multiple touchpoints and stages. It considers physical and digital channels, multiple user personas, and emotional and qualitative aspects.

  • A user journey map is a detailed view of the steps to complete a specific task or goal within a product or service. It only considers digital channels, one user persona, and functional and quantitative aspects.

Both are useful to understand and improve the experience of the users or customers with a product or service. However, they have different scopes, perspectives, and purposes. A customer journey map provides a holistic view of the entire customer experience across multiple channels and stages. A user journey map provides a detailed view of the steps to complete a specific task or goal within a product or service.

While user journeys might emphasize specific tasks or pain points, customer journeys encapsulate the entire experience, from research and comparison to purchasing and retention. 

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What is the difference between a customer journey map and a service blueprint?

Customer journey maps and service blueprints are tools to understand and improve the experience of the users or customers with a product or service. A customer journey map shows the entire customer experience across multiple touchpoints and stages. It focuses on the front stage of the service, which is what the customers see and experience. It considers different user personas and emotional aspects.

A service blueprint shows how a service is delivered and operated by an organization. It focuses on the back stage of the service, which is what the customers do not see or experience. It considers one user persona and functional aspects. What are the steps that the customer takes to complete a specific task or goal within the service? What are the channels and devices that the customer interacts with at each step?

Where to learn more about customer journey mapping?

For an immersive dive into customer journey mapping, consider enrolling in the Interaction Design Foundation's specialized course. This course offers hands-on lessons, expert guidance, and actionable tools. Furthermore, to grasp the course's essence, the article “4 Takeaways from the IXDF Journey Mapping Course” sheds light on the core learnings, offering a snapshot of what to expect. These resources are tailored by industry leaders, ensuring you're equipped with the best knowledge to craft impactful customer journey maps.

Literature on Customer Journey Maps

Here’s the entire UX literature on Customer Journey Maps by the Interaction Design Foundation, collated in one place:

Learn more about Customer Journey Maps

Take a deep dive into Customer Journey Maps with our course Journey Mapping .

This course will show you how to use journey mapping to turn your own complex design challenges into simple, delightful user experiences. If you want to design a great shopping experience, an efficient signup flow or an app that brings users delight over time, journey mapping is a critical addition to your toolbox. 

We will begin with a short introduction to mapping — why it is so powerful, and why it is so useful in UX. Then we will get familiar with the three most common types of journey map — experience maps, customer journey maps and service blueprints — and how to recognize, read and use each one. Then you will learn how to collect and analyze data as a part of a journey mapping process. Next you will learn how to create each type of journey map, and in the final lesson you will learn how to run a journey mapping workshop that will help to turn your journey mapping insights into actual products and services. 

This course will provide you with practical methods that you can start using immediately in your own design projects, as well as downloadable templates that can give you a head start in your own journey mapping projects. 

The “Build Your Portfolio: Journey Mapping Project” includes three practical exercises where you can practice the methods you learn, solidify your knowledge and if you choose, create a journey mapping case study that you can add to your portfolio to demonstrate your journey mapping skills to future employers, freelance customers and your peers. 

Throughout the course you will learn from four industry experts. 

Indi Young will provide wisdom on how to gather the right data as part of your journey mapping process. She has written two books, Practical Empathy and Mental Models. Currently she conducts live online advanced courses about the importance of pushing the boundaries of your perspective. She was a founder of Adaptive Path, the pioneering UX agency that was an early innovator in journey mapping. 

Kai Wang will walk us through his very practical process for creating a service blueprint, and share how he makes journey mapping a critical part of an organization’s success. Kai is a talented UX pro who has designed complex experiences for companies such as CarMax and CapitalOne. 

Matt Snyder will help us think about journey mapping as a powerful and cost-effective tool for building successful products. He will also teach you how to use a tool called a perspective grid that can help a data-rich journey mapping process go more smoothly. In 2020 Matt left his role as the Sr. Director of Product Design at Lucid Software to become Head of Product & Design at Hivewire. 

Christian Briggs will be your tour guide for this course. He is a Senior Product Designer and Design Educator at the Interaction Design Foundation. He has been designing digital products for many years, and has been using methods like journey mapping for most of those years.  

All open-source articles on Customer Journey Maps

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