Learnings and tools for customer experience design
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Video tutorial: how to build a journey map with Smaply

5. October 2018

Video tutorial: how to build a journey map with Smaply

In these two video tutorials you get a quick overview on how to create a journey map with Smaply to get out the most of it.  

Part 1 of the video tutorial shows how to add a persona, how to create an outline and how to articulate stages. Often it is a good idea to start with the central point of your journey map. From there you can think about what happens before and what happens after. This method makes it easy to build a logical map. 

Part 2 of the video tutorial goes into more detail. You learn about adding, moving, pinning and hiding lanes. Furthermore all the Smaply lanes ware explained in more detail.

Now you’re ready for creating journey maps with Smaply – go and map your own product or service experience (the 14-day trial is for free and is not extended automatically).

Get your customer journey map cheat sheet to put on your desk as a reminder.

Transcript Video 1

Now that you’ve watched our persona video and created a few personas, let’s jump into making our first journey map. 

In this video we will cover how to: 

  1. Add personas to our journey map
  2. Create an outline of the journey map
  3. Articulate stages of the overall journey

Journey maps illustrate the experience of a person or a group of people over a period of time.  

It helps you to discover and communicate the user’s experience gaps and explore potential opportunities. 

If you’re curious about how to create researched based journey maps versus assumption based journey maps — check out our methods resources. 

This is what a final journey map looks like when created with Smaply. Something to look forward to! 

Okay, now let’s get to creating a journey map. 

On the Project Overview Page you can create a Journey Map in two places. First, In the upper left hand corner by clicking on the third icon of squares and secondly, in the middle of the page where it says create a journey map . 

You can title your journey map to get started. So, every journey map starts as a blank slate and looks like this, so you might be thinking — now what do I do?

Well, in order to get going we have to first add a persona. By the way, a persona could be specific customers or users, however you could also create an employee persona for employee journey maps, or any other stakeholder that might be useful for you.

So to start, we will add Tess as our first persona. 

Once you add a persona to the journey map you are automatically prompted to add a Step. 

So! Steps help you develop an outline or a high level view of the user’s journey. Each step should get a short title summarizing your persona’s activity or touchpoint. 

To add a second step, you can push the plus button to the right or the little arrow buttons here.  I usually add about 6 or 8 steps to start and add more steps as needed. 

A little tip: Often, It helps to start with the central point or goal of the experience and afterward ask yourself what happens before and what happens afterward. For this map — let’s say we want to illustrate the experience Tess has when buying a cup of coffee. The central point or goal in this case would be Tess enjoying a cup of coffee. So we might put that here on the overview and add or delete steps as we fill in our journey map. 

You can add or delete steps by pushing on the little arrows here. You can drag and drop steps by clicking on the steps and moving it. You can also choose to assign a certain color to each step to highlight specific points, although, I recommend adding colors at the end once you can see the entire journey. 

Now that we’ve created an outline let’s go through some of the steps. 

You’ll see that title lanes for each step show up in two places.

Up here and then directly below. You can choose to hide the second title lane if you find you only want an overview of each step. This feature may feel redundant, however, you may need both of these lanes if you decide to add multiple personas to a journey map.  Either way, you can also hide the overview if you’d like to focus just on the specific persona and their journey. 

So, I started with Tess’ experience at home in the morning. In this step she realizes she’s out of coffee, in the next step she decides to go to Café Bean, there are clearly several steps that she experiences before she gets to the point where she is enjoying a cup of coffee. There is also a lot of nuance to the experience but for now, we just stick with a brief label and we will add text lanes later. 

So, If you’d like, you can also add stages. Stages are essentially phases of the overall journey. They aggregate different steps and provide an even higher overview of the steps. Think of them as the meta narrative. Three different stages could be pre-service, service and post service. When you look at a complete journey map, stages help you to orient yourself and understand where you are in the overall experience.  

You can also click and drag the arrow for the stage to extend it over as many steps as you want. 

In this case, we created a stage of Tess’ time at home before coffee and labeled it pre-coffee.. 

Once you’ve labeled all of your steps and stages you have an overview or outline or your user’s journey. 

You can start adding more depth and description by adding lanes.  Smaply has six different lane types: text lanes, storyboards, channels, emotional journeys, dramatic arcs and backstage lanes.

We will cover how to create depth and expand on your user journeys with these six lane types in the next video. 

Transcript Video 2

In the last video we built a basic outline of our journey map with steps and stages. 

In this video we will add depth to our Journey Map with Lanes. 

Specifically, We will cover: 

  1. How to move, pin and hide lanes AND
  2. How to add lanes

Lanes are this part of the finished journey map.
Before we add more lanes by clicking here we should pin our feature title so that we don’t lose track of the titles once we start to add lanes. Pinning a lane essentially freezes it so it always stays at the top. 

You can choose to hide the second title lane if you find you only want an overview of each step. You may need both of these title lanes if you decide to add multiple personas to a journey map. 

There are six types of lanes we will work with.

Let’s start with text lanes. 

Text lanes help you further describe each step in more detail. 

But, you can also customize text lanes to include things like your team’s key learnings, and ideas.  

First, we assign a title and choose a persona for the lane. Each text description corresponds to a specific touchpoint or step. To add a description you click here and fill in your text. From there, you can bold the text, create a bullet point list, chose a larger font size, or mark-up specific text parts in bright yellow.

So! Here are a few of the text descriptions that we expanded on. As you saw you can dig into the nuance of each step. For example at this specific point Tess wakes up and that’s what we see in the title, however, with the text box we actually see that she is jet lagged and tired from her business trip to hong kong. 

Now let’s add a storyboard lane. Storyboards are useful as they expand on the user journey through images, screenshots of interfaces, quick scribbles or sketches. You can re-use images you’ve uploaded in any other journey map by picking them from your own Smaply image gallery.

So here is what your storyboard looks like with a few images. One of the things we like the most about storyboard lanes is that they allow you to quickly navigate the journey map and illustrate some of the context that might not be conveyed through text. 

So let’s continue with the channels lane. This swimlane format allows you to compare multiple forms of communication or resources, departments, essentially, anything you’d like to compare. 

We get started with channels by assigning a specific name and icon to our channel and add a persona. You could compare different types of communication and create an icon for in print and another for digital and assign different points along the journey where those kinds of communication come into play. 

As you probably noticed, your user can connect in their experience through multiple channels of communication. When you have more than one persona you can illustrate how several personas communicate with you or are communicated to — through different channels.

In this case we looked at something a little different. We looked at the resources each step required in Tess’ journey and analyzd money, time and technology use. Time was a resource that came into play early on in her journey although it switched to technology when she placed an order on her smartphone later. 

Another lane type is the emotional journey. This lane illustrates your persona’s satisfaction per step on a simple 5-point scale from – 2 to +2. You can enter data directly in any lane by clicking on the line where you want to add data. You can move those points simply by dragging the data point. You can also change the scale from numbers to smiley faces as well just by clicking on a point.

So let’s take a look at our emotional journey lane. In this example, Tess’ satisfaction drops to a -1 when she realizes she has no coffee at home and changes to a +1 when she remembers Cafe Bean is right around the corner. 

It tells a different story that you might not capture in your text or storyboard lane. 

A dramatic arc helps you illustrate how engaging different parts of the experience are. You can use another 5-point scale ranging from 1 (low) to 5 (high) to show this. 

You can build at Dramatic Arc in the same way as a emotional lane by clicking on the scale and inserting data points. 

Tess’ dramatic arc is at 5 when she realizes that she has no coffee and then again at 5 when she buys her cup of coffee at the cafe.  

Dramatic arcs help us reflect on the pace and rhythm of an experience. They can be used to analyze an existing experience as well as to plan a future concept along a desired dramatic arc.

So last but not least – backstage lanes. Backstage lanes show internal activities that are not visible to the user. These internal activities are, however, pretty crucial to deliver the product or service. They also illustrate the resources an organization needs to invest in to maintain a certain quality of service.

To add a backstage lane you have to first label what you’re considering in the backstage. In this case,  we’ve chosen the employee experience as our focus. We then add a specific icon and stakeholder or persona to follow in this backstage lane. In this case we’ve decided to look at the barista and café owner. So our backstage lane doesn’t start until Tess walks into the café. The owner of the café always comes up to greet the customers waiting in line. So we’ve added the icon for the owner of the coffee shop and then describe the interaction that is taking place.  

Well, From here you can add other personas to this map and illustrate their journey or export it to share with colleagues and clients. Or you can always move onto building stakeholder maps here. 

Either way, Congratulations! You’ve dug deep into journey mapping using Smaply! If you get stuck along the way or want to learn more about service design — feel free to contact us or check out our learning resources

Isabel helps us manage our online channels and provide our users with helpful learning materials and updates. Besides finishing her degree in tourism management she also does sports and loves cooking.