In the last post, we talked about how Journey Mapping can save you from making false assumptions about your customers. And trust us. Every single client we’ve ever worked with has some assumptions that are surprisingly wrong.

It’s not a crime. But it can be disastrous, depending on how wrong you are, how much money you’ve expended in the wrong direction, and how late in the game you find out.

These pivotal insights will help you avoid risk and develop truly human-centered products that succeed.

Insight #1: How do they think?

One of the many advantages of journey mapping is the ability to create a high level mental model that chronicles how people really think while going through the experience.

You’d be surprised at how often a company discovers that they don’t know their customers as well as they thought they did.

For instance, we just built a website for a large company that helps people find health insurance through their employer. The company believed that the best way to approach this was to treat it as a retail shopping experience, where customers could choose the insurance options they wanted and place them in a shopping cart. So we said, “Let’s see if this is true.”

Within days, we created an experience and tested it out with users. What we heard was an overwhelming, “NO! I’m not shopping. I’m getting insurance. Why do I have a cart? I don’t want a cart.”

By getting a reality check and revising the mental model, our client was able to shift their approach and avoid building a website that was nothing like what customers wanted.

Where do they stumble? What ticks them off? That’s where your company can be the hero.

Insight #2: What do they do?

The journey map also highlights various touch points that the user interacts with along the way and what happens at those touch points – whether it’s searching online, talking on the phone,  meeting face-to-face,  communicating via text or email, etc.

These touchpoints include interactions with your competitors, other companies, products and people to give you the birds eye view of what is involved. Who do they come in contact with? What channels are they using? How are they gathering information along the way?  Just one key touchpoint might be the catalyst for a solution that  better addresses the needs of your customers.”We know people are having trouble right here, what are we doing about this next step?”

Insight #3: How do they feel about it?

It’s not enough to understand how they go about getting from A to Z on their journey. The gold lies in understanding and tracking their emotions. Where are they frustrated? Where are they confused? Where do you lose them? Also, where do they feel a sense of accomplishment or enjoyment? How can you build on that?

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Rebecca Lord is an accomplished UX professional with over a dozen years of experience in the field, specializes in creating simple, elegant, and human-centered digital experiences. As Vice President of User Experience at Medullan, Rebecca works with some of the biggest names in healthcare, such as Illumina, helping them to crack the code on designing digital health solutions that drive adoption and impact. Prior to joining Medullan as a UX manager in 2013, Lord spent seven years at Oracle Endeca as a UX designer in consulting, engineering and marketing. She also spent five years at Forrester research as a web designer. Lord received a BA from Connecticut College in anthropology, studio art and art history.

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