Journey mapping offers one of the best ways to gather Intel on your customers.

Now that you know what Journey Mapping is and what it can reveal, we’re sure you’re wondering “How do we make sure we map it correctly? And when is the best time to do this? At what stage?”

Based on our experience and best practices, here’s what we recommend.

Qualitative and quantitative data

To do it right, you need both quantitative as well as qualitative data from a lot of different sources. Quantitative data can come from looking at metrics, analytics and even sending out surveys and compiling the responses. But that’s only half the picture.

To get the level of rich information that gives you insights, you need the qualitative data that comes from sitting down in interviews and asking users questions about their experience with this journey. “What were your challenges?  What were you thinking at this point? How did you accomplish your goal?” We can also do contextual research, where we observe the user on their journey… for instance, how they go about using a patient portal for a medical practice, what path do they take, when do they give up?

Every single client has been surprised by some key information our journey map has uncovered.

 A treasure map for opportunities

Every journey map holds a wealth of opportunities to better serve your customers or prospects.

By understanding their goals, their frustrations, their likes and dislikes, your team can solve problems before they become Big Problems and even offer your customers what they need before they know they need it.  (E.g. iPhone vs. flip phone. Remember those?) New products can be launched from a single touchpoint or insight. Likewise, you can find out if your team is overthinking and overcomplicating something planned for development.

Case in point:  Another large healthcare company asked us to create a patient portal that would hold all of the patient’s history, as well as past and future appointments, prescriptions, and more.  They had a long list of features that they felt strongly about implementing. The big “Aha!” from journey mapping revealed that this was serious overkill, and most of the features were superfluous in the patients’ eyes. In fact, all they wanted was an easy way to schedule appointments online instead of having to call the office. By simplifying the portal, the company showed that it understood their customers and was able to give them what they need. A more complex and robust portal would have caused confusion and been a major turnoff to the people it was designed to serve.

The best time for Journey Mapping

To get the most out of it, journey mapping is best done upfront, before strategies and plans are laid. As you’ve seen in the examples cited here, a good journey map can change the entire direction and scope of a product or program.

In fact, every single client who has done a journey map workshop with us has been surprised by some key information we’ve uncovered.  The real question is:  Do you want to be surprised before or after you commit your time, staff and financial resources to what you think is right?

The one thing you can do right now

As you’re planning your budgets for next  year, be sure to get your ducks in a row by allocating some funds right now for a journey map workshop in early 2016. The sooner you have your journey map, the better it will serve you and your team as a guide throughout development — whether you’re launching a new product or seeking ways to improve on an existing product.  So earmark January or February to get it done.

The actual workshops are one to two-day events that involve high-level decision makers from your company and key User Experience people from Medullan — in person, all in a big brainstorming room that is highly charged with energy, insights and ideas.

Make sure you plan now for yours. Want to know more? Just email Rebecca at [email protected].

If you missed our webinar on the topic – you can view it here.

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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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