User Journeys are yet another tool that fits within the User Experience design space.
They represent the mapping of a customers experience on a series of levels, from the emotional view, to technology use, issues, interfaces and services encountered; be that of varying products from any source.
It’s can be basically a timeline, if you like, from the birth of an idea (“I need a…”) to the end of life of the purchase or service (“this is not working..”).
Now this may sound all encompassing, and you may say “hey we already know about our product life cycles”, and that is fine.
However have you ever seen the processes your customers go through mapped in one place in a large schematic. All spread out so you can see the big picture. So you can walk the journey, comment on it. the chance to question and experiment with new ideas playing them against the existing journey.
Strategically I have found that this can be gold. Very often there will be points of conflict or joy that are being overlooked. It can also highlight new opportunities as well as inefficiencies in the overall service delivery.
Ideally these user journeys are aligned to an audience or customer based persona. The information used to map the journey is often from interviews or observational studies of customers.
Like with all UX based output the real value is in the discussion and collaborative design and research that is forthcoming as a result of examining the User Journey in detail.
Something to consider with your next project, mapping the user experience over the lifecycle of the product or service.