Rapid Journey Mapping



Rapid Journey Mapping


Welcome to NextGenUX, where we explore the benefits of strategic UX research and help you ride the wave to better innovation.

I’m Karyn Zuidinga, founder and CEO of NextWave Innovation. What is a journey map? A journey map is a visual visualization of the process that a person goes through in order to accomplish a goal. 

Journey maps are awesome. Love them. They’re amazing tools. They can support all manner of things, but people often shy away from them because of the effort in talking to so many people and then synthesizing and analyzing all that information and then producing the artifact. It can take so long to produce, the product team will have moved on. 

Introducing rapid journey mapping. It produces great results in much less time than typical. 

I want to just say thank you to Rob Rodnick at Sierra Learning Solution. I learned this method from him and loved it from the get go. 

So what exactly is it? Instead of one-to-one ethnographic interviews with users, Rapid Journey Mapping gets groups of users to place sticky notes on a predefined journey. I like to do this remotely using video meeting and virtual whiteboard tools.

Here are some of the advantages. You can talk to many people very quickly. I’ve done this work across several segments, having dozens of participants across several time zones, generating over 2000 sticky notes and fantastic journey maps and personas produced in less than a month.

You get the power of the group, but not groupthink. Because this isn’t a focus group, you avoid some of the challenges of focus groups. 

And finally, users feel really heard. It’s a very direct way of people giving you input. They’re writing stuff down, and they’re putting it on a sticky note, and they’re putting it on a board for you. You also wind up getting great data, and from that, great insights. 

This is a sample of a journey map I produced. Using this method, the results are very rich. But, if you’re going to do this thing, I’m going to throw some cautions at you. The first one, this is not a focus group. Don’t treat it like one. There’ll be a strong temptation to allow time for a lot of talk. Humans and groups, especially if they’re charismatic extroverts, you want to talk. As a facilitator of the session, you will want to gently and respectfully guide your people to put their ideas onto sticky notes and place them on the board.

This is also a little disorienting for UX researchers who are used to talking to people. Trust the sticky notes. They are your data. 

Lay out your whiteboard so it’s easy to know what to do. I personally like having these four separate lanes. I’ve got actions, thoughts, feelings, and opportunities for improvement, and I get people to put their sticky notes according to those things.

Sometimes you’ll be asked, couldn’t we do this asynchronously? Uh, don’t. I’ve tried it and never gotten good results this way. This applies to working through each row of the journey map, too. People will want to jump ahead and be done. Don’t let that happen. You want to leverage the power of the group if you can.

I’m Karyn Zuidinga. I’m an innovation researcher and designer with a passion for exploring the periphery. I specialize in leading strategic UX research to drive innovation. Moving from insight to action, I work with my clients to bring good ideas to life. 

Thank you for listening.