UX / UI developers are commonly considered a mix between graphic designers and tech industry workers. They transform an understanding of business logic into new pages and feature designs. While this role does require an eye for aesthetics, it also requires deep empathy for the users of the app or service. UX / UI developers are more than visual designers. They are storytellers who must understand and build for the different stories their users may experience while using their products.

What is a User Journey Map?

Some UX / UI developers have a natural disposition and sense for creating apps and services that allow seamless user interactions and flows. This is only true for some leading designers of user journey maps. A user journey map is a visual document outlining the steps users take to accomplish a goal.

This goal could be anything from ordering a new pair of shoes or taking an online course to sending a message to a relative. Every goal has a shared set of components considered and decided on when creating the user journey map.

What Parts Make Up a User Journey Map?

A user journey map has five main components: the user or person, the environment, the journey phases, the actions, the mindset and emotions, and the opportunities. These components should give developers a complete picture of how users approach their designs.

The person component represents the end user of your app or service. You can consider any demographic needs you may need to account for when building your app, such as larger text for users with poor eyesight.

Once we know who uses the app, we want to find the scenario they use it. This is the reason for the user to approach our app. What are they trying to accomplish? Is their goal to buy a new pair of shoes? Or is it to check a news aggregator for a story on their favorite athlete? This is where we determine the motive and goal we are attempting to help our user accomplish.

We know who is using our app and why. Now, we must think about the steps that get them to their end goal. What steps must they take to get where they are going? Depending on how we structure the designs, this could take many steps. Say we are selling online courses for a learning platform.

There are many possible user journeys. Maybe they enter the site from the homepage and find a course to purchase from a banner. Or they get a message from a colleague and go to our website directly through the course's page. Whatever their entry point is, the journey has the same destination as we want them to get to a successful checkout message. We need to discover and map every possible journey before this is possible.

Once we have all journeys mapped out, we need to think about the emotions a user experiences at each point of the phase. Even if you are not selling a product or service, you can view this fourth component as building a sales funnel. We want to discover what steps in the journey may cause unease or hesitation. How do we remove friction from the process? How do we increase the enjoyment of the process? These are all parts of the actions, mindset, and emotions section.

The final component is opportunities, which come once the first four components are complete. This is a reflection and review stage in which UX / UI developers look at their user journey map and determine where to improve or refine the user experience. Opportunities are the final chance to make adjustments before the designs are built.

Industry Tools for Designing User Journey Maps

You can always sketch your user journey maps on a notepad, but in the industry, there are a standard set of tools used to store, collaborate and share maps. Figma is the most popular tool for user journey maps and UX / UI development.

Figma offers an array of pre-built templates, so you do not have to start from an empty design when you want to create a new map. These templates include many pre-designed, drag-and-drop components making it easy to transform ideas into digital form.

An older tool with a deeper catalog of templates is Sketch. Sketch is a web design app that has been around since 2010. Because of its longevity, it has an expansive library of templates to use or to build on.

An older tool with a deeper catalog of templates is Sketch. Sketch is a web design app that has been around since 2010. Because of its longevity, it has an expansive library of templates to use or to build on.

Learn More About UX / UI Development

UX / UI development includes user experience and empathy beyond the design portion. To create a great user experience, you must understand your users' goals, how your design and service help accomplish their goals, and how your design impacts or improves their ability to navigate through your app. If this sounds like a career you want to pursue, check out Thinkful's 5-month UX / UI Design Bootcamp!

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