Journey Mapping 101: Fundamentals and Best Practices

Robert Goesch • 14.07.2023
Robert Goesch

One of the key tools in our toolkit is called »Journey Mapping«. It's a way for understanding what the customer or user is experiencing as they work towards a specific goal. A customer journey map helps us learn about the customer's experience across touchpoints at each stage of their journey, from the moment they first discover a product to after they've purchased it. In this article, we'll walk you through the fundamentals of journey mapping and provide practical tips and examples to help you get started.

Black and white photo of a detailed journey map wall covered with sticky notes, sketches, and photos in a user journey mapping design session.

What is Journey Mapping?

  • Customer Experience
  • User-Centric Design
  • Product Management
  • Product Innovation
  • Customer Insights
  • Stakeholder Alignment

A journey map is a visual representation of the customer's experience as they interact with a product or service. It typically includes the customer's goals, actions, emotions (even though we encourage you to not go this way), and pain points at each touchpoint, from discovery to purchase and beyond. By creating a journey map, you can gain a deeper understanding of the customer's perspective and identify areas for improvement that can enhance the overall customer experience.

Why is Journey Mapping Important?

Journey mapping is important for several reasons. First, it helps you see the customer's experience from their perspective, which can lead to more user-centric products and services. Second, it helps you identify pain points and opportunities for improvement, which can lead to better conversion rates, customer retention, and loyalty. Finally, it can help align stakeholders around the customer's jobs and goals, which can lead to a more effective product development process.

Types of Journey Maps

Journey maps come in different types, each serving a unique purpose to help businesses understand their customers better. Here are two of the most common types of journey maps:

Current State (As Is) Journey Maps

A current state, or “as is” journey map, is a visual representation of the customer’s current experience with a product. This type of journey map focuses on mapping out the customer’s existing touchpoints, pain points, and overall experience while using a product or service. By understanding the current state of the customer’s journey, businesses can identify areas of improvement and create solutions to enhance the customer experience.

Future State (To Be) Journey Maps

A future state, or “to be” journey map, is a visual representation of the ideal customer experience that a company wants to create. This type of journey map focuses on mapping out the desired customer touchpoints, interactions, and experience a company wants to provide. Future state journey maps are helpful in identifying the gaps between the current and desired customer experience and developing strategies to bridge those gaps.

By understanding the different types of journey maps, businesses can select the one that aligns best with their goals and objectives. Each type of journey map provides a unique perspective on the customer experience and helps businesses identify areas of improvement to enhance the overall customer experience.

How to kickoff your Journey Map?

If you start from scratch, creating a journey map involves several steps. The first step is to map out the customer journey based on your own expertise and assumptions. We call this an »assumption map.« Then, you you should consider to conduct research to validate your assumptions and gather data to fill in any gaps. You can use different research methods, like surveys, interviews, and analytics, to get the information you need. Anyway, from here you can create a narrative visualization, which is a high-fidelity map that highlights the strengths, weaknesses, and overall potential of the customer journey.

Depending on where you are in your product life cycle, we pursue different goals with Journey Mapping. 

Journey Mapping during Introduction

In the early stages of product development, we examine the context in which your product will operate. We support the product team with insight into the pain points and identify opportunities so that your solution addresses a suitable problem.

Journey Mapping during Growth

The more popular your product becomes, the more important it is to understand how customers use it and how it fits into their lives. We uncover gaps and weaknesses in the journey, so you can develop features that meet customer needs, improve the customer experience and capitalise on growth opportunities.

Journey Mapping during Maturity

In this phase, your product faces more competition. Armed with knowledge of market potential, strengths, weaknesses, and the jobs of your customers, we redraw the journey and create aspirational targets that help you to design change processes and remain competitive.

The path to your Journey Map depends on where you are and where you are heading. We help you to pave it and to walk it. In any case, we want to encourage you to get started. From then on, you have a living object that you can continue to study and correct. 

Eine Person in einem dunkelgrünen Hemd und mit einer schwarzen Kappe, von hinten gesehen, klebt gelbe Post-It-Notizen an eine Wand und beschriftet eine mit "YouTube". Andere Notizen sind teilweise sichtbar
Together, we will chart your Journey Map for a perfect fit

Analyzing Journey Maps for UX Insights

Ein Foto zeigt die Hand einer Person, die einen Marker hält und an einem komplexen Flowchart auf einer weißen Tafel arbeitet. Das Diagramm enthält mehrere Schritte, Entscheidungspunkte und Aktionen, die mit handgeschriebenen Notizen, Pfeilen und Checkmarken verbunden sind.

How Telekom closes weaknesses and gaps with the help of Journey Maps

Once you have completed your customer journey mapping, the next step is to analyze the data to identify pain points and opportunities for improvement. Here are some key steps to follow:

  1. Review the Journey Map: Take a step back and look at the journey map as a whole. Identify patterns, recurring themes, and areas where customer’s experience frustration, confusion, or bottlenecks.
  2. Identify Key Moments: Look for key moments or touchpoints in the journey that stand out as particularly positive or negative. These moments may be critical for the customer's overall experience, and you can use them to focus your efforts on improving the journey.
  3. Quantify the Data: Use metrics to quantify the data, such as time spent on a task, completion rates, and customer satisfaction scores. These metrics can help you pinpoint where customer’s are struggling and prioritize which pain points to address first.
  4. Identify Opportunities: Once you have identified pain points, you can start brainstorming opportunities for improvement. Consider what changes you can make to the customer journey to reduce friction, increase engagement, and create a more satisfying customer experience.

By analyzing your journey map, you can gain valuable insights into the customer experience and identify opportunities for improvement. Use these insights to drive your design decisions and create a user-centric product or service.

Best Practices for Journey Mapping

When it comes to creating effective journey maps, here are some tips to keep in mind:

  • Keep it real: Make sure your map reflects the actual experience of your customer’s. Uncover your own biases and reality check your assumptions to be more certain.
  • Collaborate: Bring together stakeholders from across the organization to contribute their insights to the journey map. This will help ensure that everyone is aligned around the customer's needs and goals.
  • Focus on jobs: Do not assign your target audience to socio-demographic segments, instead divide customers by their jobs. Group together everyone who has a common concern that you’d like to help them address. 
  • Determine your goals: One journey mapping is not the same as another. In each phase of your product's lifecycle, you can gain different insights to shape the product experience. Think about your goals in advance to get the most out of your journey map.
  • Iterate: Journey mapping is an iterative process. You may need to go back and refine your journey map based on your analysis and insights. You can also continue to iterate on your journey map over time as you gather more data and feedback from customers.

Using Journey Maps in Product Development

A man in a casual sweatshirt and beanie is attentively placing a sticky note on a wall filled with colorful notes during a journey mapping session.

How Ryzon uses Journey Maps to investigate their customer experience.

Now that you have a customer journey map in hand, here are some ways you can use it to inform product development decisions:

  1. Get organized: Use your journey map to create a prioritized list of features to develop based on the customer's goals and pain points that come with their job. This will help ensure that you are focusing on the most important areas first.
  2. Design for the user: Use the insights from your journey map to inform your UX design decisions. By also considering your customers habits and constraints, you can create designs that are truly user-centric.
  3. Feed your research plan: Use blind spots and insights to raise relevant research questions and validate corresponding hypotheses. This will help choose the right research method to unlock potentials efficiently. 
  4. Get buy-in: Share your journey map with stakeholders across the organization to help build consensus around the customer's needs and goals. This will help ensure that everyone is aligned around a common vision for the product.
  5. Drive customer-centric change: Use this technique to involve customers in the product development process and ensure that their needs and expectations are met. This will help make informed decisions about customer experience investments.


Journey mapping is a valuable tool for anyone involved in product development. By mapping out the customer's exprience across touchpoints, you can gain a deeper understanding of their jobs, goals and pain points, and identify opportunities for improvement. By following the best practices outlined above, you can create effective customer journey maps that inform your product development decisions and lead to more user-centric designs. Happy mapping!

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