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Journey Mapping: Visualizing the User Journey (DDN2-J04)


This job aid details how to create a user journey map to help visualize the intended user experience with a product or service, and to help visualize and design future improvements.

Published: April 23, 2024
Type: Job aid

Download as PDF (301 KB)

Journey map

This job aid explains how to create a journey map to visualize a user's experience of a product or service and visualize a new design.

Elements of a successful journey map:

  • User: the character that experiences the journey is the user you have selected to empathize with and highlight.
  • Scenario and expectations: the scenario describes the situation being addressed by the journey map and associated with the user's goal or need and their specific expectations.
  • Journey phases: the different high-level stages that offer structure to the content of the journey map.
  • Actions, mindsets and emotions: during each phase of the journey, a visual narrative highlights the decisions the user takes, along with their corresponding feelings and observations in completing their task.
  • Opportunities: opportunities are insights gained from identifying user gain points and pain points. They offer an understanding of an experience and its impact or even provide different solutions.


Journey maps can be used to:

  • create a holistic view and a visual story of a user's experience
  • empathize with users and better understand their gain points and pain points, as well as the context of the problem at hand

Desired outcome

The aim of the journey map is to create a visual representation of a user's journey with a product or service. It allows you to build more empathy with the user and ultimately to create better problem, challenge and opportunity statements, or to confirm whether or not the proposed solution addresses these statements.

When to use

  • At the beginning of the building or redesign of a product, service or program, to better understand the user experience and focus on the right problem to solve.
  • After testing prototypes and gathering feedback, to record and visualize how the proposed solution meets the needs of users and addresses the underlying problem.

Pairs well with these job aids

How to use

Follow the steps below to complete a journey map: 

  1. Scenario and user:
    • Define the scenario you wish to analyze.
    • Determine who the user is and what goal they are trying to achieve.
  2. Journey phases:
    • Define the main phases of the user's journey. For example, the phases of someone's retirement from the military could be "military service," "transition" and "civilian work."
  3. User journey:
    • Identify the sequence of actions taken by the user at every phase of the journey.
    • User thoughts and emotional curve:
    • Identify the corresponding feelings and observations. The user's emotions, thoughts, questions and motivations will be insights that can be refined later through user research.
  4. Opportunities:
    • Start listing potential opportunities on the journey map and map them to the user's pain points.

Journey map example

Journey map example
User Path Responses
Journey Phases
User Journey
User Thoughts
Emotional Curves
Potential Opportunities

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