yellow background with writing: how to evaluate a journey map? ...6 aspects to consider

How to evaluate a journey map?

March 8, 2017

How worthy is a journey map? What aspects are to consider? In this article you learn about the six most relevant aspects to consider when evaluating a journey map.

Journey maps differ in many ways, depending on their focus, how they have been created and who has created them. Evaluating journey maps can be difficult, especially if you are restricted in time. So here come the six most important aspects that help you decide how valuable a journey map is and how much you can trust the content.

1. What’s the state?

Current-state journey maps represent a current experience and help to identify problems of opportunities. Future-state journey maps show a potential future reality and can help visualize it.
Current-state journey map vs. future-state journey map

Current-state maps describe how someone experiences an existing service or physical/digital product. Future-state journey maps visualize the potential experience someone might have with a not-yet-existing service or a physical or digital product.

2. What’s the data base?

A journey map can be based on assumptions or on actual research with the customer, user or end-user.
Assumption based vs. Research based journey maps

Another relevant point is the basis for a journey map, whether it depends on research or assumptions. Assumption-based journey maps are journey maps with content that is based on inference and not research data. They  are a good starting point, but they should always be tested with relevant stakeholders and evolve eventually into a research-based journey map through research or prototyping.

Research-based journey maps are journey maps with content that is based on research data collected from relevant stakeholders. These are the maps that should be consulted for making decisions.

Link to Customer experience research: You will learn what customer experience research is, why it is important, how to conduct is and some methods you can use.
Check out this article if you want to learn more about customer experience research!

3. What’s the level of detail?

A journey map can have different zoom levels, it can either focus an end to end experience or on a specific part of the journey with smaller interactions.
High level perspective vs. detailed scope

Journey maps can be high-level or detailed perspective, depending on how detailed the steps are described. The more you zoom out, the longer the experience you illustrate, though with less details. The more you zoom in, the time span of the experience is shorter, but with more details.

High lever customer journey with different steps and customer interactions.
A high level perspective on a customer journey…
One step of the high level customer journey can also be split up into more smaller steps and interactions.
…can be split up into smaller steps.

4. What’s the focus?

A customer journey map can focus on  a customer's interaction with your service or product or it can focus on his whole experience in general.
Product-focused vs. experience-focused customer journey maps

A product-centered journey map represents an interaction between a customer with a service, physical or digital product, or a brand. These journey maps leave out all steps outside the reach of a company. They can be useful to illustrate a specific and rather detailed experience, such as the onboarding experience to a software or to visualize a very high-level  experience, such as customer lifecycle maps. Experience-centered journey maps reflect the situational context and show how touchpoints are embedded in the overall experience. It can lead to better insights of what people really want to achieve and not only how they interact with a company.

5. Who’s the actor of interest?

The main actor of a journey map can be a customer, an employee or e user and  is always represented by a persona.
A persona represents your main actor in your journey map

Journey maps always have a main actor, illustrated by a persona. A persona is a rich description of a fictional person who exemplifies a specific group of people. Even though personas are fictional, they help make groups of people with similar service needs more understandable.

Link to basics of personas article: You will learn what personas are, why you need them, how to research, define and create them and some templates and a cheat sheet.
Learn more about personas here!

6. How helpful are the visualizations?

You can use images, skethces or graphs to better visualize you customer journey.
Visualizations make it easier to empathize.

A customer journey map is often supported by rich media, as images, graphs etc. These visualizations make it easier for the team to “step into the shoes” of different customers. There are several options for visualizing. Which ones are useful depends on the subject matter of the project and sometimes lanes must be altered to serve the project’s purpose.

Read to give it a try? We've prepared a demo project for you on Smaply, perfect for you to play around with a real-life project and get a better understanding of what's important about a journey map.

Analyze the Smaply demo project