Journey map focussed on the emotional experience of a persona

In the end it’s all about communication: how to present journey maps to different audiences

October 12, 2020

Journey maps are a powerful tool for communicating customer experience both within our organization as well as with a variety of different stakeholders. The way in which information is presented plays an important role in engaging different groups of people allowing them to understand what is being communicated as well as using it as a basis for better decision making. 


Through an understanding of the different types of journey map formats we have available to us, we are able to generate powerful communication tools that are helpful in different ways and contexts within our organization.

In this article we take a quick look at the basics of how we communicate a journey maps, explore some of the different formats that are available to us as well as some fundamental principles that go into making versions of our journey maps that will be engaging and useful for our audience.

The value of creating a memorable journey map

We cannot begin an article about exporting journey maps without a quick intro into journey mapping itself. As a service design tool, journey mapping offers us a clear and logical framework that assists us to simplify and manage the complex world of our customer experience. Through the research and creation of journey maps we gain a deep understanding of the interactions that exist when people engage with our services, as well as the experiences and emotional journeys our customers pass through while receiving them.

The process that goes into creating quality journey maps is already of great value for our organization, however once completed if we relegate our journey maps to the back shelf to gather dust we are losing out on many of the benefits that they can offer us.

With the right ways of sharing our journey maps they can become powerful communication tools that can support service development within our organization as well as helping us engage and communicate with a wide range of different stakeholders. This is why it is important to understand the variety of different ways we are able to communicate using our journey maps so we can continue to gain value from what we have created.

So what makes for a great journey map export? Let’s explore some basic principles for what helps to create a powerful export that allows viewers to instantly connect with and understand the experience of our customers.

Short description of a persona and visualization of her journey focused on her emotional experience; example of an emotional journey export
Example of an emotional journey map export from Smaply: Anna's airport experience

Principles of great customer journey map exports

Being able to understand and communicate the experience of our customers to various stakeholders is a valuable skill. To increase the impact our journey maps have on our stakeholders we are able to leverage some important communication principles that help our audience to engage with and understand the information we are presenting.

These can be as simple as understanding the context of our audience, enhancing our maps with powerful visuals or presenting information in simple, beautiful ways which make them easier for others to understand and engage with.

Understand the context and needs of our audience

Understanding the way in which we should share our journey maps depends greatly on the context in which we wish to use it. Whether we are collaborating with a large group during a workshop, having a meeting with a small team or producing a document to communicate with stakeholders, what we are trying to achieve will determine how our journey map should be presented and the features of our journey we want to include, exclude or focus more attention on.

For example, if our purpose is to share and collaborate our journey map with a large group in such a way to drive collaboration it can be important to have the ability to export images or PDF files that can be printed in large formats that allow for people to clearly understand and work on a single document at the same time.

Perhaps we are presenting our journey map to a smaller audience or stakeholder group. For this situation a fully detailed journey map might not be entirely practical or feasible, therefore it is important that we are able to easily distill information down to a manageable size format for presentation, while still presenting content that is relevant to the audience we are communicating with.

When we take the time to consider how people will interact with and use our journey maps, we are better able to communicate and present them in ways that are helpful and useful.

Connect visually for better engagement, impact and collaboration  

Making our journey maps visual can be an effective way to draw in people’s attention, while at the same time assisting in their ability to retain important information that we are presenting. In psychology this is explored in the Picture Superiority Effect which explains how visual information is more readily remembered by people than words. For the way we export our journey maps, this means breaking free from simply relying on words and incorporating information in a variety of different and stimulating ways, such as through diagrams, images and the use of color.

We know that a large number of people are visual learners. For this reason it is important we don’t underestimate the impact that this type of information has for connecting with members of our audience with different learning styles.

By enhancing our journey maps with relevant imagery and iconography we make the narrative we are presenting more memorable for our viewers while also opening up our customer experience to a wider audience of visual learners who are better able to connect with and relate to our journey maps. If we are intending to create working documents, understanding these different learning styles can be important for driving participation and understanding within our team.

Color is also strongly linked with our emotional experience, it evokes different feelings in our viewers and it allows them to quickly understand the different emotions our customers are experiencing at different stages. Through the targeted use of color in our journey maps we are able to help our viewers to observe changes in a customers emotional journey using simple, non-verbal methods.

Presenting information in a visual way not only helps people to remember the information you are communicating, it can also assist in drawing people’s attention to important details, create more persuasive narratives as well as being overall more enjoyable to understand and interact with.

Aim for simplicity, while still being useful

Depending on how information is presented, it can be overwhelming for people to understand and take action on.

Simple is powerful.

Due to the quantity of information contained within a customer journey map we often want our journey maps to be presented in simple ways yet still have impact and retain the relevant information that our audience requires to have a proper understanding for the experience of our customers.

By having the power to modify and condense the information contained in our journey map we are able create focussed exports that help people understand and share important ideas. Whether we want our viewers to focus on specific stages of a customer’s journey, a certain persona or even the emotional component of someone’s experience.

visualization of a persona's journey focused on her emotional experience
Example of a persona's emotional experience at an airport
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.
Check out this article to learn more about personas!

How to share a journey map in different contexts?

Journey maps can be presented in different shapes and sizes depending on the context and needs of the audience we are working with. Whether this is working in a workshop setting with large groups, or presenting a simplified version of our journey map in a small meeting through a PowerPoint.

Context: Workshop

We may be required to share and develop our journey maps with large groups. Whether this is working with customers to validate what we have created, or working internally as a team to analyze and make sense of different journey maps.

Because of the amount of experience data that can be contained within a journey map size can quickly become a factor for how visible and understandable our maps are when they are printed.

Having large documents is great and opens up our maps for a large group of people to access, interact with and collaborate on at the same time.

Format: PDF/PNG

Having the ability to format our journey maps into PDF/PNG enables us to easily print and manage what we are sharing at a range of different scales, without compromising detail.

Context: Pitching a journey map

It is important that we are able to present our journeys in simple, clear formats that are easy to understand. When we are pitching an idea we need the most important information provided in a way that easily allows our audience to get the core idea and the correct information. Whether this is a group of stakeholders, a decision maker or a public presentation.

Format: PowerPoint

Being able to publish our journey maps into PowerPoint format allows us to quickly create compelling visual slides to accompany and enhance a presentation. Depending on the type of presentation we are giving we are able to quickly customise presentations that are suited to our audience and context.

Context: Analysis and calculations

Occasionally we are looking to manage and manipulate data held within our journey maps. We are not presenting our data so there is less of a requirement that it has high visual impact or is presented in a particularly pretty way, it just has to be functional.

Format: Excel spreadsheet

If we are looking for more of an analytical filetype to work with, we are able to convert our journey map into an Excel spreadsheet format. Having our map formatted this way allows us to quickly and easily calculate and compare numerical values held in our journey maps. Although this isn’t the most visual way to present our maps, it provides a highly functional document that can be used internally with teams to analyse and compare important data.

Context: Archiving

How we manage and archive our journey maps is important so that we are able to quickly access or reference our data when we need it. When we have completed journey maps held in a logical way (such as a journey map repository) that can be stored on the cloud or physically as a backup.


The types and forms in which we can share journey maps continue to grow, allowing us to gain more value from our existing maps by presenting them in interesting, understandable and engaging ways.

In Summary

The way in which we use and present our journey maps can have a significant effect on the way people are able to interact with, understand and connect with journeys of our customers.

Depending on the context and audience that we are using our journey map with will determine the best format in which we will choose to share and present it to others.

When we understand the full range of formats available to us we can efficiently produce helpful and powerful materials for communicating our customer experiences with stakeholders.

For more practical information on how to create different types of exports using Smaply, please visit our helpdesk or simply send us a message!  

And now?

Now it's about implementing what you've just learned: Create professional journey maps to present to your audience.

Smaply offers several types of exports, developed to help you present your journey maps to different audiences: handy posters for workshops, professional PowerPoint presentations for your client and visual emotional journey exports to bring folks onto the same page quickly.

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