User journey mapping

Every journey is made up of a series of touch points. Some of these touch points may be physical, some may be human, some completely intangible. Some maybe emotionally charged, whilst others positively bland and far less important. Regardless of the size and type of touch point, they all influence experience, joining together to make an end to end journey - whether that’s making a cup of tea, mowing the lawn or taking an STI test.

We started mapping fictional journeys very early to help visualise a user’s experience of SH24 in a semi-structured way. They provided us with a story of how users could/should interact with the service, what their emotions at each point would be and how these emotions would affect the remainder of their journey.

We defined our touch points by collecting user insights – talking to people in and outside of clinics (both current users and non-users of sexual health services). Whilst in the clinics, we offered users the opportunity to visually plot their own journeys. This helped us better understand motivations, perceptions and language, not to mention issues and opportunities.

Once we had a visual map informed by users, we engaged more people and refined over and over again, adding more and more clarity.

We produced a series of maps, using our insights to add a personal narrative around the factors which influence choice and experience - all from the user’s perspective. This unique perspective allowed us to clearly identify and empathise with issues, most of which represented opportunities for us.

Having produced countless end-to-end maps of both real and persona user journeys, we then began to break them down, focussing in on specific touch points. The point at which someone opens their test kit is a good example. Do they know the package they’re opening is a test kit? How easy is it to open? What’s inside the package? Is everything present? How does it work? Where are the instructions? How do they access additional help/support whilst doing the test? Where should they do the test? How do they know they’ve done it correctly? How do they pack it back up? What do they send it back in? Where and when do they post it back? How do they know it has successfully arrived at the lab? When do they expect to receive their results?

I think it’s fair to say that user journey maps are one of our most valued tools, not only allowing us to better understand our users behaviour and preferences (to enable us to improve the service for them) but also to provide a comparator for our competitor services – how many touch points do they have and what do they look, feel and sound like (and why)?