What is a user journey anyway?

If you own a website, you may have heard the term “user journey” bandied around. As an important concept in web design, it’s a topic that’s well worth getting to grips with. Here’s all you need to know about a user journey.

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Definition

A user journey relates to the path or specific route a user takes to fulfil their goals when visiting a website. A user journey is typically made up of a number of steps that a user will follow to reach their goals. Different web users will have different user journeys.

Understanding user journeys

It’s crucial to understand the user journeys of your website so that you can identify any weaknesses that may exist in the path to achieve the desired user outcomes.

Creating a user journey is also undertaken by design professionals, such as Taunton web designers http://www.somersetwebservices.co.uk/, at the start of any website redesign project. By understanding user behaviour and identifying the paths to complete goals, a designer can help improve the navigation and functionality of a new site.

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Creating a user journey

According to The UX Review, before creating a user journey, you need to understand the goals of each user, their motivations, what their current pain points are, their characters and what tasks they want to achieve. This is called profiling the users.

Different web users have different goals, so it’s essential to create journeys that relate to every type of person who might be using your site.

There is no specific template or design for a user journey, and how you create one largely depends on your audience and who you are designing it for. In some cases, the user journey can be text-based, or it may include illustrations. Most user journeys consist of between four and 12 steps, representing the way users currently interact with your site or could interact with your site. Different web pages and decision points will be identified when proceeding from one step to another.

When redesigning a website, the designer will highlight any problems that hinder the smooth transition between steps, making the journey easier and more seamless. Although the goal of journey mapping is to create the shortest route to reach a user’s goals, often the designer has to find a mutual compromise between the needs of the user and the goals of the business.