Predicting how people are going to use web services is a tricky thing. How can we plan for the device they will use to interact with your services?
I look up recipes on my phone in the kitchen. I browse Airbnb while watching Netflix in the sitting room. I open my laptop and list some pre-loved clothes on eBay. I edit photos on my desktop in the office. I go for a run and track it on my Fitbit. Sometimes I use multiple devices to complete a single task. I begin with a task and a goal but there is no specific device that I use for my journey. Instead of focusing on how something looks on a particular device we should think about the journey and help our users complete their tasks.
Focusing on the user journey will make our design choices more meaningful and our user experience more successful.
Mapping the user journey
Mapping the user journey allows us to focus on how people accomplish their goals. We can give them a task and research how they go about it. At each stage we ask questions about their journey e.g.
- What are they trying to achieve?
- What do they want to know?
- How do they interact with the organisation?
- How do they feel?
- Do they fail or run into any dead ends?
Answers to these questions tell us a user story. We can then create personas to map the ideal experience. Focusing on touchpoints (email, social media, phone call, post, website) through each stage will shape the design and allow us to control what users experience through each stage of the process.
This research informs the first stage of the scoping stage of a digital project. Wireframes and interactions can relate back to our journey narrative and keep our planning on track towards creating the ideal experience.
Designing with a journey in mind and not a device will make sure we stay relevant as devices evolve and change.