product development

06 FEB 2023

Designing user experiences using CJM and User Flows

Understanding user needs and behaviours through visualisations

Customer Journey Maps (CJM) and user flows are two important tools that help to create a better user experience. They provide insight into how users interact with a product or service, and how they may feel at different stages of their journey. This understanding can be used to create more intuitive and enjoyable user experiences.

Customer Journey Maps are visual representations of the steps a customer takes while interacting with a product or service. They help to understand the customer's perspective and identify areas where the experience might be confusing or frustrating. A CJM typically includes a timeline of the customer's interactions, their thoughts, feelings, and actions at each stage.

For example, a CJM for productivity tools could include stages such as:

  1. Awareness: Identifying a need for a productivity tool, such as project management and time tracking.
  2. Research: Researching and comparing different options.
  3. Selection: Signing up for a free trial or purchasing a subscription.
  4. Integration: Integrating the tool into daily workflows and tasks.
  5. Customer support: Receiving customer support or assistance as needed.

In contrast, user flows focus on the specific actions a user takes within a product. They detail the steps users take to complete tasks, such as making a purchase or finding information. User flows can help make the user experience more efficient and streamlined. They are often presented as flowcharts, with each box representing a step and arrows showing the progression from one step to the next.

For example, a fintech app's user flow could include the following steps:

  1. The user launches the app and logs into their account.
  2. They navigate to the Expenses Tracking feature, which can be found in the app's Menu or Dashboard.
  3. The user selects the option to add a new expense. This requires entering a description, amount, and date.
  4. The app asks the user to categorize their expense, e.g. "Food" or "Transportation.”
  5. The user can attach a receipt or other supporting documents to their expense entry.
  6. The app saves the expense and updates the user's expense summary or budget.
  7. The user can view their expense history, filter by category or date range, edit, and delete entries as needed.

In short, CJM provides a macro overview of interactions with a product or service, while user flows offer a more detailed perspective.

Let's take a closer look at both tools. We'll start with the Customer Journey Map (CJM).

Customer Journey Map

In this section, we'll delve into the benefits of using CJMs and provide a step-by-step guide on how to create your own.

Benefits of creating a customer journey map

The primary advantages of using CJMs include:

•Improved customer understanding

CJMs provide valuable insight into customers' perspectives and identify areas that need improvement or cause discomfort. Understanding the customer's wants and needs can lead to a more personalised and enjoyable experience for them.

•Increased customer satisfaction

Recognising and addressing issues in the customer journey creates a smoother and more enjoyable experience for customers, leading to higher satisfaction and loyalty.

•Enhanced marketing and sales efforts

CJMs can help businesses optimise their marketing and sales efforts. They can identify key points in the customer journey where they can provide extra value or make a sale.

•Improved team collaboration

Creating a CJM involves input from a variety of team members, including designers, researchers, and marketing professionals. This process can help teams better understand the customer's needs and work together more effectively to create a better user experience.

CJM Types

Depending on your goals and the type of customer experience you want to analyse, there are several types of CJMs to choose from. In this section, we'll explore the most common CJM types and help you determine which one is right for your needs.

Drivers and Barriers

Drivers and barriers journey maps are a type of customer journey map that identify the factors that influence a customer's behavior and the obstacles that prevent them from taking action. These maps are typically used to gain insights into why customers make certain choices and to identify areas for improvement in the customer journey.

Drivers are factors that influence a customer's behavior, such as their needs, wants, and motivations. These may include functional drivers, such as price or convenience, or emotional drivers, such as a desire for status or recognition.

Barriers are obstacles that prevent a customer from taking action, such as lack of information, complicated processes, or negative experiences. These may be external barriers, such as competition or market conditions, or internal barriers, such as lack of resources or expertise.

Here's an example of a Drivers and Barriers CJM map for a fitness app:

Empathy map

Empathy maps are a type of customer journey map that help businesses understand the thoughts, feelings, and behaviors of their customers by creating a detailed profile of their needs, wants, and motivations. These maps are typically used to gain insights into how customers experience a product, service, or brand, and to identify areas for improvement.

An empathy map is typically divided into four quadrants, each representing a different aspect of a customer's experience:

  • What a customer says: This quadrant includes the words and phrases that a customer uses to describe their experience, as well as any feedback or complaints they may have.
  • What a customer does: This quadrant includes actions taken by the customer, such as clicking on links, filling out forms, or making purchases.
  • What a customer thinks: This quadrant includes the thoughts and beliefs that shape a customer's perspective, such as their values, needs, and goals.
  • What a customer feels: This quadrant includes the emotions that a customer experiences during their journey, such as joy, frustration, or skepticism.

Here's an example of an Empathy CJM for a shopping app:

Future State

Future-state journey maps are a type of customer journey map that outline the ideal future experience of a customer. These maps help businesses identify areas of improvement and opportunities for innovation by envisioning what the ideal customer journey would look like.

Future-state journey maps typically include a detailed description of the customer's needs, wants, and motivations, as well as a list of key touchpoints and interactions that will shape their experience. The map may also include a timeline of the customer journey, highlighting key milestones and moments of truth along the way.

Businesses can use future-state journey maps to identify gaps in their current customer experience and develop strategies to close those gaps. They can also use the map as a roadmap for implementing new technologies, processes, or systems that will enhance the customer experience.

Here's an example of a Future State CJM for a streaming app:

Steps to create a CJM

In this section, we'll guide you through the steps to create an effective CJM for your product.

0. Gather data

Gathering data is an important step in creating a CJM, as it will help inform the customer segments you create. You'll be able to identify patterns and trends in customer behaviour, which can help you create a more accurate and relevant customer journey map.

It's essential to keep in mind that data gathering is an ongoing process when creating a CJM. As you identify customer segments and create the map, you may need to collect extra data to fill any gaps or provide more context.

There are several ways to collect data for a CJM, such as:

  • Customer interviews: One of the most effective ways to gather data for a CJM is to conduct interviews with customers. This can be done through one-on-one interviews, focus groups, or online surveys. During the interviews, ask customers about their experiences with your product or service, including their thoughts, feelings, and actions at different stages in the journey.
  • Analytics tools: Many businesses have access to analytics tools that track customer behaviour on their website or app. These tools can provide valuable insights into the customer journey, including the pages they visit, the actions they take, and the time they spend on different pages.
  • Customer feedback: Another source of data for a CJM is customer feedback. This could include reviews or ratings left on your website or social media, as well as comments or complaints made directly to your business.
  • Expert interviews: In addition to customer data, you can also gather insights from experts in your industry or field. These experts may have a unique perspective on the customer journey and can provide valuable insights into the customer's needs and behaviours.

1. Define the customer segments

Identify the different segments of customers that will be included in the map. Some common methods for defining customer segments include:


Customer segments can be defined based on demographic characteristics such as age, gender, income, education level, and location.

•Customer personas

Customer personas are fictional characters that represent a specific type of customer. They are created based on research and help to understand the needs and behaviours of different groups of customers.

•User groups

Customer segments can also be defined based on the specific needs and behaviours of different user groups. For example, a CJM for a social media platform might include segments for casual users, power users, and business users.

•Customer journey stage

Customer segments can also be defined based on the stage of the customer journey. For example, a CJM for a retail store might include segments for customers who are just starting to consider a purchase, those who are actively shopping, and those who have already made a purchase.

2. Map the customer journey

Once you have the data, it's time to create the journey map. This typically involves creating a timeline of the customer's interactions, along with their thoughts, feelings, and actions at each stage. It's important to be as detailed as possible to identify opportunities for improvement.

The first step is to identify the key stages of the process. This could include awareness, research, selection, checkout, and confirmation, for example. These stages should be based on the data you've gathered and should reflect the customer's perspective.

Once you've identified the key stages, add as much detail as possible to each stage. This should include the customer's thoughts, feelings, and actions, as well as any interactions they have with your business or product.

3. Identify pain points and opportunities

As you create the journey map, look for areas where the customer experience might be frustrating or confusing. Identifying these pain points can help you identify areas for improvement and improve the overall user experience.

To identify pain points, look for points in the journey where the customer's thoughts or feelings change significantly. For example, if a customer is excited about making a purchase, but then becomes frustrated during the checkout process, this might be a pain point. You can also look for points where the customer takes longer than expected to complete a task, or where they encounter errors or obstacles.

Look for opportunities to enhance the customer experience or add value at different stages in the journey. This could include offering additional resources or services, or providing personalised recommendations. By identifying these opportunities, you can create a more enjoyable and satisfying experience for customers.

It's also a good idea to get input from other team members and stakeholders, as they may have different perspectives on the customer journey and can help identify additional pain points and opportunities.

4. Review and revise

Once the journey map is complete, it's important to review it with the team and make any necessary revisions. This helps ensure accuracy and reflects the customer's experience. Gathering additional data or making changes based on feedback may be necessary.

Here are some tips for reviewing and revising a CJM:

  1. Get feedback from the team: After creating an initial version of the journey map, it's important to get feedback from the team. This could include designers, researchers, marketing professionals, and other stakeholders. Ask for their input on the accuracy of the map and any areas for improvement.
  2. Gather additional data: If you find that the initial journey map is missing key information or doesn't accurately reflect the customer's experience, you may need to gather additional data. This could involve conducting additional customer interviews, analysing customer feedback, or using analytics tools to track customer behaviour.
  3. Make changes based on feedback: After gathering feedback and additional data, use this information to make any necessary changes to the journey map. This could involve adding or removing stages, adding more detail to specific stages, or making other changes based on the feedback you've received.
  4. Review the revised map: Once you've made changes to the journey map, review the revised version with the team to ensure that it accurately reflects the customer's experience. If necessary, make additional changes or gather additional data until you're satisfied with the map.

5. Use the map to inform design decisions

CJMs offer valuable insights into the customer experience, helping to make informed decisions about product or service design. By gaining an understanding of the customer journey, you can create more user-friendly and efficient experiences.

Here are some examples of action points:

  • Redesign existing features: Based on the CJM, you can identify areas for improvement. This could involve redesigning existing features to make them more user-friendly or efficient, or adding new features to address customer pain points.
  • Develop marketing and sales strategies: A CJM can inform marketing and sales strategies, helping businesses understand when and how to engage customers. For example, it can be used to identify opportunities to upsell or cross-sell, or create targeted campaigns.
  • Optimise the user interface: The CJM can help to optimise the user interface of a product or service, making it easier and more enjoyable for customers to use. This could include redesigning the layout, streamlining navigation, and adding helpful resources.
  • Measure the effectiveness of changes: Additionally, CJMs can be used to measure the effectiveness of changes, helping to understand if their efforts are having a positive effect on the user experience.

User Flow

A User Flow is a visual representation of the steps a user takes to reach a specific goal within a product or service. It helps to understand the user's journey and identify any issues that could hinder progress. By creating User Flows, you can identify and address any problems that could cause frustration or confusion for users, resulting in a better experience.

Benefits of charting user flows

•Improved understanding of the user's path

By creating a User Flow, you can gain a clear understanding of the steps a user takes to complete a task or achieve a goal while interacting with the product or service.

•Identification of potential problems

By mapping out the user's path, you can identify any potential roadblocks or bottlenecks that may be causing frustration or confusion for the user.

•Improved user experience

By identifying and addressing potential issues, you can create a more intuitive and user-friendly product or service, resulting in a better experience for the user.

Steps to create a user flow

0. Define the task or goal

Before creating a User Flow, it's important to define the task or goal that the user is trying to achieve. This helps to focus the User Flow on a specific purpose and ensure that it is relevant and useful.

1. Gather data

Gathering data helps to understand users' needs, motivations, and pain points. There are several ways to gather data before creating a User Flow, such as:

  • User interviews: Conduct in-depth interviews with users to learn about their experiences, needs, and goals while interacting with the product or service.
  • Surveys: Use surveys to gather data from a larger group of users about their experiences, needs, and goals while interacting with the product or service.
  • Observations: Observe users as they interact with the product or service to gather data about their behaviours, thoughts, and emotions.
  • Analytics: Use analytics tools to gather data about user behaviour on the website or app, including page views, clicks, and conversions.
  • User testing: Conduct user testing sessions to gather data about the user's experience with the product or service, including any pain points or areas for improvement.

2. Map out the user flow

Using the data gathered, create a flowchart that maps out the steps the user takes to complete tasks or achieve goals. Start with the user's initial action and then map out the decisions and actions they take along the way. Include any potential roadblocks or bottlenecks that may occur.

3. Identify areas for improvement

Once the User Flow is complete, review it to identify any potential issues or areas for improvement. Consider whether the flow is intuitive and easy to follow, or if there are any confusing or frustrating points. Use this information to make changes to the flow and optimise the user experience.

4. Test and iterate

Once the User Flow has been revised, it's important to test it to ensure that it is effective and achieves the desired results. Use user testing or analytics to gather data on the User Flow's effectiveness, and then iterate and make changes as needed. Continually testing and iterating on the User Flow can help to ensure that it is optimised and effective in helping users achieve their goals.

Customer journey maps and user flows are useful for product development, as they enable you to comprehend and visualise the steps a customer or user takes when interacting with your product. This can help you pinpoint areas of difficulty or potential improvement in the user experience, and can also aid you in deciding which features and design choices to prioritise.

By using both customer journey maps and user flows, you can get a more comprehensive understanding of the customer or user experience, which can help you create a more effective and successful product.

Blog author photo
Diana Sadykova

Head of Marketing at Quality Wolves

I love Belgian beer, future pop, and writing about IT products. Btw, my articles are written with the help of GPT-3.

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