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User Experience

The Importance of Understanding User Journeys

Increasingly businesses are finding their online presence has never mattered more. For online sales and services, we believe that good User Experience (UX) is essential to creating a buzz around your business and brand. As we increasingly work remotely and move systems for workplaces online, workflow is also becoming digitised. Therefore good UX internally is also essential to efficient and frustration free organisations.

The trouble is that someone's experience of good UX may be another user's nightmare. For businesses with a specific user in mind, user research is the best tried and tested way for avoiding the pitfalls of assumption and creating a bespoke and frictionless UX and at the heart of any UX sits the User Journey.

What do we mean by User Journey and why is it important?

The term User Journey is to a certain extent self explanatory. It describes the step by step journey users will take to reach their goal. This can be within a website or web application and will likely include multiple pages or interactions. 

If you think of a user journey in terms of a physical journey you can immediately understand why it’s quality is important to UX. As with any physical journey, there are many things to consider in order to make the experience of travel less stressful and to reach the right destination with as much ease as possible.

It may be that you need to consider the means of transportation. Has your user got any accessibility needs? Are they confident in driving or navigating the vehicle? You may need to consider if the route is clear and are there any potential roadblocks or dead ends? It could be that there are too many routes to choose from or confusing detours along the way.

Avoiding frustration on the road to your destination is key, or else it may be that your user decides to press the ejector seat!

To design an easy-to-use interface, pay attention to what users do, not what they say.

Jakob Nielson

How do we Understand your Users better?

If we apply this analogy to your user journey we can see that there are alot of considerations for designing the best possible journeys for your users. What’s more, it shows us that understanding the user is as important to designers and developers as understanding where that user needs to be safely transported to.

This is why user journey mapping and user research are crucial. You are the experts in your service and able to tell us exactly what you need from a user, however it isn't always clear what your users need from you! It may seem time saving in the short term for businesses to work to archetypes or make assumptions about their users, especially in an online context where any interactions take place remotely. However data gathered from your users directly will always give more valuable insights and can also sometimes inspire new solutions which assumed conclusions might miss. In the long term, building to suit user needs based on researched evidence of their interactions and feedback will save you time and money through improved UX.

Even in user journeys built for internal use, it may be difficult to know exactly where the pinch points and frustrations are for users whose roles and workflow differ from your own. In these situations our access to user insight is far greater as we can work with individuals across your organisation, asking them how they feel that their workflow could be improved and what frustrates them most about current systems. There is value in gaining insights from the people using your systems on a daily basis.

User research in action

Read more on how we worked with a local charity to improve their user journey within internal systems by conducting user research.

How Do We Implement User Research and Feedback?

This initial research feeds into our design process, so that our initial wireframes and prototypes reflect the optimal journey for your users. We can then work through the journey step by step in order to garner clear feedback and troubleshoot any potential issues in the design which may need adjustment. These precautions can mean ironing out any oversights or pinch points before expense, time and energy is spent on developing the final product.

No journey will ever be perfect in a world where budgets are a reality, so we know there will always have to be compromise. But working from user research will help us to figure out what improvements will make the most impact on UX for the best cost. This enables you to make fully informed choices where you want to invest our time on your build and that the solutions we create are the best for your users’ journey.

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