How to Run an Empathy & User Journey Mapping Workshop

Introduction

This article will teach you two popular design workshop techniques: empathy mapping and user journey mapping. Empathy mapping is a way to characterise your target users in order to make effective design decisions. User journey mapping is a way to deconstruct a user’s experience with a product or service as a series of steps and themes. Put simply, these methods encourage your stakeholders to think about user needs effectively, identifying pain points and opportunities in a systematic and straightforward way.

Empathy Mapping

A blank empathy map template. Download it here.
Our hypothetical empathy map showing Charlie, our target user.

User Journey Mapping

Now we’ll take our insights about Charlie and apply them to an experience that the’ve had. There are two types of user journey map: retrospective maps: where you map out how users currently do stuff (typically based on research findings); and prospective maps: where you map how you expect users to behave with a new product idea. In this article we’ll be doing a retrospective map.

A simple user journey map framework
A user journey map showing Charlie’s experience creating and sharing digital video in the mid 2000s.
Opportunities derived from the User Journey Mapping exercise

What comes next

Having done the workshop, you’ve gained the following things:

  • They’ve started to think in terms of users and journeys, not specs and features
  • You’ve identified some potential opportunities for the product roadmap

Expert in deceptive design. Coined the term Dark Patterns: darkpatterns.org. Expert witness: testimonium.co. Also: head of innovation at smart.co