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Navigating User Experience: Essential UX Maps

Explore essential UX maps that revolutionize user interaction and product success, brought to you by WANDR.

Check out these four UX map examples that prevent user drop-offs. Read below to learn which UX map is right for you brought to you by WANDR– experts in product strategy and ranked #1 UX Agency in Los Angeles by Clutch.


Whether you are designing an application, website, or SaaS, the way that users interact with it defines whether or not its effective. For instance, if a customer finds it difficult to use, this is a failure on the part of the UX design team. Thus, a new product should be designed with UX mapping in mind.

Why is a UX Map Important?

UX mapping is a process that narrows the gap between the needs of the users or customers and the product. For example, let’s say a company is launching a new website. They want it to be easy to use, while appealing to their user base.

What should they do first? Creating a UX map can teach the company about their users and the way they will interact with the application or website. This typically involves a range of mapping processes.

These provide insight into how:

  • they will use it
  • it will appeal to them
  • to derive results
  • it will address the thoughts, feelings, and behaviors of the user
  • to best deliver information to the user

Hence, a UX map is critical to designing a product that can be used to align with your goals.
An effective UX map can have the following functions and impacts:

  • Improve the way that information is delivered to customers and users
  • Make the user experience more pleasant and intuitive
  • Connect more effectively with users and customers
  • Build a bigger user and customer base
  • Develop a better ROI
  • Build a better brand reputation
  • Build greater market visibility

Getting to Know Each UX Map

The type of UX map process you use is dependent on the audience, and the goal of the interaction. There are four common UX maps: customer journey map, empathy map, experience mapping, and the service blue print.

1. Customer Journey Mapping

When a customer has a specific need that the company product or service is trying to address, the customer journey map is especially useful.

A customer journey map is a detailed representation of the way a customer will search for information for a product or service. By focusing on what goal the customer is looking to achieve, this UX map makes it as effective and as easy as possible for the product to reach the users’ goal.

Additionally, an important and unique aspect of the UX journey map is that it considers the thoughts and feelings of the user. It utilizes a linear process that maps out the way that a single customer interacts with an application or website to find information, a service, or a product.

To receive all of this data, the customer journey map is broken down into four “swim lanes:”

  • Phases
  • Actions
  • Thoughts
  • Emotions and Mindset

Each lane places the customer at the center of the design process and addresses a key area of their overall experience.

Customer journey mapping is useful for businesses that are service- and product-centered. It helps them identify customer needs by breaking down any bottlenecks or pain points during the interaction.

2. Empathy Mapping

Compared to the other UX map processes, an empathy map is the deepest dive into the mindset of the user. In short, this process helps to build a thorough understanding of users.

This map is divided into four areas:

  • Thinks
  • Says
  • Feels
  • Does

What is the user thinking? Saying? What is the user feeling? And what is the user actually doing?

Furthermore, this map is not linear or sequential like the customer journey mapping process is. Thus, empathy mapping is considered to be a useful mapping technique to understand users better and build rapport and empathy with customers.

To perceive the end user, the empathy map attempts to externalize their internal experience. The whole experience is always tied to the externalized experience of the user from the above four perspectives: thinks, says, feels, and does.

3. Experience Mapping

When designing a product, there are times, when it most useful to build an overview — an understanding of the general human behavior.

For instance, this may be necessary in a scenario where there is no defined target audience. Experience mapping is the go-to map for this type of situation.

Fundamentally, the experience map visualizes an end-to-end journey by a generic user. What is important to note here is the user is generic. In experience mapping, the user is not a part of a specific target audience, nor are they interested in a specific service or company product. Instead, the process attempts to map the general users’ journey in a similar way the customer journey mapping process would.

In addition, similar to the customer map, the experience map is divided into four key areas of understanding:

  • Phases
  • Actions
  • Thoughts
  • Feelings and Mindset

However, unlike the customer journey mapping technique, the experience map is not tied to a specific type of user, service, or product. Thus, this is the most useful technique when trying to build a picture of general user behavior.

4. Service Blueprinting

Oftentimes, one type of UX map is not enough. To completely visualize the multiple interactions users experience, we can combine UX maps. For example, the customer journey map may be effective in visualizing the point of the user — but it does not provide much insight on what happens of the business side.This is where the service blue print map comes in handy.

Large and complex companies that offer multiple services and products need a way to visualize how their departments and employees also interact with customers. Whereas customer journey mapping focuses on the user, a service blue print map is all about the company behind the product or service and their processes.

Therefore, service blueprinting is often coupled with the customer journey mapping process. Together, these processes visualize how the customers and the businesses experience the same products and services.

When a company is large and includes multiple departments, processes, and people, this mapping technique is useful. Similar to the customer journey, the service blueprint is divided into four key areas. They’re also referred to as “swim lanes:”

  • Customer Actions
  • Backstage Actions
  • Frontstage Actions
  • Support processes

Additionally, service blueprinting specifically addresses the following concerns:

  • What actions will the user take?
  • How does the user interact with the application or website?
  • How will the employees and processes behind the scenes behave and assist?
  • What support processes are in place to help the user?
  • What processes are in place to support employees backstage?

This mapping technique is especially useful in identifying areas of weaknesses in a large company. It can offer useful insights to improve both processes and interfaces. Ultimately, these UX maps benefit both users and employees.

Closing Thoughts

In short, the reality is that customers have come to expect more of companies and organizations. UX mapping puts people and processes in the context of the user experience. These maps assist businesses, individuals, and organizations in improving their relationships with customers and users alike.

UX maps benefit both users and employees by WANDR, globally competitive designers, voted 1 Product Strategy and UX Design Firm


Which UX Map Do You Prefer?

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