As part of a company-wide initiative to improve the onboarding experience, I led an effort to map the journey of a key user persona during his initial interactions with our product. The goal of the project was to synthesize insights from across several customer-facing departments, identify and prioritize opportunities for improvement, and foster shared understanding and alignment among the leadership, engineering, product, and UX teams.
From the initial ask to document issues with onboarding, we narrowed the starting point to a journey map for a single persona, Devon the Developer, from the time that his organization acquires our product through the completion of several core tasks.
We chose journey mapping as a method because it would allow us to create a unified vision of the user’s experience as he interacts with different parts of the organization and product, to get started quickly by leveraging internal knowledge, and to use the collaborative creation process and visual storytelling to build empathy and a shared sense of purpose among stakeholders to drive improvements. We selected the target persona both because he represents the largest segment of users and based on anecdotal evidence that he faces the most challenges using the product.
Due both to time and resource constraints and underutilized sources of internal knowledge, I adopted a hypothesis-validation model. To gather insights about Devon’s onboarding experience, I ran a series of hands-on workshops with employees in services and support who have substantial contact with new users as they navigate the product for the first time.
Activities included a group effort to map out the points of contact between new users and the company and the key tasks they needed to accomplish to begin using the product effectively, a think-pair-share exercise to identify common questions and pain points, and dot voting to identify the most pressing concerns.
In addition to the workshops, I incorporated information gleaned from informal individual and group interviews with key stakeholders, previous user research, NPS survey results and other customer feedback data, and unofficial support documentation and issue logs from our customer services teams.
I synthesized the data collected from the workshops and other sources in stickies on a master online whiteboard for ease of sharing and searching. I then further organized and analyzed the information collected using a simple table as I worked to finalize the content and wording. Finally, I created a visual artifact to succinctly communicate the takeaways for socialization among stakeholders.
I hope as a second phase to be able to validate the assumptions of this initial draft journey map with user research. This risk is somewhat mitigated by the fact that it is based on information from those in directly customer-facing roles, increasing the odds that we focus on the right problem areas, and that the resulting designs will be usability tested, to validate our solutions at that point. Either contextual inquiry to observe users in their authentic work environment as they move through key portions of the journey, or usability testing of the core tasks with new or representative users, would be good methods to test our hypotheses and gain additional insight into how and why problems occur.
The journey map has been circulated among stakeholders and decision-makers, driving discussions and shaping priorities, including a redesigned homepage, segmented onboarding experiences, and point-of-need guidance. One of the most valuable secondary outcomes from this project has been new connections and an improved relationship between the UX team and groups in customer support and services, resulting in a dedicated Slack channel for UX feedback and their inclusion in design studios and internal testing across a variety of projects.