UX Mapping Methods: Study Guide

This article is a compilation of our articles and videos on topics related to UX mapping methods. Resources cover specific types of UX maps — such as journey maps, service blueprints, and roadmaps — as well as lesser-effort mapping techniques for common UX-related work, such as exploring design ideas and communicating research insights.

Within each category, the resources are shown in recommended reading order. 

If you’re totally new to UX mapping methods, start with this short video and cheat sheet comparing various mapping methods, and then make your way to our resources providing deeper guidance for more specific types of UX mapping activities.

Journey Maps

Definition: A journey map is a visualization of the process that a person goes through in order to accomplish a goal.

In its most basic form, journey mapping starts by compiling a series of user actions into a timeline. Next, the timeline is fleshed out with user thoughts and emotions to create a narrative. This narrative is condensed and polished, ultimately leading to a visualization used to align stakeholders on the holistic experience and identify opportunities for optimizing and improving the journey.



Full-day Course: Journey Mapping to Understand Customer Needs

Service Blueprints

Definition: A service blueprint is a diagram that visualizes the relationships between different service components — people, props (physical or digital evidence), and processes — that are directly tied to touchpoints in a specific customer journey.

Think of service blueprints as a part two to creating customer-journey maps. Blueprinting is an ideal approach for experiences that are omnichannel, involve multiple touchpoints, or require a crossfunctional effort (that is, coordination of multiple departments).



Full-day Course: Service Blueprinting


UX Roadmaps

Definition: A UX roadmap is a strategic, living artifact that aligns, prioritizes, and communicates a UX team’s future work and problems to solve.

A UX roadmap should act as a single source of truth representing your UX team’s North Star. It helps your designers, researchers, developers, and stakeholders align around a single vision and set of priorities.



Full-day Course: UX Roadmaps

Mapping Methods for Design Exploration

Some UX maps are useful for surfacing user pain points and mental models that can be used as prompts for ideation. This section provides resources for 2 UX mapping techniques that can used for design exploration: scenario mapping and cognitive mapping.

Scenario mapping is a group exercise that helps your design team think about how your persona segments might approach an activity using your product or service and ideate around the type of experience you want to provide for them, producing candidate solutions for the future design.

Cognitive mapping is a mapping method used to create a visual representation of a person’s (or a group’s) mental model for a process or concept. It can be a useful tool throughout user research, from gathering data to analyzing findings and articulating similarities and patterns.



Mapping Techniques for Synthesizing Research and Ideas

Some UX mapping techniques help team members make sense out of lots of existing ideas or insights by organizing them into more manageable categories. Affinity diagrams and empathy maps are 2 such techniques.

An affinity diagram is a technique used to organize related items into distinct clusters. This method helps teams collaboratively discuss and analyze research findings, as well as ideas from ideation sessions.

An empathy map is a collaborative visualization used to articulate what we know about a particular type of user. It externalizes knowledge about users in order to 1) create a shared understanding of user needs, and 2) aid in decision making.


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