Why Regular User Journeys Don’t Cut It
I have never liked the way user flows were done. Most of these UX deliverables seemed to me too clunky consisting of only boxes and arrows. I thought that there ought to be a better way. My concerns with these user journeys were:
- Will clients understand them?
- Will they have patience to go through these electric-panel-like charts?
- How will clients be able to visualise the pages?
- Will they have empathy for their users when trying to understand these diagrams?
Is There a Better Way To Do This?
I started to search for a better way of doing user flows. There are a couple of mentionable ideas out there like the “Grand Narratives” that visualises the pages throughout the user journey. However, at the stage of creating user journeys we might not have a clue how the individual pages will look like. It would require lots of effort to sketch out a miniature version of each and every page, especially for larger sites.
The “Blueprint” is a nice idea and it features a timeline and the personas in the journey. I did feel, however, that this will be difficult to use with larger websites.
Talking Persona – The Idea
At one moment I thought: “What if my personas could talk?”
If they could they would tell me what they think about my sitemap. This lit up the bulb and I found myself putting speech bubbles next to my sitemap.
The bubble idea was borrowed from my commented sitemap. I also felt the necessity to somehow add my persona next to the speech bubbles to bring life into the journey. Adding time stamps above the bubble, arrows for the journey, a scenario and a summary of what the persona wants to do on the website helped me and my clients to get a much more human (and accurate) idea of how the users may navigate the website.
Using this type of user journey will not only benefit your clients but you too. Seeing the persona encourages empathy and re-using your sitemap helps your clients get the hang of the user journey in a snap. They will be able to place the user flow into a real life situation by virtue of the scenario and the time stamped speech bubbles. Clicking on the pages will redirect them to your prototype. How great is that!