Design Thinking Process

Working with Customer
Journey Maps

Working with Customer <br>Journey Maps

A person’s interaction with a product or service is frequently assumed to be a linear transaction. Many entrepreneurs might want the exchange to happen something like this:

A person pays or does something → they get something in return → the company makes  millions of people happy (and millions of dollars too).

In reality, this exchange is more chaotic, more of a story, where there are questions, uncertainties, pauses, and moments of delight among normal day-to-day rhythms; when designing a product or service, all of these highs and lows, starts and stops, attentiveness and forgetfulness need to be considered.

One way to make sense of this chaotic decision-making process is through the use of models. The Customer Journey Map is becoming an increasingly popular type of model in user experience design, product management and brand strategy.

At Handsome, we use Customer Journey Maps regularly. We believe they are a great way to encompass all activity around a product or service, even the work that is going on behind the scenes, and helps us build a full understanding of what we are trying to create.

In some instances, our clients don’t have a customer journey map and we collaborate to create one. In other instances, our clients have a customer journey map and we are tasked with improving it.


While no two customer journey maps are identical in content or form, most tend to address the following:

  1. Identify critical stages of a user’s experience with a product (we call these touchpoints)
  2. Gain a holistic understanding of the breadth of experience as it relates to a specific product.
  3. Plan and prioritize features that support a delightful experience.
  4. Cultivate a productive and efficient dialogue around current breakdowns and an ideal future.


And  some of the more common elements tend to include:

  1. Identified and described touchpoints
  2. User actions, questions and frustrations
  3. Business opportunities
  4. Backstage employee actions
  5. Anything that might delight the user
  6. Anything the user might expects


Below are a few additional resources that we have found helpful in shaping our understanding of modeling and specifically customer journey/experience maps.


Weick, Karl E., Kathleen M. Sutcliffe, and David Obstfeld. “Organizing and the process of sensemaking.” Organization science 16.4 (2005): 409-421.

A seminal article by Weick and Sutcliffe, it identifies how organizations make sense of problems and situations through noticing, bracketing, labeling and communicating.

Bitner, Mary Jo, Amy L. Ostrom, and Felicia N. Morgan. “Service blueprinting: a practical technique for service innovation.” California management review 50.3 (2008): 66.

Bitner’s article on service blueprinting is one of the earlier articles we have been able to find on mapping customer experiences. We really love how she focuses on “the line of visibility” or what the user sees versus what goes on behind the scenes.

Adaptive Path also did some great work with Rail Europe and Austin Center for Design instructor, Chris Risdon, wrote about their experience here.

If you’d like more information on customer journey maps, or would like to have a customer journey map for your product or service, feel free to reach Handsome today: contact [at] handsome [dot] is


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