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Understanding the Impact of UX using Experience Maps
Apr 2014

Understanding the Impact of UX using Experience Maps

Experience maps
Explaining what UX is to people who are not in the field is not easy. I wish I could be a person who can tell their families and friends what they do for a living in a single sentence, without being ambiguous. Telling people, “I sell cars,” “I’m a dentist,” “I build rockets,” and they get it, no additional explanation is needed. When I have to explain what I do, I usually say “I make people’s lives better.” But then people think I’m a philosopher and want me to elaborate on that. Then I have to jump to concrete examples right away if I don’t want to lose their attention, and if I want a slight chance to make them understand what I do.
Even though it’s a little different explaining UX to partners and clients in the corporate world, it still poses a challenge in explaining UX to people who are not practitioners. Many of them think about activities, tools, deliverables, and have a hard time understanding the greater impact UX can have and what UX really is. I try hard to explain that UX is a mindset, a catalyst for corporate cultural change, and the means to build a better and more powerful business. But it’s often hard to illustrate this definition of UX.
If people understand (and most of the time appreciate), UX activities, tools and deliverables, maybe we should use them to better communicate the impact UX can make. However not all activities, tools and deliverables have the same power to captivate minds. One which is particularly good at playing this role is Experience Mapping.
Experience maps are a diagram representing the whole experience someone has with a product or a service. It gives a holistic view of the complete experience throughout multiple touch points and multiple interactions over time. It captures what people were thinking, doing and feeling throughout their process. Below is an example of an experience map we built at Yu Centrik:
Experience Maps are a great tool to demonstrate the impact UX can have in a project or business because it can represent the cross-channel, cross-platform experience, and show people’s emotions throughout the whole experience.
The process of building an experience map or going through it once it’s done, gives people an incredibly good perspective of things that go well and things that need improvement, while opening the eyes to potential innovative opportunities. And this is what UX is about, keeping track of the whole experience, making sure we improve people’s lives, and innovate whenever possible. By referring to the experience map we can explain how we, as UX professionals, can turn bad experiences into great ones.
Experience maps are one of the best tools in the UX toolbox, one that bridges the gap between teams and build empathy towards users.
If you haven’t had the chance to participate in building an experience map with a UX team, it’s time to do it. You will never regret the time, money or work you put into it. Building a diagram that represents the complete user experience and having the chance to see clearly how you can make people’s experience better while using your company’s products and services will help you make your business move to a higher level and to fully integrate UX into their internal processes.
If you want to learn more about visualizing the user experience with experience maps, enter your email address here and we will keep you posted about a new online seminar about the theme that will be available soon.


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