User Journey or User Experience?
There is no doubt about the fact that the success of a product depends very much on the UX it delivers. If a website or app or software is intuitive, easy to use and, as a bonus, also looks pretty (and catchy) – you have a winner. The better the experience of your user, the more chances to win his loyalty, not to mention willingness to pay for the product. How about the user journey? Where does that fit into the picture?
The user journey is defined as the set of steps taken by the user to reach his goal (the reason why he uses your product in the first place). So in order to create a great user experience, first you need to think of the user journey.
Why is it important?
Because as Steve Jobs said, “design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works”. So a product works well for the user if it guides him towards reaching his goal in a simple, fast manner. It’s here where the user journey fits in.
Take the user’s shoes and try them on
Before even getting to the actual product design, a designer should try to imagine how it feels like to be the user; how he thinks, reacts, what he seeks and needs. By now you should have a well-defined consumer persona, so it should be easy for the designer to put himself into the user’s shoes.
All those involved in the creation of a product, not only the designer, need to make this exercise because the features and the entire logic of the product, even the way you communicate it, depend on how you picture the user journey.
Ask these questions:
Why does he use our product?
What problem does he need to solve?
What is the first step he would make?
From there, where would he go?
What questions might he have?
What are the gestures he would be more familiar with?
Where would he use the product? Who is around? What might distract him?
Feel free to add as many questions as you need until it becomes crystal clear how the user journey looks like. Then draw a map; be playful and make it even a ”treasure island” map, why not? The starting point is the decision to open the app/software/website and the end of the journey is reaching the goal, solving the problem.
From the map to the field
Now that you have the user journey map, let the design begin! All those steps, user dilemmas, and actions are to be transformed into wireframes, then interfaces then implemented into the product. And it’s here where the user experience plays a major role. It is how those steps are translated by design into a physical appearance to help the user understand, see and act without too much effort, so he can solve his problem in an enjoyable way. And that’s the secret to user loyalty.
When we started ThinkOut, we didn’t think of it as just a cash flow management platform, but the ”pain killer” for those managers trapped in Excel tables and always worried about where the money goes and how long before running out of money. So we started to think, step by step, what would we do? To be honest, for us it was pretty easy because we were exactly in that situation (that’s how we came up with the idea), so we knew from personal experience how the road would look like and what would be great to happen, so we could have a better relation with the business cash flow.
Now to answer the question in the title – both. Before even thinking how the product would look like, buttons, colors, and fonts think how it would be used and how it would solve the problem for which it was created. Follow the user journey map and transform it into a great experience!