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User journeys

User journeys :: 1 of 2

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What are they?

User journeys are textually-rich, information-dense written descriptions of the goal-oriented movement of a user through a taxonomy.

Characteristics

User journeys - in the sense meant here - are often hugely complex entities, into which a great deal of thought has been poured.

User journeys are tightly coupled to personas and to the detailed understanding of a user's motivations and interests contained within them.

To the extent that this is possible and practicable, they seek to articulate the "balanced nuances of experience" as a user moves through a site. However, unlike process flows, taxonomies or other specification (which explain the interaction between a user and a system's logic and processes), user journeys focus on the user's motivations, goals and aspirations, and the various ways that a site can cater to those mental states.

User journeys are both explanatory and predictive, inasmuch as they can be used to both analyse and map current user behaviour, as well as highlight new future behaviour. In this latter sense, they can also then inform wireframes and taxonomies for future site development.

What're they for?

User journeys are fabulously useful for complex sites that benefit from deep, exhaustive understanding of the why, where and how of a user's movement through a taxonomy. Typically, the kind of deep understanding involved is appropriate for sites with both a transactional element and a complex proposition, e.g. a travel website.

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