Now that you’ve developed your personas and deconstructed user experiences, you’re close to fully capturing product functionality. The output of these first two phases becomes the starting point of the Journey Visualization process.
The first two phases of capturing product functionality are about defining your users and imagining why and how they’ll use your product — now it’s time to start bringing those experiences to life, a process that will continue until the product’s release.
Journey Visualization is a well-defined, iterative effort that fully articulates the consumer journeys that you identified in the Experience Deconstruction phase. This final section of our guide to capturing product functionality will focus on explaining what Journey Visualization is, how it brings out the full potential of the ideas you’ve already laid out, and how your company can start using it before every launch.
What Is a Journey Visualization?
A Journey Visualization takes your vision and converts it into wireframes and clickable experience prototypes, which will then be handed over to software engineers for production. It’s a structured process that functions as the bridge between strategy and development by serving as a sort of theoretical blueprint for the eventual real-life product. These “blueprints” give you a sense of what your idea will look and feel like in the hands of customers without expending all the resources on a full-blown product.
The process leverages SME expertise, user research, industry best practices, and competitive analysis, which leads to the creation of clickable designs, future state user experience improvements, and epic-level user stories. That’s a pretty large number of factors to get right when you’re building a product that’s going to represent your company, which is why it’s so important that you go through as many iterations as you need to get it all right.
How Does Journey Visualization Impact Development?
Implementing a Journey Visualization will help your organization to create better products in three ways:
- You’ll have a unified vision on which design and development can potentially be modeled (pending ongoing prioritization & testing).
- It will address a core set of specific questions and pain points related to the user journey.
- It will define potential capabilities that meet users’ needs and goals.
For these benefits to really start impacting your business, you’ll need to be thorough with each of your stakeholders and subject-matter experts about the potential benefits and problems of a given prototype. However, once you’ve gotten strong feedback from each important player in the process, you’ll have an exhaustive sense of how best to balance cost, capability, UX, and design.
What’s the Process of Creating a Journey Visualization?
Creating a Journey Visualization is a six-step process:
- Define forward-thinking principles. This means engaging SMEs in forward-thinking ideation, defining core principles for the journey without the limitation of existing capabilities.
- Implement rapid, iterative refinement of the resulting core principles and concepts. Again, while iterations should happen quickly, they must be based on thoughtful analysis from each of your most important stakeholders.
- Create illustrative designs by translating core principles and concepts into visualizations A principle you might visualize would be, “Display billing data to the member in a prioritized, personalized way.”
- Validate and iterate new designs that will be shared with the team.
- Translate the designs you’ve validated into clickable, interactive prototypes.
- Lastly, document corresponding epic-level user stories to serve as the requirements base.
For these procedures to work properly, you must be able rely on each team in your organization to act as a check and balance on the others, and for each member of a team to check the arguments and beliefs of the others. With that in mind, inflexible, waterfall-style hierarchies will only throw obstacles in your development process.