At the start of any digital transformation, you should be defining your member’s journey with your association. Why is this part of the process so crucial to the success of your website? In short, you can uncover how your members are interacting with your website at different stages of their careers. In the following article, we’ll dig into the definition of a user journey, share examples of user journeys, and the value this brings to member retention and engagement.

What is a User Journey?

User journeys are audience research-based visualizations of the steps a user may take in engaging with your organization. A user journey is commonly used as part of a design thinking discovery engagement. User journeys provide insight into points of friction and opportunity from the user’s point of view. Because user journeys are a visual tool they allow stakeholders to review user experiences and respond in a visceral way.

Types of User Journey

User journeys are often used in discovery processes. Commonly, user journeys are an entry point into other user experience design tools like experience maps, service design, or service blueprints. Application in part depends on the type of user journey.

Macro User Journeys

Macro user journeys look at the larger stages. For example, a macro user journey for a medical association may begin with a medical student and trace the life of the student as they move from a University to a hospital to continuous medical training. As a student transitions from med school to residency, we may find that their memberships begin to fall. The reason is many student members stop receiving communication from your association because they lose access to their .EDU email address, which is what they used when initially signing up.

In addition, we may find that a student member is under many pressures in this stage of their life such as moving multiple times to different cities and states, paying off student debt, and starting a family. We’ve learned that the student member, who joins from their school program, doesn’t fully realize the value of membership or the cost of the membership. So, larger life transitions in this macro journey in addition to practical challenges around learning member value, and providing a personal email address contribute to the rate of membership drop off.

Example Macro Journey Stages and Steps:

  1. College Student Transitions to Medical School
  2. Medical School Program Provides Association Membership
  3. Med student completes med school and transitions to a residency at a hospital
  4. After residency, the early careerist moves to a new more permanent job
  5. Many at this stage will start a family and begin paying student loans (this is where membership begins to fall)

Micro User Journeys

In a micro user journey, the focus is more narrow. In our med student example, we understood that life changes are having an impact on membership retention. In the micro view of this journey, we understand that allowing these members to enter a personal email address might help the association stay in communication with this early career member. The micro journey then is the allowance of this additional email field.

The Value of User Journeys

User journeys provide value in many ways:

  • Visual representation of key steps or stages in a member experience
  • Focus stakeholders on a user-centered point of view rather than the organization’s point of view
  • Identify key points of friction or opportunities for improvement
  • Provide a baseline for other user experience tools like service blueprints
  • Help organizations know where to focus their efforts

User journeys provide a valuable source of information for defining the problem space. This, in turn, allows organizations to focus on the key stages and steps that are causing issues for their audiences. For digital transformations correcting a point of friction can mean improved member experiences and increased member retention.

Download our Digital Transformation Workbook

Our Digital Transformation Workbook simplifies what digital transformation means for your organization. You’ll be able to assess your organization’s preparedness for change with our readiness checklist. We have an overview of the ABCs of Digital Transformation. There’s also a set of questions to help you identify internal weaknesses and strengths as you face a Digital Transformation. Don’t wait to improve your digital presence and your audience’s online experience.