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Journey mapping

Journey Mapping

Journey mapping helps you to understand a person’s experiences by creating a map of their interactions with the system.

On this page:

Why you should use it
What it involves
What you will get out of it
Ideal circumstances for use
References, guides and key readings

Why you should use it

Journey mapping will help you to:

  • understand a person’s experience of a service or policy
  • create a map of a person’s interactions with the system, regardless of department or policy boundaries
  • identify potential ‘pain points’, process inefficiencies, and opportunities for improvement or intervention that might not be obvious at first
  • join up different experiences and policies that people interact with

What it involves

  • Journey mapping puts you in the shoes of users to clarify the various components of their journey and what sort of experience that person might have.
  • It can involve the use of personas to examine the range of experiences, highs and lows, obstacles and potential opportunities that a person may experience.
  • Journey maps can be stylised or realistic (based on observation) – this will depend on the issue you are exploring and who you are working with.

What you will get out of it

  • The journey map you create will describe all the different interactions a person will have with the issue or policy.
  • A better understanding of user experiences.
  • Clarity on how to communicate the opportunities for improvement or intervention.

Ideal circumstances for use

  • You are at the early stage of understanding the policy problems and user needs.
  • You want to understand an issue from the perspective of citizens, users or frontline staff.
  • You want to involve a range of people in exploring an issue, some of whom have deep knowledge of personal experiences.
  • You suspect you need to understand the issues in context to really understand what the problem is, and how best to intervene.


For journey maps based on observation, consideration should be given to situations in which observation involves ethical issues, physical, mental or financial risk, or may have social or cultural sensitivity implications.

References, guides and key readings

Open Government Toolkit on journey mapping – Journey map information, tools and examples from the UK Government.

Government journey mapping tool – Australian government journey mapping tool with a focus on mixed online/offline journeys.

Customer journey mapping – A tool and guide to journey mapping in government, from the UK Government Communications Service.

Customer journey mapping – Private sector focus with good relevance to public sector context.

Service design tools – Focus journeys from a perspective of service design rather than policy design.


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Last updated: 
Tuesday, 5 July 2022

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