Story mapping is an exercise that companies can utilize to visualize the consumer’s journey through a product. This exercise helps businesses better understand their target audience, identify any potential points of friction throughout that journey, and figure out how to improve the user experience.
With story mapping, companies are forced to build products with a user-first approach, and to visualize all of the steps that a consumer needs to take to complete the desired action.
Plenty of times, when companies are developing a product, they tend to put too much focus on features, but through the story mapping exercise, they can get out of that mindset and focus on the needs of the consumers.
And with story mapping, companies can break down the buying journey into smaller elements that individual teams can improve on in order to ensure a seamless experience.
Before starting a story mapping exercise, it’s important to set its scope. Otherwise, the business can quickly get overwhelmed. Some of the important topics that should be discussed during this process are the problems that the company is trying to solve for its customers, the way that the new feature will add value, and the audience of the product.
After detailing those things, it’s important to put the elements in a story format and to identify who the consumers are, what they want to do with the product, and what problem the product solves for them.
The second step in story mapping is creating an overall roadmap for how the consumers can access the new feature. The main goal is to outline the biggest steps that consumers need to take to get from start to finish, while the business can fill in the smaller stages between the big ones.
Once the big details have been mapped out for the consumers, it’s time to highlight the key actions that consumers have to take for every activity.
For instance, if a consumer is looking at a search results page for a particular product, they’re also looking at photos of the product, reading the description and reviews, and looking at other related items.
All of those actions should be mentioned under the relevant group of mapped activities to figure out if there are any gaps in the product features.
Once all of the details of the story have been laid out, it’s time to go through the entire journey and figure out which tasks should be prioritized. These tasks should then be broken up into smaller parts.
Every small part of a task should include activities from each group to be able to create a seamless end-to-end experience for consumers.
Companies should also establish a clear intended outcome, and a way to measure the success of the activities, which is important when testing the story map and tracking the behavior of consumers.
There are plenty of ways to conduct story mapping, as well as tools that can help companies do the task faster. The simplest way would be to use a whiteboard in a conference room, along with a large number of sticky notes to move pieces around while the story is developing.
Remote teams can rely on a number of online tools that are helpful in story mapping, such as Avion, Featmap, or Miro.