Mapping Experiences: A Complete Guide to Customer Alignment Through Journeys, Blueprints, and Diagrams

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    Customers who have inconsistent experiences with products and services are understandably frustrated. But it’s worse for organizations that can’t pinpoint the causes of these problems because they’re too focused on processes. This updated book shows your team how to use alignment diagrams to turn valuable customer observations into actionable insight. With this powerful technique, you can visually map existing customer experience and envision future solutions.

    Designers, product and brand managers, marketing specialists, and business owners will discover how experience diagramming helps you determine where business goals and customer perspectives intersect. Armed with this insight, you can provide the people you serve with real value. Mapping experiences isn’t just about product and service design; it’s about understanding the human condition.

    • Emphasize recent changes in business using the latest mapping techniques
    • Create diagrams that account for multichannel experiences as well as ecosystem design
    • Understand how facilitation is increasingly becoming part of mapping efforts, shifting the focus from a deliverable to actionability
    • Explore ways to apply mapping of all kinds to noncommercial settings, such as helping victims of domestic violence
    Mapping Experiences: A Complete Guide to Customer Alignment Through Journeys, Blueprints, and Diagrams
    Mapping Experiences: A Complete Guide to Customer Alignment Through Journeys, Blueprints, and Diagrams



    8.2Expert Score
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    Key Take-aways

    Why this book

    This book is about a type of tool that provides organizations insight into their broader product and service ecosystems. I call these tools alignment diagrams—an umbrella term for any map that seeks to align how individuals in a system engage with that system and its provider. Note that there is no one method or approach for creating alignment diagrams. Instead, you’ll find a range of options depending on the problem you’re solving. Chapter 1 explains this concept in more detail.

    This book deals with various techniques for mapping experiences, not a single method or output. The focus is on the category of diagrams that collectively seek to describe the human experience. Many related techniques are included here as well. These diagrams have already been an implicit part of the design and creative disciplines for decades. In fact, you may have already used alignment diagrams as part of your work.

    Reframing these approaches as tools for organizational alignment emphasizes their strategic relevance. They help flip an organization’s perspective from inside-out to outside-in. In doing so, they help build empathy and provide a model for decision making that is inclusive of the human condition. Alignment diagrams also offer a common vision throughout an organization. They aid in creating consistency in thought and action across departmental lines. This type of internal coherency determines success.

    To be clear: alignment diagrams are no silver bullet and only part of organizational alignment. However, I believe the story they tell goes a long way in achieving alignment, particularly in larger organizations. The concept of mapping helps us understand complex systems of interaction, particularly when we’re dealing with abstract concepts like experience. But mapping experiences is not a singular activity limited to one type of diagram over another. There are many possible perspectives and approaches. In this sense, this book is about possibilities. My hope is that the book expands your thinking and approach toward mapping in general.

    There are many types of diagrams covered here, each with different names and backgrounds. Don’t get hung up on labels. Many of the distinctions are historical and based on which term was coined first. Instead, focus on value alignment, not one specific technique over the other. It’s entirely possible to create a new type of diagram that continues to evolve the practice. I encourage you to do so.

    More about the author

    Jim Kalbach is a noted author, speaker, and instructor in design, customer experience, information architecture, and strategy. He is currently the Head of Customer Experience with MURAL, a leading online whiteboard for digital collaboration. Previously, Jim has worked with large companies, such as eBay, Audi, SONY, Elsevier Science, LexisNexis, and Citrix among others.

    Before returning to the US in 2013 after living for fifteen years in Germany, Jim was the co-founder of the European Information Architecture conferences. He also co-founded the IA Konferenz series in Germany.

    Jim KalbachJim Kalbach


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