Mapping Experiences Rapidly – Free eBook

Mapping experiences is a broad set of activities that engage others. Though often focused on heavy, upfront research and hi-fidelity visualizations, these need not be the case. The benefits of mapping can be realized in a short period of time—about one to two weeks in total duration.

Get my free ebook from O’Reilly to find out how.

A key thing to remember is that creating a diagram is not about artistic talent. It’s also not about painstaking, drawn-out investigation. Rather, it’s about creating a visualization that breaks organizational silos and aligns teams around a common view of the experience.

Just consider this simple map of an experience for going to Starbucks created by Eric Berkman, a design strategist and author of Designing Mobile Interfaces (O’Reilly, 2011). It’s visually minimal, but reveals key insights about both negative and positive service aspects at a Starbucks coffee shop.


Simple but very effective!

The key is to focus on the verb mapping rather than the noun map. The journey is as important—if not more so—than the destination. It’s better that your team has the same perspective and the same basis for decision making than having a good-looking diagram. And that can be accomplished quickly.

A General Process for Mapping

In Mapping Experiences, I outline four modes of activity for a mapping process:


The table below summarizes the time to complete each rapidly.

Initiate 1 hour to 1 day Ensure the effort is relevant to the organization
Investigate 1 to 4 days Ground the effort in reality with research and feedback from real people
Illustrate .5 to 3 days Visualize the experience for the whole organization to see
Align and Envision 1 to 4 days Foster conversations and activities around the experience to come up with solutions
Total 1 week to 2 weeks

The key is to focus on the objective of each of the stages and get to “done” quickly. Again, it’s about fostering the right, user-centered conversations with a team.

Get the full eBook here. 



About Jim Kalbach

Head of Customer Success at MURAL

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