Experience Maps​

Walking through the problem with your future user​ – a visualized end-to-end user experience for specific profiles

Exploratory method
Suggested Time

1-2 days (if hypothesis-driven) / Several weeks (if research-driven)​

Level of UX Expertise



Research results (if research-driven), template


Design, Management, Marketing

Must have
This method can be applied to all types of innovations.


An experience map is a step-by-step visualization of the experience that your potential users goes through to accomplish a goal in a given field currently, e.g. getting agricultural advisory, but not tied to a specific product or service. ​


Experience maps can be a brainstorming tool used either by yourself or with a small group that is involved in your user research process (3-5). You can later share your results with a team and/or your program partners.​


Experience maps are part of the early-on tools in the scoping phase of your research process. It is done after having a problem statement points you towards which experience you would like to map. User experience maps are built before defining User Journeys related to a specific product and the user’s experience with it.​

How much time

In hypothesis-driven maps, this can be a quick drafting exercise of an hour, you could identify some information gaps, collect information and come back to it later. If you want to create a map already based on research, you need to count with several weeks of research.​


They can be a useful tool to understand how potential users solve the problem you are trying to address currently. Experience maps can:

  • Present findings of exploratory research – e.g. user interactions, important touchpoints​
  • Align your team and partners on the right problem to solve for your user​
  • Identify knowledge gaps about the context and perspective of your users​

Why it’s useful

Gives you the big picture: quick overview on steps and pitfalls of your future users’ current experience with your topic​
Facilitates prioritization of features ​

Potential challenges

Research-driven maps needs prior research
Not specific for different users​​​

Is this for you?

Get step-by-step guidance, expert tips and best practice examples for effective Experience Maps.

Image by Charlotte Schumann

Melissa Bonilla - Consultant, Alliance Bioversity and CIAT

“An experience map is like a creative, thought-provoking workout that squeezes out our ideas. I highly recommend taking the time to do it, even if it feels daunting at first. By the end of the exercise, the team comes out with a clearer understanding of needs, next steps, and hidden opportunities.”

Image by Melissa Bonilla

Why Researchers Find this Useful
Image by Melissa Bonilla

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