User Story Mapping vs. User Experience Mapping


Hello folks,

I’m Abdus, a Product Designer based out of London. I have an Engineering background but turned to design following my passion. As a self-taught designer, I’m constantly looking to improve and learn from the community. More recently, I have started to focus upon perfecting my design processes and the way they impact my final visual designs.

Apologies if this has already been asked before, but I’m struggling with distinguishing ‘user story mapping’ and ‘user experience mapping’. While going through Megan Grocki’s explanation of a customer journey map, it almost felt the journey itself is basically a consolidation of a feature set in the product, similar to Jeff Patton’s book on User Story Mapping. So I was wondering if there is a difference between the two?

Secondly, while working on an experience/journey map, what are the outcomes we are trying to achieve? Say we are in the middle of revamping our product; should we plan a future experience or map out an existing one, or aim for an ideal one? I ask this because a future experience could be unknown and would need to be validated by even more research (qualitative and quantitative, resource dependent).

Any pointers/thoughts would be appreciated.


Hmmm, I’m not sure that there is a difference. I’m going to call @ruth in for her thoughts.


Hi Abdus
I tend to think of the difference between the two as a matter of granularity - user experience mapping is the mapping of the experience that users go through when using your product/s or service (it’s about the big picture).
The user story map are the set of functions/features/tasks for that product (it’s about the smaller picture).

For example, when I’m doing discovery research, I’ll be mapping out the experience of the user (e.g. having a baby). Within that experience, there will be a number of products that the user will use (e.g. applying for paid parental leave). Once we decide which problem area we’re tackling, we start narrowing down onto that area, and develop a user story map for that product based on the needs of the users that we had researched.

With your second question about the experience/journey map, what you map really depends upon what you’re trying to achieve. We shouldn’t do a journey map for the sake of doing one. But if the intent is to illustrate what the current experience is like, showing all the touch points, relevant business processes, IT systems etc, then do a current state map. This is particularly useful to have an at-a-glance illustration of the whole experience as it shows potential areas of improvements, and areas that are working well (we don’t want to break those!).
It’s also worth calling out that it’s worth mapping not just the users’ perspectives, but the service delivery experience too.
If you’re doing a bit of a what-if design session, then mapping out an ideal state would be useful. But either way, everything should be grounded on good research, otherwise the maps fall into ‘lovely to look at but not sure what to do with it’ area. The future state experience maps should be addressing issues identified in the current state maps.

Hope this helps :slight_smile: