Customer journey maps for
PeopleSmart users

Position: Service Design Intern for on UX team
Location: Redwood City, CA
Personal contributions: Sketching, prototyping, profile icon development, journey map creation
Shared contributions: Research, interviews, ideation

Internship in Service Design

Under the direction of Peter Merholz I teamed up with staff researcher Andrea Moed to conduct user research with professionals who search for people for a living. Andrea and I conducted in-depth interviews, screen shares and looked at statistical information on our users. We then synthesized it all together and found four distinct searcher profiles: the Slueth, High-Volume, Reference and Mom n' Pop.

The final deliverables for my internship were two customer journey maps (one for the Sleuth and another for the High-Volume User) showing what it's like to be a professional using PeopleSmart.

Our high volume user's journey begins with a list of names to contact. The high volume user will begin to search in free sites but will quickly move to paid searches if the free data seems old and inaccurate. Because the high volume user has anywhere from 20-100 names to contact and must convert a percentage of those names, she will quickly cycle through her search process.


Our Sleuth's journey to search for a person begins with a name and maybe some contact information. The sleuth will begin to search in free sites before considering a paid search such as PeopleSmart. As a professional, the Sleuth will consider the costs and benefits within each stage of the search. If a certain stage proves unfruitful and not cost effective, he will move on.

Research interviews

Twelve interviews with professionals who search for people for a living

We conducted phone interviews where Andrea would lead the call and I would have on my screen. I would sketch a very basic model of what the interviewee was telling us about their search process. Scribblar allowed us to share our screen with the interviewee for free and if the interviewee wanted to she could take control of the screen and make changes.

Scribblar sketches of interviewee's process



The Scribblar sketches turned out to be very useful. The visualizations made it easy to recall the entire person's search habits during the synthesizing phase. It also helped us to verify that we had gotten the sketch right and weren't missing anything from the interview.


Profile development

Four distinct user types

Our interviews revealed that PeopleSmart for Professionals has four distinct user types. Because the Reference and Mom n' Pop users are infrequent visitors to the site, the decision was made that we would move forward with creating journey maps only for the more profitable users, the sleuth and the high volume users.

The Sleuth and High Volume users have jobs where they have to search for people as a routine part of their job. They stand to benefit the most from site enhancements.



To the call center in Omaha for more insights!

Collaborating for greater understanding

Using 8ft of butcher paper, I was able to transport our working draft of the journey map to Omaha where we put it up in the lunch room and invited employees to collaborate by adding their insights to the draft.

We came away with a validation of what we had so far as well as additional angles.

We listened in on customer calls to understand site users needs and missteps
while using the site.


Andrea Moed and I outside Inflection's Member Services Center in
Omaha, Nebraska.

Prototyping the final journey map

Iterating, iterating, iterating

I hung my iterations in the hallway so that the entire UX team and the company at large could see and comment on (and spellcheck!) my draft up to that point. It was a great way to create visibility for what we had been doing all summer.



The final deliverables

User experience is a company-wide responsibility

The journey maps were used as a design tool. They helped shine a light on the areas where improvements could be made. It also revealed that every part of the company touches the customer. My boss Peter Merholz presented my journey maps to an audience at Adaptive Path’s UX Week within a broader talk on user experience as strategy, not design. (See 19:20 for his discussion of the journey maps.)