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How to transform your product's user journey.

Updated: Jul 13, 2023

The most important part of designing, building and optimizing product user journeys is understanding WHO is going to be on that journey.

By that, I mean understanding the different personas within your target audience and defining what success means to them.

In my post, Why defining end-user success is so important, I explored 3 questions:

  • Who are they?

  • Why are they here?

  • How do we get them there as quick as possible?

In this newsletter, I’m going to focus on the “getting them there as quick as possible” part.

Let’s break it down into 3 parts:

  1. Pain point → Solution mapping

  2. Continuous optimization

  3. Activation boosters

Pain point → Solution mapping

Once you’ve done your user research and your personas are ready to be worked with, it’s time to put them into action.

Here you want to map out which of your product’s solutions are related to different user pain points and identify their respective user journey.

You can use a template like this:

  • Pain point {The pain point that the end-user is facing}

  • Relevant personas {The persona/s are affected by this pain point}

  • Solution {How does your product solve it? Including the different features relevant to the solution}

  • Aha moment {Describe the moment when users first experience the value of the above solution and identify how you can track/measure this}

  • Associated user journey {The user journey/s that lead to the relevant solution - Taken from Step 2 of continuous optimization}

Now that you have a clear picture of how your product’s solution/s are connected to your target audience’s unique pain points, it’s time to optimize the user journey/s that get them from point A to B.


Continuous optimization

The goal of this exercise is to design the most efficient and effective users journeys so that you can guide your users through different activation milestones and ultimately help them to solve their problem and/or achieve their desired outcome as quickly as possible.

It’s important to note here that your mindset should be focused on solving problems and not pushing features.

Solving problems, not pushing features

In this exercise you want to be able to answer:

  • Which steps can be delayed?

  • Which steps can be removed?

  • Which steps are essential in getting users to their goal?

It’s as simple as this:

  1. Write out your user onboarding journey into steps.

  2. Go through each step and ask yourself:

    1. Is this necessary?

    2. Would I understand this if I was seeing it for the first time?

  3. Remove all unnecessary steps.

  4. Simplify the steps that are hard to understand.

  5. Keep a list of all the changes you’ve made.

  6. Measure the results.

  7. Assess A/B testing options.

  8. Repeat.


Activation boosters

With your user journey fully outlined, consider taking advantage of these 9 different activation boosters:

Activation boosters examples

Intuitive Empty States ☐

Whenever a user encounters empty and/or blank states (Like their first landing page in the product), make sure that you’re offering clear and actionable instructions and/or suggestions.

Welcome Messages 👋

A friendly and informative welcome message can make users feel valued, set a positive tone and guide their next steps in unlocking your product’s value.

Available Support 🦸

Providing options such as responsive live chat or email support will increase users' confidence in your product and reduce their frustration when encountering issues.

Personalization 👤

Making users feel that your product is tailored to their specific needs will increase their engagement, reduce friction and lower your product’s time-to-value.

Product Tours 🗺

Guide users through your product's key features and help them understand how to use it effectively.


WARNING ⚠️ Make sure you’re walking user’s through a realistic workflow and not just showcasing features.


Help Center💡

A comprehensive and easily accessible help center should provide users with the support and resources they need to overcome any issues they may encounter.

Checklists ✅

Help users stay organized and on track by taking into account the likelihood of them getting lost or overwhelmed during the onboarding process.

Templates 🔓

Save users time and effort by providing pre-designed layouts and content that they can customize according to their needs.

Tooltips 👈

Provide quick and helpful information to users without interrupting their workflow.


To finish off this piece, I'd love to emphasize a point that I’m extremely passionate about and is what I believe separates the top SaaS leaders from the rest.

Users are people too.

The leaders in the game focus heavily on empathizing with their end-users. They seek personal stories and feedback, while constantly improving and adapting to their understanding of their users' motivation, struggles and context.

Viewing your users as people and not numbers


So, as a note to leave off with, invest some time into understanding your users just a little bit more. You can use this template as a starting point to figure out their Why.

Keep this in mind as you’re transforming your user journey.

Canva, Figma & Airtable examples of empathizing with their users

It’s the key to building a product that user’s truly love.

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