User journeys and CJML

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Customer journey mapping is one of the most frequently used methods within service design. The term “customer journey” is generally used as a metaphor to examine a service process through the eyes of the end-user, encompassing all the interactions and experiences. Traditionally, the end-user has had the role of the customer because the interest in customer journeys emerged from the field of service marketing. As the journey concept has diffused into non-commercial service contexts, practitioners and academics have expanded the role of the end-user to users, consumers, patients, and citizens. Read more about the powerful concept of customer journeys in this blog article.

While the journey practices and journey literature has rapidly grown over the last decade, a common understanding of the basic journey’s constituents has been lacking. Consequently, a plethora of nonstandard descriptions and formats have evolved. Given the uptake of customer journey methods among practitioners and academics, there has been surprisingly little focus on formalism, modelling, and theory building.

Building on years of practical and academical work, SINTEF has developed a modelling language for customer journeys called Customer Journey Modelling Language (CJML). CJML offers terminology, syntax, diagrams, methods, and tools for modelling of journeys. 

The table below captures some important aspects of journeys and compares the traditional approach to the CJML approach. The first two elements remain identical for all approaches.

Traditional journey appraoch CJML approach
Customer's perspective End-user's perspective (including customer)
Process steps are called touchpoints Process steps are called touchpoints
Often a blurred line between “theory” (to-be) and “reality” (as-is) Clear separation between “theory” and “reality”
Flexible granularity and abstraction Atomic touchpoints and abstraction through journey phase
Often unclear whose feelings and experiences are shown Experience is seen as an individual, subjective phenomenon that may vary over time.

CJML distinguishes explicitly between the assumed or to-be journey and the real journey that unfolds when an end-user executes the service process. These two states are referred to as the planned journey and the actual journey in CJML, respectively. Previous research says “mind the gap” - the discrepancy between theory and reality can be large. This is also the reason we introduced the  CJML deviation diagram.

The touchpoints in CJML are atomic, and abstraction is only possible through journey phases.

CJML also makes a clear distinction between objective and subjective elements in a journey. In other words, it distinguishes what can be logged and observed (objective elements), and what the end-user feels and experiences through self-reporting (subjective elements). CJML considers experience in the executional state (actual journey) as an individual and time-varying attribute based on self-reported data.

A detailed description of CJML’s development and modelling approach is available as an open-access journal paper (follow this link to the SoSyM journal). You can also visit the CJML resource page for more information and access to CJML templates and tools. 

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Gamified Learning

How about learning CJML in a fun way? We have developed interactive games where you can drag-and-drop elements to get to know CJML. These “puzzle games” are made in Unity and opens in a new window.

Game 1: Get to know the basic parts of CJML (follow this link).
Game 2: Explore a scenario where a person sells a lamp via a digital reselling platform (follow this link)