What is UX Mapping Method?

Vladislav Gavriluk

Vladislav Gavriluk

CEO & Founder at Arounda

Imagine simplifying complex concepts, improving UX, and turning thoughts into clear solutions. All this you can do with the help of a visual language — UX mapping methods. 

Arounda has been exploring ways to improve the user experience across platforms for years. It has allowed us to create successful projects like Bold, Sage Express, etc. 

We have already done a detailed review of such methods as storyboarding, customer journey, and empathy mapping. In this article, we'll share other techniques to boost UX in your projects.

Table of Contents

What Is Mapping in Design?

Before we move on to UX mapping methods, let's find the answer to the question of what is UX mapping.

Mapping in design refers to organizing information, concepts, relationships, or data. It involves creating graphical representations that help individuals understand complex ideas quickly. Mapping techniques are widely used across various design disciplines.

UX Mapping Methods

Here are some methods to help you achieve the best UX: 

Ecosystem Maps

The need for a bird's-eye view of systems and their interconnections has given birth to ecosystem maps. As its name suggests, an ecosystem map resembles a biological ecosystem. It displays the various organisms, in this case, the elements and actors, and showcases their interplay. 


  • Provides a holistic view of the system. Much like a panoramic shot captures a broad landscape, an ecosystem map presents a consolidated view of a system. Designers can gauge a product's or service's overall structure and relationships.

  • Highlights potential gaps or areas of overlap. With a clear representation, it's easier to spot areas where resources may be lacking or where there's redundancy. This clarity can be invaluable for product managers aiming for streamlined systems.

  • Offers insights into external factors impacting the user experience. An ecosystem isn't limited to its internal workings. It includes external influences, market dynamics, or even socio-cultural factors. Mapping these out helps understand their influence on the user's journey.


  • It can become complex if not carefully constructed. The more extensive and multifaceted a system, the more its ecosystem map can become intricate. If not designed with precision, these maps can become convoluted mazes.

  • It may require periodic updates to stay relevant. Like a living ecosystem, a product or service's environment can evolve. It can be due to changes in market dynamics, technological advancements, or user preferences. The ecosystem map needs regular revisiting and revision to remain an accurate representation.

Affinity Maps

An affinity map is a collection of notes, often on sticky notes or digital equivalents. Each note captures individual pieces of data or feedback. It is then clustered based on similarities or themes. When done right, this UX mapping method transforms raw data into strategic blueprints.


  • Encourages team collaboration during the sorting process. It often involves multiple team members debating and deciding how to categorize data. It fosters a deeper understanding of the data and leads to more well-rounded insights.

  • Helps in identifying user pain points and needs. By clustering feedback and observations, it becomes easier to identify recurring problems. 


  • It can be time-consuming. While the result is a neatly categorized map, creating an affinity map can be lengthy. Sorting through hundreds of data points to find patterns demands time and patience.

  • Relies on accurate and relevant data collection. The foundation of any good affinity map is the data it's built on. The map will be incomplete if you use flawed data. Ensuring rigorous and unbiased data collection methods is crucial.

Experience Mapping

Experience mapping represents a user's journey with a product over time and across different channels. Unlike simpler journey maps that might chart a user's path through a website or app, experience maps take a broader view. They incorporate emotions, pain points, and moments of delight. It provides a narrative that unfolds as users engage with different touchpoints.


  • Gives a clear picture of the user's entire journey. Experience maps aren't just about actions. They delve into the emotional and psychological journey as well. This comprehensive view helps stakeholders understand what users do and why they do it.

  • Promotes empathy and understanding. Walking through the customer's journey with emotional highs and lows fosters a deeper connection. Such empathy is essential in crafting solutions that resonate with users and address their real needs.


  • Requires comprehensive data from various sources. Crafting an experience map demands data — lots of data. From user interviews to analytics, every piece of data helps paint a clearer picture. But, gathering and interpreting this data can be a daunting task.


Looking for a team to create the best UX in your product?Let`s have a talk.

User Flow (Flowchart)

User flow diagrams represent the various routes users can take through a product or service. Each node on the diagram represents a touchpoint, decision, or action. Lines show the flow between them. These diagrams help understand navigation, interactions, and the structure of the digital experience. 


  • Easy to understand and interpret. Reducing complex interactions to nodes and paths presents a clear, digestible overview of the user journey. It makes them accessible to designers, stakeholders, and developers.

  • Useful in pinpointing bottlenecks or redundant steps. With the entire flow laid out, it's easier to identify areas where users might face friction or unnecessary complications. Such insights are invaluable in refining and optimizing the user experience.


  • It might need constant updating with product changes. Digital products are dynamic, often undergoing updates, revisions, or complete overhauls. As the product evolves, so too must the user flow. It demands a commitment to review and update the flowchart to reflect the user's journey.

Service Blueprinting

Service blueprinting visualizes the entirety of a service process. It details what the customer sees and experiences (the front-end). And, as well, the intricate backstage operations (the back-end) that make the service possible. It might include employee roles, the technology used, and other elements influencing service delivery.


  • Provides a comprehensive view of the service process. One of the primary strengths of service blueprinting is its all-encompassing nature. By capturing the front-end and back-end, it offers stakeholders a panoramic view of the service. It fosters a deeper understanding and facilitates informed decision-making.

  • Highlights dependencies between different service elements. In any service, multiple elements and processes often intertwine. Service blueprinting makes these dependencies explicit. It showcases how a change in one component might ripple through the entire service ecosystem.

  • Useful for both design and operational improvements. While many mapping tools focus on design improvements, service blueprints are dual-purpose. They offer insights for refining user interactions (design) and optimizing internal processes (operations).


  • It can be complex and requires a deep understanding of the service. This method demands a profound knowledge of the service's inner workings. It makes creating challenging and involves collaboration between various departments or experts.

  • Needs regular updates to remain accurate. Services are dynamic, evolving in response to user needs and market dynamics. Service blueprints need regular updates to stay relevant. This upkeep can use a lot of resources.

Final thoughts

Understanding and enhancing the user's journey is at the heart of every successful product. The methods we've explored offer invaluable insights into the intricacies of user interactions. Yet, as with any tool, their true power lies in their adaptability to the unique design process.

Arounda uses these UX mapping methods as trusted compasses. It guides our design choices and illuminates pathways to user-centric projects. Contact us if you want to provide the best user experience for your customers. 

Vladislav Gavriluk
Vladislav Gavriluk
CEO & Founder at Arounda
I make sure our clients get the high-quality result from the beginning stage of the idea discovery & strategy to the final digital product.

Frequently asked questions

  • What is UI mapping?

    UI mapping refers to visualizing the layout and interaction points of a digital interface, such as a website or an app. It often involves creating wireframes, mockups, or prototypes. It demonstrates the placement of elements (buttons or text boxes) on the screen and their interaction with the user.

  • What is user mapping?

    User mapping is a broader concept that involves visualizing a user's entire journey when interacting with a product. It captures various touchpoints, emotions, challenges, and decisions a user might encounter. User mapping can take various forms, from user journey maps to more detailed tools like service blueprints.

  • How do we combine UX mapping methods?

    Begin with a high-level map, such as an ecosystem map, to understand the broader context. From there, zoom in on specific touchpoints or stages using more detailed methods like experience maps or user flows. Next, you can delve deeper into specific touchpoints using a user flow diagram. This layered approach provides both a macro and micro view of the experience. Combining UX mapping methods aims to understand the user's journey comprehensively. The choice and combination of methods should align with your project's objectives.

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