Better Design through Experience Mapping

Nora Guerrera
2 min readFeb 9, 2024

Spark : thought starter

(source: Miro, essence)

Experience mapping is a visualization of a complete end-to-end experience that a “generic” person goes through to achieve a goal. Use experience maps to create insights, alignment, and action.

CASE STUDY: Airbnb set out to improve the online experience for hosts and guests.

The Approach

  1. They mapped every single stage of the guest journey, from browsing for a place to stay through a successful stay and checkout (8 steps).
  2. Then, they did the same for the host journey (a similar, parallel 8 steps).
  3. From there, they mapped every single page of the existing digital experience against those 8 steps.
  4. On top of that, they layered on the millions and millions of customer service calls they’ve gotten over the years, aligning them to the 8 steps.
  5. Then, they added every policy that they’ve ever written and mapped those against the 8 steps.
  6. Lastly, they looked at social sentiment at each of those steps.

The Output

A complete picture to understand what parts of the process and the application are working and which aren’t:

  • What’s a policy problem?
  • What’s a customer service issue?
  • Maybe it’s a product issue?
  • Maybe it’s the hand-off from one step to the next?
  • Etc.

It took Airbnb a year to make it, but it’s been worth it.

The Outcome

The entire company is now aligned. Using this blueprint, they’ve been able to make meaningful refinements to their experience. They’ve improved an experience that used to take hours- of working your way through many pages and clicks- and turned it into one page in which the guest or host can get most things done in one or two clicks.

Are there elements of your business or experience that could benefit from an experience map? Tell us more in the comments.

If you’d like to learn more about Experience Maps, send us a note at hello@northomegroup.com.

This example was shared in this week’s Design Better podcast. Listen to this and more on Design Better.

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Design Thinking for All is a newsletter from Nora Guerrera and Northome Group. Northome Group creates conversations and platforms for connection, conversation, and growth around design thinking and design strategies.

Learn more at www.northomegroup.com or contact us at hello@northomegroup.com.

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Nora Guerrera

Strategist, Leader, Coach, Teacher. I help clients explore, create and use digital to bring game-changing experiences to their businesses and their customers.