Jennifer Coffey

Grab a cup of coffee (or tea) and enjoy!

The Journey of the Book-Buying Experience

“You need to be content with small steps.”

– Katie Kacvinsky, Young Adult Author

Buying a book seems like a pretty simple task. Go to the store, pick out a book, pay, and leave. But what about all the little steps in between?

A journey map is a great tool to break down all the little steps a customer takes in browsing, finding, and purchasing a book. 

“A customer journey map tells the story of the customer’s experience: from initial contact, through the process of engagement and into a long-term relationship.”

– Paul Boag

These maps are inspired by user research and tell designers the customers’ point of view instead of an external aspect. They convey emotions, where the interaction took place, and thoughts and feelings as they shop. This provides great insight to see where the store can improve to achieve the best customer experience possible. 

What to Include in a Journey Map

According to Megan Grocki, a writer at UX Mastery, there are five key elements present in a journey map. 

First, there must be a persona, a model that summarizes a group of people. Next, there needs to be a time period or phases of the journey. Then, there needs to be actions, or touchpoints, that describe what the customer is doing. Next, explain how the customer feels during these interactions. Are they happy, frustrated, or confused? Lastly, explain the channel, or where, the interaction takes place. 

The Journey of Giving A Gift

To practice creating a journey map, I took one of my past personas, Jennifer, and created a map based on her experience of buying a book as a birthday present. 

There were 12 main steps in Jennifer’s journey map. At each stage, she went through many smaller steps to achieve her goal. 

Instead of saying Jennifer looked online, found a book, went to the store, and got it, I had to think of every possible step she could take to get to that point. Jennifer first needed to be motivated to purchase a book, then needed to conduct extensive research to make sure she got the right gift for the right person. 

I also gave her several hiccups along the way. Based on my experience as a bookseller, unless someone knows the store very well, they will seldom find what they are looking for on their own. Most of the time, people need quick assistance to find a certain section or book. We will put very popular books on their own table and sign at the very front of the store and people still walk by it all the time. In most cases when creating a journey map, adding moments of confusion or frustration are based on extensive customer feedback. For this example, I went off my several years of customer service background. 

Not only did these moments of frustration and confusion add more of a realistic element to the map, but they all added opportunities for improvement. By seeing the timing, location, and intent behind the interaction, UX designers and focus on the step in the process and make improvements. 


When creating this journey map, I felt a similar mindset when I was making my personas, point-of-view statements, and empathy maps. I have to leave my own personal thoughts and feelings behind and place my shoes in a customer like Jennifer. Luckily, I am pretty similar to her already, but I can imagine the challenge it could be to create a persona or journey map for someone that is not similar to how I act or feel. Overall, I thought this was a great exercise to pay attention to every detail of the book-buying experience to see the little steps that could use improvement. 

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