The 5E model is a framework for breaking down the full user experience with a product or service. These models help us move beyond simple engagement moments to understand why and how users enter into an experience and what they carry forward with them at the end.
What is an experience map or journey map?
An experience map or customer journey map is a model of how people experience a product, service, or environment. Like a good highway map, it organizes and abstracts complex reality to focus on what is important. Many people and businesses use experience maps. For instance, website designers routinely model the experiences they hope to create for their site’s users.
Experience maps can be simple or complex, diagrammatic or photo-intensive. At their core, they are all structured stories, with beginnings, middles, and ends; often featuring characters and common plot twists.
The most useful experience maps are:
- A larger process broken down into manageable parts and phases.
- Photo- or video-documented extensively. This permits teams to have rich, grounded conversations about the experience. It also helps teams share the experience with others.
- Told from the point of view of the person having the experience, often referred to as the customer or end user.
- Collaborative, emerging from conversations among a team with multiple points of view. The best teams include both those with intimate knowledge of the experience as well as those who bring a fresh perspective.
ENTICE - The reasons that we choose to participate in an experience. They foster anticipation and set expectations. Why do people enter into an experience, what do they think it will be like?
Enticement might look like: advertising or promotions, signage, menus on windows, smells and sensory cues, apps, word of mouth, memory or craving
ENTER - marks a beginning. They provide guidance and orientation to the experience. Where does the experience really start? How do you get oriented when something is new and unfamiliar? How do you know what to do next?
Entrances look like: entryways, signage and orientation cues, greetings, directions, lines and waiting, menus, promotions
ENGAGE - a set of activities rooted in environments and interactions. What kinds of things are you doing as a part of this experience? What kind of interaction is it–with what or whom are you interacting? What are the artifacts and tools used? Are there any steps within?
Engage looks like: reading menu, making a choice or progress on a decision, engaging with others, interacting with a product or service, transacting or purchasing
EXIT - are the transition out of the immediate environment or interaction. When is an experience over? How does the interaction end?
Exit looks like: packing up, cleaning up, orienting towards an exit, finishing a task or experience, farewells, physically leaving a space or experience
EXTEND - maintain a connection with an experience after it is complete. The best extensions are memories and impressions that live on beyond the immediate experience. What part of the experience lives on? What do you take with you once an experience has ended?
Extend looks like: photographs, memorabilia, cravings, memories, loyalty programs, customer service perceptions, sharing stories or recommendations to friends and family
This framework is a starting point and scaffolding for modeling any experience.
As you build out your journey maps, make sure to:
- Look for “bright spots.” Where does the experience really seem to be working for people? At what points do they seem to be having a great time? Where do the things and spaces provided seem to meet their needs particularly well?
- Look for “hot spots.” Where does the experience break down? When are people frustrated? Are they missing things they need? Where are they forced to “work around” the systems and processes in place? When do they look uncomfortable?
- Look for gaps. At which stages of the experience are there few resources offered to customers? Where are transitions poorly handled or simply ignored?