Mapping User Experience to the University Experience in #Mapvember

UX Mapping Methods Compared: A Cheat Sheet

I stumbled over these handy user experience maps this morning and thought about how useful they might be in my teaching, learning, and research.

Empathy maps: designed to help folk understand the mind of the user.

empathy map in four quadrants with user in the middle.

I could use this at the end of the semester to understand how my students navigated the semester-long research paper we write. I have no idea how my “users” experience the most time-consuming and constraining activity in the course. This could help.

Customer journey maps: describes the path a user takes in adopting a particular product or service.

journey into adopting (or not) a product or service

My department could use this in exploring how our students adopt the English major and how that journey works from inside the student. I suspect that the journey we lay out for them and the one they actually follow are quite different, complementary but different. We just revised our curriculum. This might be a qualitative way to evaluate whether the path we are requiring is one that those who are taking it signed up for.

Service blueprints: much like the customer journey maps, these apply to teachers/employees. These maps help to uncover the how and where we ‘touch’ our learners/customers. They would work in conjunction with the customer journey maps.

We could use these with new teachers to help map out where they see these ‘touchpoints’ and compare those maps with what the department sees as the touchpoints. I think these maps might be fleshed out using tools like Dave Snowden’s Cynefin Framework/SenseMaker techonology.

Experience maps: these take customer-journey maps and apply them across user types and user products. You use these maps to make generalizations about user experience. In this image, the experience mapped is “pregnancy”.

Since the purpose of these maps is to understand a general human behavior, I might use them to explain the arc of a course and the learning behaviors it might generate in students. The follow up would be whether those behaviors were actually generated in the users. This map is quite a bit fuzzier and more abstract than the others, so perhaps it might be used in planning or revising a course syllabus and then making readjustments on the fly to the course as required. Used in conjunction with empathy maps?

Maps like these are often guilty of the sin of ‘making complexity legible’. Or as James C. Scott says, they destroy the “metis”, the local knowledge, or at the least they valorize this legibilizing over local, folk knowledge and concepts. Entering with an awareness of this bias, I think that what could be revealed would allow teachers and admins insights that might lead to a ‘re-messification’ of the various ‘fields of users’. We could make our blind spots legible with the end goal being to make the relationships more natural, more like what we find in the margins of fields. Rich. Diverse. Messy. Convergent and divergent.

That is the idea I took from this foray into UX. Anybody need a really interesting research project that might be turned into a consulting business? Maybe this is it. There is a UX conference in Washington, D.C. in April. If I can find $5000 I might go. A big investment, but maybe a worthy career move.

What Is This Stuff Good For?

I ran across this interesting lit course in a blog post:  100 MUST READS OF MAGICAL REALISM by 

I think what they are trying to do is generate Amazon affiliate revenue.  Considering how much work went into producing this I don’t blame them a bit.

I was just messing around to see where the exploration might lead, a random feldgang.

First, I pulled all the links off of the page using Linkgrabber.

Second, I pasted the links into Dropbox Papers because it is handy as a collaborative space.  It also has added two elements that are handy if you wanted to do group work: each bulleted item can be given a due date as well as assigned to someone via email or name (if they are dropbox paper users). There is also a comment function as well that allows for threaded discussion and ‘resolution’ of issues.

Third, I edited out the links that were irrelevant and then added ‘to-so’ checkboxes to each book.

Fourth, since Papers doesn’t create an embed, I had to go Google Drive to create a doc where I could copy and past the Papers document content into a Google Doc.  I did that just so I could create an embed.

Fifth, I created a post here in WordPress and copied the Google Doc embed code here
to share.

So…why did I just lay down this list of breadcrumbs?  I like to practice using tools just in case something new breaks loose.  For example, I didn’t realize that Papers had those two new tools.  Nor did I realize that it had not carried over Hackpad’s embed feature when they created Papers.

Here is a version I put on Cryptpad just because I wanted to explore a bit.  And it allows for blockchain encryption, too.

Here is a version I put on etherpad clone,

So…what for?

  1. Exploring. Isn’t that intrinsically valuable for me?  The question is whether it has value for you as well.
  2. Perhaps I could create a collaborative page with only ten of these novels and I could invite folks once a week to come talk about the book they were given to read.
  3. Perhaps doing the previous activity might lead to other collaborative ‘stuff and things’ including Google Hangout/Facebook Live ad hoc-ity.
  4. Crowdsourcing without a wiki.
  5. Other feldgangs and emergences as yet to be ascertained.

Number five sounds coolest to me.  OK, if you got this far maybe you can suggest other possibilities or perhaps tell me to stop with the hundred ways.

Plan Yr Wrk, Wrk Yr Plan

I tell my students about the best piece of advice I ever got when my wife and I were running our chimney sweeping business. I tell them it made us a lot of money. I tell them we paid for our farm and home with this piece of advice. Now they’re attending. And what was that advice?

The owner of Copperfield Chimney Supply, Bob Daniels (Sooty Bob to everybody in the business) shared this piece of advice in a six-cassette pack of tapes which I wore out completely over the years. His advice was very simple:

So I repeat this to them ad  nauseum as they work their way through the process of asking and answering a “burning question” in their lives.

One of the tasks I ask of them is to create weekly research plans and then progress reports on the plans.  I do everything along with them, solidarity in learning dontcha know. Below is the assignment and my research plan for this week.


I want you to come up with a research plan for answering your I-Search question.  This might be a list of items you want to get done. Or it might be in paragraphs.  Make sure you prioritize. In other words, I want you to say what you will do first, second, third, etc.  If you can’t do the first item, move on to the second and so on.  Don’t let your priorities stop you from constantly moving forward.  Imagine you are a shark after your prey, the answer. You never stop moving forward.  We will discuss your plan and how you progressed through it at your conference.

Here is my research plan for the week. I will let you know how it went on Blackboard. You will have an opportunity to do so as well:

Get copy of MIchael Mosley’s book: Michael Mosley, The Clever Gut Diet.

Read Mosley’s book and mark it up looking for ways to combine it with my DayTwo data.

Prepare an email to my doctor on the kinds of bloodtests I want to include in my appointment next week.

Write my introduction where I tell my readers why I am pursuing the question.

Do a journalling exercise called feedforwarding where I imagine the results of my question as clearly as I can from 10,000 feet.

Clean up my I-Search outlines in Diigo.

Follow up on the forums I have visited and get more involved there:  quantified self forum and gut smart forum.

When they come for their conferences, we will chat about their plans and the progress they have made.  We will do this until their first draft is due in about three weeks–planning their work, working their plan, rinse, repeat.