HR has been around for a while. JM is relatively new. But I wonder if JM is just a glorified, more encompassing HR.

I can think of a few differences:

  1. HR can be about a page, one task while using a product, but JM includes steps before and after using that product.
  2. HR doesn't include user thoughts, emotions. JM does.

Anything else?



3 Answers 3


I'm assuming you are looking to evaluate a design/website, but cannot test it with end-users.

First, it will be helpful to define terms. A heuristic review is when you evaluate a design based on a set of general usability guidelines. A Journey Map is a document that articulates the steps a user takes to achieve their goals and the challenges/opportunities along the way. To create a journey map, you need to do some research, possibly talking to end-users or subject matter experts.

When evaluating a design, it's essential to know who the users are and what they are trying to accomplish. If you only focus on general heuristics, you may miss significant opportunities for improvement.

I recommend using a combination of both, often referred to as a cognitive walkthrough. Evaluate the site from the perspective of a user trying to accomplish a task to achieve a goal. Using the tasks and goals you identified in your journey map, try and complete the task in the design as if you were a user. See if there is anything that prevents the user from completing this task. Heuristics can identify problems to look out for and explain why certain things are a problem.

  • Thanks very much Jeremy! Very good answer!
    – lu yan
    Commented Apr 26, 2021 at 16:46
  • Do you typically user test your Journey Map after completion? Many UX sites stop at talking about the completion of the journey mapping, but what happens next? I don't assume you just hit the ground and run with it. Could you shed some lights?
    – lu yan
    Commented Apr 29, 2021 at 16:05
  • That's correct. I actually start projects by creating draft versions of the personas and journey map with stakeholders, subject matter experts, and team members. This helps us align on who and what tasks we need research. I then refine this over time as we learn more. You can also share your journey with users and have them give feedback as well. An excellent resource for this approach is Jeff Patton's book User Story Mapping. Commented Apr 30, 2021 at 10:25

It could also be worth mentioning that journey maps are used to describe the visual path of the user across the solution. This can involve things like emotions and different experience across different channels. User flows are used to describe the steps taken through an app or interface.

See here for more info! https://xd.adobe.com/ideas/process/user-research/user-journey-vs-user-flow/


Heuristic review is an evaluation technique. It starts by setting up handful of heuristics, benchmarks, thumb-rules to dissect a product/service (digital brand) or the holistic experience. This evaluation will provide an outcome to show potential gaps and issues on a severity scale.


Journey mapping is not about evaluation by a definition technique. It defines a journey which user would undergo to perform a task/job against a timeline. Journey maps can be drawn or presented in multiple ways depending on a context. This forms the catalyst to build ideas and design final experiences.

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