Contextual Mapping


I’m a big fan of mapping feedback. I love mapping and harmonizing information that involves customers, users, and their feedback. Understanding the value of displaying information in a visual way helps me design insights and better contextualizes feedback. Below are some methods used over the years to relate these insights.


  • Poor-man’s heat map: First of all let me just say – eye tracking software is a bunch of BS. Anyone with a class or two of cognitive physiology under their belt will understand that “where a person looks” isn’t indicative of intent, value, or thought. That being said, the data visualization method of heat mapping is quite provocative. This map was the result of customer feedback relating to some new product features. I feel like it’s more representational of important feedback because it was derived from what they actually spoke about, and not just what they looked at. While interviewing users, I not only wrote down their feedback, but I mapped their feedback to the product pages in question, producing a “conversation map”. This map helped to aggregate feedback in context of the page content. It was easy to make and provided a compelling resources to accompany my written research.
  • Organization Research: This map represents some organization research did at Cook medical. I was working on an internal communication product and wanted to know what kind of information was important to different departments and how that information was used. With each person I interviewed, I mapped A) where the person being interviewed was located in the company, B) the communication conflicts they had with other people/departments, and C) what information they thought was interesting and pertaining to their role. This map helped my team understand the types of information that was important to the company and where there were information problems in the company.
  • Persona map: This persona map shows the results of some user research done at our team’s UX Booth at Adobe’s Marketing Summit 2012. We interviewed almost 100 customers about their digital marketing role in their company. Prior to this research, we assumed marketing roles was more delineated – but the results (mapping) showed that marketers often take on multiple roles inside marketing. Mapping the results of this user research, we were able to see that our personas wore multiple marketing hats. This insight changed the way we thought about navigation, account management, and consistency in our products.