Workshop Series: User Journey Mapping

How on earth can a design agency help a housing association with its rent management issues? Well, we have a very useful set of design tools and processes that allow us to uncover service issues and design solutions for it.

As a part of our consultation for MHA we delivered a series of user journey workshops. An approach such as this can reveal a thorough and accurate story of both, how the service is delivered and how it is actually experienced by the tenant. This gives a clear position for the organisation to see where changes and improvements could be made, some which are easy to implement, others which are longer term and strategic.


Our process always starts with a close look at people that use a product or service. We set about to discover the tenants at the heart of MHA, what their lives were like living with rent issues and how they got there in the first place.

Insight gathering
We started by gathering insights from a wide cross section of tenants. Some were in rent arrears, others were not. Our questions were designed to be informal conversation starters and explored the rent payment service from their individual perspectives.

Cheryl Tracy of MHA said: “We were interested in this approach as we wanted to understand how our tenants experienced our service, rather than how we thought they experienced it. Using this approach gave us valuable insights which would have otherwise been overlooked if it was entirely driven by staff and more traditional means of consultation.”

Creating personas
After visiting and talking to tenants, we created 12 personas based on a cross section of people we met. The persona is a single page of details about the person and their lives, how they pay rent and what their issues are. Having a set of personas, makes it possible for us to bring those tenants into a workshop setting without having them physically in the room. It would have been ideal to have tenants in the workshops, however, the practical challenge of this meant we had to use personas.


Tenant journey maps
The tenant persona’s were used to enact the journey each one took when paying or not paying rent. By holding workshops with staff members, and using our user journey mapping tools, we could simultaneously map the process of the rental process with the actual experience of the tenants. We could create a blueprint of the rental process and reveal the invisible issues. It was useful to have a variety of the housing association staff participate in the workshops as they were able to feed insight into the issues as mismatches in service delivery and tenant experiences became clearly evident.

The design approach and toolkit we used, gave us a clear position from which to help the organisation to see where changes and improvements could be made. Together we came up with 53 recommendations for rental service improvement, 32 of which were quick fixes and 10 of which were longer term and needed strategic planning.

Cheryl Tracy from MHA said: “Feedback from staff and tenants involved in this service review has been overwhelmingly positive. The staff involved in the challenge workshops “didn’t realise how much of a journey they take their tenants on” and found it refreshing to view things entirely from the tenants' perspective. We would definitely use this approach again as it gave us a much more rounded view of our service and going forward it will have fundamentally changed the way we provide our rent management service to tenants.”

If you are interested to find out more about how our design toolkit can help in the development of your service, we would be most happy to have a conversation with you about it.

This project was done in collaboration with Jo Carter from Satori Lab.