Summary: In the discovery phase of a UX project, mapping provides a high-level view of the problem space and makes opportunities obvious. Maps ensure buy-in and alignment around discovery findings.
Discoveries can be messy because there are many unknowns, which often necessitate the use of exploratory research methods, such as field studies, interviews, and diary studies. During discovery, many new things are learned about the problem space at a fast pace. It can be challenging to manage the amount of new information and make it actionable. Here enters mapping.
Why Mapping is Useful in Discovery
Humans have been mapping things for thousands of years. In addition to supporting wayfinding, maps have been used to orient people in their surroundings, manage complexity, and create a shared understanding of a terrain, whether physical or conceptual.
In discovery, maps provide many benefits. These include: