How To Visualize Personas and Journeys Like a Pro

The next awesome opportunity to use labels is to visualize personas and journeys. In a user-centered world, you can’t miss the buyer persona out of the backlog. StoriesOnBoard offers a smart feature to create personas, add details and assign them to activities.

We got user reviews about the feature and some of them say, it’s cool. But, we would assign personas directly to steps. Someone would differentiate sub-personas on the story map.

Tag to visualize personas and journeys on a story map

Let’s get back to our example story map. If you found an effective structure for activities and user steps, the persona feature is enough to describe the persona’s activities. That’s why I put the three main personas above the blue cards.

On the other hand, there are user types who won’t finish the whole journey or even an activity.

I used the “👓” icon to visualize a blog reader who won’t book a room.

How to visualize personas and journeys on a story map 1
How to visualize personas and journeys on a story map on StoriesOnBoard


This method can substitute the persona feature when:

  • hard to organize user steps into main activities
  • user journey is fragmented, not matches the narrative flow
  • top-level cards don’t describe the user activity

when top-level cards are not user activities

How to visualize personas and journeys on a story map 2 - StoriesOnBoard
How to visualize personas and journeys on a story map – StoriesOnBoard

Emoji shortcuts

Mac: Hit CTRL + COMMAND + SPACE to open emoji panel

Win: 1. Add Touch Keyboard to the toolbar by clicking on it with the right mouse button and select “Show Touch Keyboard”. 2.Open Touch Keyboard with by clicking on the keyboard icon.

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Visualize sub-personas on the backlog

Although persona feature works well in every product management tool, most of them offer only one level or one dimension. But it’s scarcely enough for more sophisticated persona mapping. Do you need a second or maybe also a third dimension to personas? I got something for you! Tag story cards and filter out user-related tasks using the search&filter panel.

What can be the second dimension? For example, a habit that is characteristic of more personas and can result in different steps. I made up the “cheap buyer” attribute. Two of my personas can behave as cheap buyers. I used the “💵” for cheap buyers.

How to visualize personas and journeys on a story map 3 - StoriesOnBoard
How to visualize personas and journeys on a story map – StoriesOnBoard

Sometimes, you don’t need to use sub-persona tags all over the story map. If the second dimension differentiates personas only in one (or a few) activities, then use these tags only on the selected part of the story map.

Compress story map for a better view

The next hint is similar to a previously described one. Imagine the following case: Your personas do exactly the same steps on the product but the tasks under a step belong to only one persona. Your team works in sprints (or releases), and you need to visualize the persona related cards. If the journey contains a few steps you can solve the problem by duplicating the steps.

I organize marketing tasks also on a story map 🙂 and the issue is originating from that map. All of my personas take the same journey in the marketing funnel, but tasks were very different according to the personas. I don’t want to annoy you with one more marketing story map, so I made up the following one. It’s a small part of a car’s story map. This is, how I handled the problem for the first time:

How to visualize personas and journeys on a story map 4 - StoriesOnBoard
How to visualize personas and journeys on a story map – StoriesOnBoard

If I used only one narrative flow the features would have would be mixed. If I put both personas above the blue card, that would be pointless. No chance to visualize persona related cards in the same narrative flow? But, there is!

Just tag user stories, and you’ll see how effective is it. Now you can use the same narrative flow and everything keep organized.

How to visualize personas and journeys on a story map 5 - StoriesOnBoard
How to visualize personas and journeys on a story map – StoriesOnBoard

“One more thing…” can be visualized with emoji icons, the user journeys. It’s another awesome opportunity, so don’t miss!

Easy to understand why is a great opportunity visualizing user journeys on a story map. UX designers struggle to get more priority on user experience. User experience mapping is often just an afterthought but it user journeys help a lot to design better products.

  • It helps to discover gaps and functionality,
  • ensures that the users get, they need,
  • breakdown silos in the product

Link user stories into a journey

Let’s get back to our example story map. We got the personas, sub-personas, the types, and the priorities. Why don’t we use tags to link user stories into a journey?

How to label user stories - StoriesOnBoard
How to label user stories – StoriesOnBoard


I created two different journeys for “impulse buyer” and also for “regular buyer” personas. Open the map and follow the journey among the tags. Use the search and filter panel for a better view. I would say you discover easily the holes in the journey, but to be honest you discover it by labeling user stories.

How to use the Search & Filter Panel

1. Open Search & Filter Panel and enter the selected tag

How to use the Search & Filter Panel

2. Hit “Find Next”

How to visualize personas and journeys on a story map 7

3. Hide the panel to explore the filtered story map

How to visualize personas and journeys on a story map 8

Further ideas? Don’t keep it! Leave us a comment below!

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Example Story Maps:


Accommodation Website Example – Personas

Accommodation Website Example – Journeys

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How to label user stories – Tag, like a pro PART 1

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