How to Identify Pain Points in the User Experience [+ Templates]

Written by 
Bryan Kitch
February 2, 2023
An image of a person looking at a wall filled with ideas, outlines, and sketches

As a product manager, designer, or marketer, understanding the user experience (UX) of your platform is key to developing a successful strategy. By understanding and addressing these points, you can improve the user’s experience with the product, increase customer satisfaction, and ultimately, increase your revenue.

In this blog post, we’ll discuss:

  • What pain points are
  • How they can impact users
  • The different types of pain points
  • Techniques for researching the user experience
  • Tips for understanding user pain points

We’ll also provide some examples of user pain points, as well as how to uncover and address them.  By the end of this post, you’ll have the knowledge and tools to identify and address user pain points in your product or service.

What are pain points?

Pain points are areas of difficulty or frustration that users experience with a product or service. They can be related to usability, customer service, pricing, or any other aspect of the user experience. Pain points can have a significant impact on the user experience, and understanding them is essential for creating a successful product.

How pain points impact users

As is obvious from the prevalence of review websites, taking the time to address issues that affect the user experience of any product is more critical now than ever—no matter what industry you’re in.

Pain points can lead to user dissatisfaction, which can (and often does) result in lost customers and sales. Understanding them means that you can identify areas of improvement and develop strategies to address them. When customers are happy with their experience, they are more likely to keep coming back. Additionally, addressing user pain points can help you develop more effective marketing campaigns and create a more positive overall user experience.

Common types of pain points

Pain points can be divided into two main categories: usability pain points and customer service pain points.

  • Usability pain points are related to the usability of a product or service, such as difficulty navigating the website, slow loading times, or confusing navigation menus.
  • Customer service pain points are related to customer service, such as long wait times, unhelpful customer service agents, or lack of response to customer inquiries.

Identifying and addressing these pain points can help you improve the user experience and increase customer satisfaction.

Specific examples of pain points

There are many examples of pain points, ranging from minutiae to macro-level issues. A few common examples are:


  • Difficulty accessing a website
  • Slow loading times
  • Confusing navigation menus
  • Inaccurate search results
  • Difficult checkout process

Customer service

  • Unhelpful customer service agents
  • Lack of response to customer inquiries
  • Lack of clear next steps to address user questions or problems
  • Long wait times on customer service calls
  • Limited or confusing information on company policies and procedures

How to uncover user pain points

Once you have identified problem areas and potential pain points, you need to uncover the root cause in order to address them. There are a variety of techniques that can be used to research the user experience.

Conduct user research

User research is an important part of identifying and addressing user pain points. Through user research, you can gain insights into the user’s experience and identify areas of difficulty and frustration.

Synthesize and prioritize the research

Once you have collected the data from your user research, it is important to synthesize and prioritize the data. This will help you to identify the most pressing pain points and develop strategies to address them.

Get to the root of the problem

Analyze the data to identify patterns and trends, and prioritize the pain points based on their impact on the user experience within the context of your available resources.

Pro-tip: Tools like Mural’s find and filter options allow you to quickly collect and organize content, making it easier to quickly synthesize and prioritize your data.

Address the root cause of the pain point

Once you’ve identified your key patterns and trends, it’s time to build a strategy and tactics to address the root cause. It’s important to be specific about what you’ll be measuring so that you have benchmarks to check against to determine the success or failure of your solutions, and allow for course corrections along the way.

Measure impact and review

Lastly, it’s important to measure the impact of your strategies and review your progress in order to ensure that your efforts are having the desired effect. Additionally, it will help you to identify any new pain points that may have arisen and to develop strategies to address them.

Here again, gathering new feedback from users can provide valuable insights into their experience and help you identify areas of improvement.

By regularly reviewing your progress, you can ensure that your efforts are having the desired effect and that customer satisfaction is increasing.

The Agile retrospective model provides an effective way to measure impact and review progress, as it allows teams to review their work, share feedback, and take steps to improve the user experience.

Related: How to Run a Sprint Retrospective + Templates

Techniques for researching the user experience

Techniques such as contextual inquiry, interviews, and journey mapping can help you uncover the root cause of the pain points and develop strategies to address them.

  • Contextual inquiry involves observing users in their natural environment to gain insights into their experience.
  • Interviews involve asking participants questions about their experiences. These techniques can help you uncover the root cause of the pain points.
  • A user journey map can help to identify user pain points by visualizing the user's journey and highlighting potential areas of difficulty and frustration.
An image of the Mural user journey template
Kickstart your process with the Mural User Journey  template
  • An empathy map can help you gain a better understanding of user needs, goals, and motivations by allowing you to gain insights into their experiences.
  • The Five Whys worksheet is a useful tool for helping to uncover the root cause of a problem by asking "why" five times to trace the issue back to its origin.
  • Creating a problem statement is can be an essential step in understanding and addressing user pain points.

The bottom line

Remember: Identifying pain points shouldn't be painful. To get a clear picture of your users’ experience and use that feedback to guide your processes, you should:

  • Listen to user feedback
  • Ask questions
  • Test the product with real users
  • Conduct user research
  • Synthesize and prioritize the research
  • Get to the root of the problem
  • Address the root cause of the pain point
  • Measure impact and review

With these steps in mind, you can make sure you’re identifying the most pressing user pain points and addressing them in order to improve the user experience and increase customer satisfaction.

Identifying user pain points is essential for creating a successful product or service. It’s a constantly evolving process, as every change or update to a product of platform shifts the landscape. In light of this, staying on top of user research is crucial for any business.

That’s where Mural comes in. With intuitive, collaborative, and flexible tools, you can engage better with internal stakeholders as well as customers.

Get started today with a Free Forever account, invite unlimited members, and help ensure that you’re building an enduring product and experience that your users love.


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About the author

About the authors

Bryan Kitch

Bryan Kitch

Content Marketing Manager
Bryan is a Content Marketing Manager @ MURAL. When he's not writing or working on content strategy, you can usually find him outdoors.