If you are a web or app developer, or if you work with developers, it is important to have a basic understanding of user flows and what they are used for. In this blog post, we will define user flows and explain why they are needed in the development process. We will also provide some tips on how to create effective user flows.
What Is UX Design?
If you are learning about website design, you have most likely come across the phrase “UX design” and have wondered what it meant. UX design simply stands for user experience design and is focused on creating a meaningful experience for the user. However, it’s important to note that UX design doesn’t just relate to websites, it also entails the design of the process that integrates with the entire product or service, such as usability, aspects of branding, function, and more.
The primary concern for UX designers is not about controlling how a person thinks and feels, but rather how a service, interface, system, or product looks and behaves, and how that would affect the experience of the user. For example, will the user be overwhelmed with the number of clickable options on a site? Is the user being directed effectively towards specific buttons? Does the design of the website incorporate the brand personality? And so on.
What Are User Flows?
In short, user flows are diagrams that show how a user interacts with your app or website. By creating effective user flows, you can ensure that your users can easily navigate your interface and find the information or functionality they need. More than this, they also represent a process or workflow from the perspective of the user. User flows created using a flow chart creator can be used for pretty much anything that requires choices for the user.
What do they look like? They essentially look like diagrams with many nodes branching off of other nodes. For example, when the user starts the app, does the user have an account? (Yes or No). If yes, a branch would be created for the user to go to the log-in screen with another node branching off with “forgot password”, and if no, a branch would be created for the user to create an account.
Types of User Flows
The next thing that should be understood is that there isn’t just one type of user flow there are quite a few, and they all serve different functions. Most UX designers incorporate a few different types of user flows when in the design stage.
- Task flow: This is the most common type of user flow, and is the one that was described above. The task flow highlights the flow of basic functions when a user would interact with a product, website, app, or service. For example, home page-> user searches for football-> football products are shown-> individual product page.
- Wireflow: A wire flow is a rudimentary mockup of what an app or website would look like and combines a user flow. In other words, it shows branching nodes of decisions a user could make.
- UI flow: Finally, a UI flow is very similar to a wired flow except for the fact that the UI is much more detailed, and the choices a user could make are more detailed too. For example, a UI flow would show a node of a user selecting a video to watch from a news feed, then a branching node if the user decides to turn the phone with the video becoming full screen.
Why Are They Needed?
At this point, you might be wondering why user flows are necessary, and the answer to that question is relatively simple; they are an efficient way of describing not only the user experience but also what service, product, website, or app might be capable of. It’s a really fast way to visualize the process, and everyone can understand it.
Another reason they are so necessary is that they allow for the process to be demonstrated before the UI is created. The UI should be made to support the process, and with the process being created first, it’s easy to understand how it should look in practice.