What is a user flow? Should you create a user flow? and why? Let’s find out together and learn steps and tips to create great user flows.
- What is UX?
- What is a user flow?
- Role of user flows in UX design
- Other benefits of user flows
- How to create a user flow?
- Things to keep in mind
- Wrap up
What is UX?
UX stands for User Experience. User experience is interactions that users have with products, services, or in this case: websites. User experience in websites design focuses on the usability of the websites, designs, and also website navigations.
UX design includes every elements on the website that the users will see and interact with. UX design have to consider how the site users feel and how easy or hard they can complete their goals of using the websites. Good UX design should be efficient, easy, and provide great experiences for the site visitors.
What is a user flow?
User flow is a visual diagram that show the path that the site users will take to achieve their goals on the websites. User flows are usually in the form of a flow chart, constructed off shapes such as circles, diamonds, rectangles, and arrows to represents different elements. Circles mean entry and end points, diamonds mean decision, and rectangles are for notes.
User flow supposed to be build based on your customers. Think about what is the needs and the goals of the customers, create a user flow in order to serve that needs and take customers to their goals easily.
User flow can be done after user research. Once you know the objectives of the potential user, you then can start designing the flow of the website. User flow involves mapping every step and every possible path that users may take. Each user have their own conditions and goals, so you need to cover every options.
Role of user flows in UX design
More user-centric Website
As I mentioned before that the user flow are created based on customers or users information. When you plan each steps of the interaction between users and your website, the websites will surely become user-centric. User-centric website design will provide great experience foe the site visitors.
Faster work process
User flow help you and your design team visualize the process faster. It make the team know where to start, make the work flows and done well.
It also make everyone in the team work together cohesively. Since they understand all of the process showed in the use flow chart, no one get lost and confused.
You see the bigger picture
Making a user flow get you the change to look at the websites process from the top view. It make spotting the mistakes or room for improvement and editing easier. And eventually perfecting your websites.
Your website is generally better
User flow make your website better in many ways. Making a flow guarantees great navigation for your websites users. It makes sure that everything needed for the customers to get to their goals are on the website, within reach.
It will make your website flows smoothly and not too complicated. When making the user flow, you get to review and refine the user journey. Your website will sure serve the best service for the customers and site visitors.
Other benefits of user flows
Saves time and cost
The user flow is a type of planning and it’s always a good idea to plan before jumping into work. It will save both time and cost, which does not mean we’re cutting corners. Having a good plan of your flow will prevent the team from making errors during the design and development process, as well as preventing you from making any unnecessary functions that only brings burden to your user. Failure to follow might have you faced with unnecessary time and costs, which could have been better spent elsewhere!
Easier to present
Present your works can be hard, especially with the work which have many process and elements. User flow make explaining steps and process of your websites easier.
User flow provide visual demonstration of the process which is easy to understands and could prove useful when presenting the websites to the customers or co-workers, user flow helps a lot. User flow paint words that use describe into picture which is easier for the audience to follow.
How to create a user flow?
To create a user flow, here are steps that you could follow.
1. Get to know the users
The first step of creating a user flow is to get information about your customers and potentials customers. Do a user research to find out their needs, the problem they faced, what do they value and many more.
This is a important steps, you should really learn about your users since the user flow will based on the information from user research. The more information you have, the better the flow and the website. You should be careful and do not make any assumption by yourself since it might ruin the quality of your user flow which then show on your website itself.
2. Outline your flow
In this step, you will outline your user flow. To do this, you might draw a simple flow or a mind map to get you starting. Each boxes and shape you use should represent each step that the user might do to complete their goals.
When outlining the flow, think of the beginning, middle and the end. Think of the entry as the beginning , what do you want the users to see and do when they first come to your website. After that, work on all the steps that take the users to their goals. Lastly, after the users are done with their task, what do they do next?. Think about the final interaction between your websites and the users in the ending part.
3. Assign the meanings to each shapes you use
There are no rules in making a flow chart, but there are a universal meaning of shape that are widely know. Let’s look at the meanings of each shape in writing a user flow.
- Rectangles represent pages on the website or a display screens
- Circles represent action that the user make on the website
- Diamonds represent choices and decisions. We will see diamonds in a user flows when the users need to decide and pick one option.
- arrows represent directions and orders of the steps. It will guide the chart readers to the next steps of the flow. You could say that this is the most important element on the user flow.
4. Review and Refine
When you are done with the user flow, read it over. Review it for errors or any room for improvement. You should have our teamworkers review it with you since they might be able to point out the new idea that you never thought of. Keep in mind that you need perfect user flow to make perfect website for your customers.
Things to keep in mind
After you know the steps of how to make a user flow, here are some tips you could use to better your user flow.
1. Use descriptive words
Putting words in the user flow is not easy due to the limited space. However, you should always be descriptive, make sure everyone who reads it understand you. Keep the wording brief and concise.
2. Use color to your advantage
Color in user flow are not only there for the beauty sake. it should be use to make everyone read the flow easier. You could use color to highlight the important user actions. Color can be a tools for categorize elements in the user flow chart as well.
3. Do not confuse the reader
User flow will be used by many people to, try not to confuse your co-workers. Stick to one direction only and do not make too many turns. Also, keep the flow clear with focusing on one goal at a time. Having more than one goal to reach can be confusing and hard to read.
4. Be consistent
Keep the flow chart consistent by stick to the assigned meaning of each shape. Always use diamonds for decision and circles for actions. Also try to keep the color and size the same as well. This tip will make our user flow look good and easy to read.
Now that you know many benefits of user flow. You can see that it benefits your brand, website, your team and also the customers. With step-by-step guide to create a user flow, your can now gain so much more from one user flow. Consider creating one for your next project or creating one to better your current websites. Don’t forget to keep the user flow simple and understandable as much as possible.