Now almost every business has its website or application. Some use it to make good money selling products or providing services, while others cannot understand why their indicators are several times lower than competitors’. Usability is the ease of use of a web resource. The visitors’ further actions depend on how comfortable it is for them to interact with the site. For example, if it’s easy for them to perceive information and purchase a product, they will do it immediately or later. But if they can’t find the offer that interests them, they’ll simply leave and not return. This article is about why user flow is so important and why businesses need to pay attention to it.

What is the user flow?

User Flow is a tool that UX designers use when designing interfaces (learn more about why UX design is important in our article). Creating user interaction scenarios (User Flow) helps in the early stages to determine how the user will interact with your site or application, identify weaknesses, and fix them promptly.

Do you want your users to follow the planned route when they visit the site or use the mobile app design? Do you want them to follow the sales funnel from start to finish? The flow of users exists for this very purpose. If you want your user to reach their ultimate goal and take the desired action, you must provide them with a reliable journey through the marketing funnel, and you need to plan this journey to meet user expectations.

what is user flow

What is User Flow in design?

Psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi first proposed the concept of flow in UX design. A flow is a mental state in which a person is fully involved in what he or she is doing, characterized by active concentration and full involvement. Therefore, when designing User Flow, you need to rely on these fundamental concepts of the psychology of perception.

Why is it essential to use user flow in your products?

Ask yourself why you are creating a project (it doesn’t matter if it’s a website or an application.) To solve a problem of your user or provide them with a product or service, right? But you need to know about all possible user interactions with an app or website design for the user to be provided with all the possibilities while using your product.

The user flow tools will provide an overview of all possible interactions and improve the user experience with the site in the future.

User Flow development instruction

In its simplest form, a custom diagram is constructed as follows:

  1. Describe the user: the user’s environment, the goal and expectations/fears on the way to the goal, the motivators to keep moving. It may contain various metrics. Ideally, if you will rely on observations of the behavior of live users (in reality, within the product, or better, in a complex manner).
  2. Display the expected (user) action plan to achieve the goal: the thinking pattern is (A-start) → (1) → (2) → (3) → (B-goal), where 1 → 2 → 3 are the steps that are required to reach the goal. This will create a story. This story should be as clean and straightforward as possible to show us the complete picture of the user’s interaction with the product. Ideally, suppose you will rely on what the user is already familiar with.
  3. Then render block by block for each step. The visualization algorithm is the same as with the classic flowcharts that you mix with the interface screens. Each designer develops a similar constructor to work out User Flow in a specific subject area. It’s ideal if you are paired with a business analyst who helps with assembling the entire business process in Business Process Model and Notation (BPMN) format.

How to design a user flow: 8 tips for designers

Regardless of User Flow may look completely different, each user flow diagram must have the following eight key elements:

1) A name with useful action

Give your User Flow a meaningful name with the gist of the root. For example, you can call it “Calling a taxi to your home” or “Ordering pizza and other goodies for a company of 7 people for a friend’s birthday.”

2. Everyone moves in one direction only

With this approach, you will have a clear route from (A) → (B). Strive for a balance of functionality and conciseness. Avoid turning a simple straight line into a tangle of multidirectional scenarios.

3. One goal per User Flow

To understand this concept, just imagine being asked to update your profile photo when posting!

The user dives into the product to achieve one specific goal. Therefore, try to organize its work so that the user moves step by step towards the goal. Help users reach the goal and avoid distracting factors on the way to the plan.

4. Add a legend

Everyone in the team will understand the scheme more clearly if you make a classic legend along the edge of the map, as in games. So everyone can figure out what’s what. For example, indicate in the legend that circles are entry points, rectangles are screens, diamonds are forks in decision making, etc. You can also refer to the BPMN notation legend to rely on a certain standard of components like a UI kit, and icons are known to many experts.

5. Decide on the entry point

Every chart should have a clear entry point. Then everyone in the team can unambiguously read the journey diagram from (A) → (B) and get involved in product development.

6. Clear signatures

Outline the key actions, add captions with the purpose of the screens.

7. Colors with meaning

User Flow is usually performed in functional, minimalistic monochrome. This approach helps you focus on function and purpose.

use colors with meaning in user flow

Colors with meaning in User Flow

Read more about colors in design in our article – How to Choose the Correct UI Design Colors for Your Product to Reinforce Your Business. This article is valuable and worth your read.

8. Check the achievement of the goal

Always make sure that your User Flows are genuinely helping you achieve meaningful user goals. Minimize uncertainty and do more research as needed.

To conclude

User Flow helps you focus on human-centered design and achieve your destination’s most comfortable and efficient way. They also add consistency to the team’s work and save time and money. User Flows also guide design decisions and highlight bugs even before the component and visual detailing phase begins. Finally, and most importantly, they encourage the user to look for the easiest way to achieve the goal and involve them in searching for alternatives. Try them on your next project.

And if creating a user flow is an impossible task for you, we are ready to help you with this. Gapsy Studio has extensive experience creating high-quality and functional projects that solve user problems for many years now. So check out the finished projects on Behance and Dribbble. And also take a look at the services we provide. Contact us!