User Flow Diagram: A Powerful Methodology used by UX Designers

Dec 16th, 2021.20 mins read


The ultimate goal of any design project is to create a final product capable of offering an outstanding user experience. Before jumping onto creating an information architecture of the product, it is essential to create an optimized user flow diagram and ensure that it covers all the product screens and the way they are interconnected. Inadvertently it will cover all the features of every screen.

Keep reading to find out how UX experts worldwide apply this simple process to offer the best user experiences.

What does a well-planned User Flow Diagram bring to the table?

  • A User Flow Diagram is a schematic layout of the product consisting of all the main screens, the ecosystem screens and how they are interconnected.
  • A well thought User Flow Diagram gives clarity to the system. It is a map which can be presented to the team, stakeholders and the clients so that everyone is on the same page while the product design is in execution.
  • It helps in creating an intuitive navigation system. A user might take different routes to navigate a product, be it a website or an app. A well designed user flow, identifies all the possible routes and aids the designers to analyze how efficient their navigation system is.
  • It helps identify and efficiently reduce the number of steps, optimize the number of clicks, and ultimately ease the flow from the entry to the point of final action.
  • It helps in rectifying loopholes. With a predefined flow design, it becomes easier to resolve a navigation problem in advance rather than doing the patchwork later.

What is kept in mind while creating a User Flow?

For a successful product the objectives of the user should be aligned with the business objectives. For instance, a user wants to commute to a place within a certain timeframe. The user will immediately open (if downloaded, otherwise will download) a ride hailing app, enter the location, select a wagon, choose a time and book the ride.The above mentioned case is an ideal one in the sense that the user navigates the app easily and gets the cab booked in minimum number of clicks.

This is achievable only with the help of an effective user flow diagram, where every step is clearly defined and every click optimized, so that the user chooses your product over others.

With in-depth analysis of the objectives, a designer is able to map out a user flow, where a user will easily navigate from the entry to the point of final action (of browsing, signing up, purchasing, etc), through conversion funnels.

Further, it is also important to understand through which channel the user is arriving at your website or app. The channels can be Opening the App itself, Email, Social Media, Paid Advertising, Organic search or via direct link. Examining these channels, help in defining entry points to conversion channels, making the designed user flow more optimized.

How is an efficient User Flow Diagram created?

Efficient User Flow Diagram

After taking the objectives of the user into consideration, a rough flow diagram is created, which simply depicts the journey of the user on the platform.

The goal is to design the flow down the funnel, to all possible actions. User flow is of utmost significance as the easier the path for the user, the higher are the chances of conversion. Following are the steps to create an efficient User Flow Diagram.

  • Listing the Screens: With this first step, the navigation of the user flow is ready. All set to incorporate screens in place of the crude boxes of the rough flow chart. Here, every screen through which the user will navigate to all the possible end points, need to be listed.
  • Categorizing the Screens into flows: Every screen will get a purpose after they are categorized into Sign In-flow, Sign Out-flow, Purchase Flow, Dashboard Collaboration, Communications, Help etc. The flows from the primary, secondary and tertiary navigation are also listed in this step.
  • Linking the screens and the flows: This step involves linking the screens to the flows to make a flow diagram. This flow diagram would determine how every screen is interconnected to a particular flow and how all the screens are interconnected with one another in the larger system/navigation. Also, this step determines the different entry and exit points of every flow.
  • Matching it with the user's Mental Model: Now when the User flow is ready, we need to match it with the user’s mental model and figure out how the number of clicks/steps can be optimized. With this, the user can reach the desired action quickly.

    For any product, this initial flow design is a direction, a map to create a successful end product.

The User Flow diagram is an essential element of the design process. It is the fundamental step and needs to be carefully maintained throughout the lifecycle of the project. The efficacy of the user flow can be measured by analyzing how every step is performing by using tools like goal funnels.

The analysis further gives an idea of which step is increasing traffic, while which step is a flow stopper/bottleneck. You can also deploy services like user testing to see how the user navigates the product, which in turn helps to identify the loopholes. The findings can be used to make adjustments to the user flow.

Key Takeaway

To avoid issues like confusing navigation, a tedious signup process, or a bad user experience, it is important to create a methodical User Flow.

It is undoubtedly the most efficient way to enhance the process of user interaction with the product, to create a perfect strategy to design the information architecture, and ultimately to make the users choose your product over the others.

It gives them a full spectrum of understanding regarding the design requirement of the product and subsequently helps them to direct the research in the right direction.

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