User Flow. How to Guide Your Users So They Reach the Goal

Why are User Flow diagrams so important to your site and how to create them?

Rick Mess       |       May 5, 2020

What is User Flow?

You want your site to work, rather than hanging as a useless picture, right? Would you like to understand where your users are going, what is their end goal and how will it be achieved? This is the reason why user flow exists.

It’s to your interests that users go through the route planned by the marketing specialist — from the beginning to the end of the journey through the sales funnel. It’s to the interests of users to have a convenient and logical way to achieve the desired result. User Flow can be represented in the form of a state diagram showing the future journey of users through the marketing funnel. You can plan this journey so that it meets your expectations and the expectations of the users.

Why it’s necessary to plan User Flow?

In order for developers to know what content should be included in each screen of the web interface and mobile interface, you need to plan a user flow. This is the basis for developing and testing experience that meets the needs of users and helps them achieve their goals. Creating User Flow will save you time, energy, and money in the long run.

The success of your site is influenced by how easily users can navigate it. By comparing user flows, you can create a positive user experience and determine how easy it will be for users to achieve their end goal, as well as remove obstacles on their way.

How to create User Flow?

Option 1. Together with the developers

Our practice of design and development has shown that even if the customers fully understand the importance of User Flow, not many want to do it on their own. People are afraid to do something wrong, or they do not have the time and desire to figure everything out. In such cases, we make User Flow together — this saves time and allows us to move on to the next stages of project development quickly. If you doubt that you can create User Flow on your own, you can do it together with the Outcrowd team. This is convenient, cause we, as developers, must go into your project by some means or other to understand in which direction we should develop it.

Option 2. On your own

Don’t worry, it’s not difficult. You will need tools that are always at hand — Pencil, Ruler, and Head. For those who want to do everything clearly and beautifully, there are special programs, which we’ll describe below. If you can draw a scheme like this, then there will be no problem with a user flow:

Before drawing the diagrams, you need to prepare yourself: first of all, collect and systematize marketing information.

1. Define your business goal and tasks

The goal is what will be achieved at the end of the day. The path to the goal consists of a chain of particular tasks. You should have ready answers for the following questions:

2. Define the goal and tasks of your users

The real story is that any developers put the achievement of your business goals in the foreground. The site is made convenient for functions that will bring you income. Therefore, the convenience of users is rather in your hands. Look at the site (application) through their eyes. Make it clear to developers that the interests of users are important to you.

You need a clear understanding of who your visitors are. For these reasons, you can create several fictional persons — generalized characters of different groups within the target audience. Two to four people are usually enough to represent the maximum percentage of the target audience.

You will need answers to the following questions:

Additional questions will also be useful, for example:

It is useful to divide users into categories: researchers, potential buyers, and interested buyers.

3. Determine how visitors will find your site

Your User Flow should describe the user’s actions from the entry point to the conversion point. The entry point is the page from which your visitors can get on the site. Websites can be accessed from different points, while applications often have limited entry points. Entry points can be:

Depending on the number of entry points, you’ll need to show how users merge into the user flow. Perhaps each group will merge differently.

Collected information will make it easier for you to imagine how the person you described solves its problem.

Let’s take an online clothing store as an example and define the user, his goal, and steps to achieve the goal. Let the user be a young mother whose goal is to buy children’s shoes. One of the scenarios for a step sequence may look like this:

4. Create a flow outline

So, we need to create a perfect path for users to navigate the site so that your business goals and user goals intercross.

What does a scenario for user flow look like? There is no consistent approach to creating diagrams. You can simply draw it on paper or a blackboard. If you prefer the digital format, then there are convenient web services for this, for example Bizagi, Caccoo, or Gliffy. It will be comfortable for someone to fill in cells in Excel or Google Sheets. Even though Microsoft Word is a word processor, not a diagramming program, it is still possible for users to add shapes and create flowcharts.

It’s recommended to start with a draft or sketch. Start with the recording of primary flow, like a mind map. Each frame drawn should represent a step in the user action. To represent the various steps of the process, you can use rectangular shapes and circles, and then connect the steps using lines and arrows.

Your flow-diagram should include three main steps: the entry point, the main steps, and the final step in completing the task or final interactions.

This stage usually consists of an image of entry or registration, the main screen, and any screens needed to navigate the task until it is completed. Every step should be vital for the task. Your sketch should not describe all aspects of your platform. Follow only the steps that your users need to achieve their end goal. Keep it simple!

The last step is the last screen that the user will see when he completes the desired task. He must understand that it’s completed. An example of the last step for purchasing an item can be a confirmation screen informing that the order has been received.

When you have elaborated on the user flow diagram, share it with UX designers, web developers, and software developers to provide context before they begin designing your website or application.

Conclusion

Creating a User Flow scheme saves you time and money in the long run. It helps developers understand your goals and user interactions with the product. You can create a flow diagram on your own or together with the developers, as you wish. The main thing is to understand its necessity.

The Outcrowd team considers working in collaboration as the best option. Together with our clients, we pass this important stage more quickly and see in which direction we should move, how we can better develop the idea, and make the project truly effective.

Sincerely yours, Outcrowd.