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User Flow based on Flowchart. Principles and tools

User Flow based on Flowchart. Principles and tools

Contents:

General specification of User Flow Diagram.

1.1. What is User Flow?
1.2. Flowchart, application in practice.
1.3. User Flow Diagram designing principles.
1.4. The diversity of User Flow Diagram usage.

Analysis of tools on a practical case.

2.1. Description of the case
2.2. Defining comparison criteria
2.3. Step-by-step tool comparison

What is User Flow?

User Flow is basically a version of a classic Flowchart that is adapted for modern tasks of any UX – specialist. The most popular definition of Flowchart is as follows:
A flowchart is the graphical or pictorial representation of an algorithm in the form of blocks (graphic symbols) that are interconnected with the help of transition lines (communicators), each of which corresponds to one step of the algorithm. For the convenience of reading the Flowchart, there is a description of the corresponding action inside the block or next to it.

Flowchart, application in practice

Flowcharts are applied in different fields of activity. For example, they are used in programming and process documentation for more than a decade. Like other diagrams, Flowcharts are used to visualize the processes in order to find out their non-obvious features and hidden flaws.

User Flow Diagram designing principles

Currently there are no particular set of rules regulating the work with the User Flow Diagram. However, the Diagram inherits key features of the Flowchart. Because of this, there is an unwritten rule in a professional environment – to use the principles of classic Flowchart designing when creating User Flow Diagrams. Flowchart, in its classic sense, is widely used nowadays, and the decades of diagram usage make it easy and understandable for everyone. Therefore, it is the one of the easiest ways to present your idea to a Client or developer.
The key principles of using the most popular Flowchart elements are given in the following table:

flowchart definition

The diversity of User Flow Diagram usage

Each new product begins with its conceptualization. Following this logic, the User Flow Diagram is the way to understand the product through the eyes of the user.
Despite the fact that User Flow is a tool the actions of which are not limited to the first stages of design-thinking, the User Flow methodology should be implemented in the project as soon as possible. Such advice is due to a rational desire to reduce development costs by identifying errors during design process. However, if for some reason the Diagram was not made at the very beginning, it still needs to be constructed. The diversity of User Flow allows you to implement the methodology at any stage of product development. No matter which stage of development you are at – the User Flow Diagram is still the easiest and cheapest way to identify errors in your project.

Description of the case

In this section we will compare the performance of several tools that are used to design User Flow. But before we begin, you need to examine the case that will be used for comparison.

The diagram shows a scenario where the entry point is “the user who heard about the application from his friend, who has motivated him to install it”. As the diagram shows, he had downloaded a mobile application to his device and completed the registration, and then made the first purchase in an online store and arranged a delivery. Because of the diagram, we can easily trace and analyze the entire user route, evaluate the conditions the user is faced with and plan user’s decisions, in order to bring him to the final goal as quick and easy as possible, providing a good UX.

Defining comparison criteria

I used the diagram reviewed above to compare between four tools that are used to design the User Flow – FlowMapp, Whimsical, Miro and Lucidchart. From my point of view, the complexity of the considered diagram is optimal for the comparison, since the potential of its designing requires the UX-specialist to implement the User Flow. You can see the final outcome of each tool on the corresponding links: FlowMapp, Whimsical, Miro, Lucidchart.
The following comparison criteria were defined:
Dashboard, Workflow and Pricing. The criteria were not chosen randomly, each of them may be decisive in the matter of subscription. Dashboard is the foundation of convenient management of a large number of projects, and the basis of clear service navigation. Workflow should be thought out by the developers and provide a convenient model of user-service interaction. Pricing is the most ambiguous criterion, and we will do our best to choose the best service for each particular situation.

Top flowchart tools comparison

Dashboard

The logic of dashboard organization dashboards in the reviewed services can be divided into two types. Lucidchart and Whimsical display all the previously created diagrams in one window and provide an opportunity to create a new one by selecting its type in the top panel.

Whimsical dashboard
Lucidchart dashboard
Lucidchart dashboard

FlowMapp and Miro use a different model of organizing the diagrams you have created. The diagrams here are distributed by “Projects” in FlowMapp and “Board” in Miro.

Miro dashboard
Flowmapp dashboard
Flowmapp dashboard

It should be noted that it is also possible to group the created diagrams in Whimsical, further distributing them into groups, which is not possible in Lucidchart. Taking into account the fact that one Flowchart is often not enough within a project, the Lucidchart’s dashboard interface looks unreasoned, overloaded and may complicate the navigation process within long-term and extensive projects. Distribution by projects in FlowMapp, Miro and Whimsical, on the other hand, makes navigation quick and easy.

Workflow

Considering the workflow of a particular tool, it should be taken into account that many users are looking for a service to create a Flowchart as an alternative to Sketch or Figma, where it is difficult to edit a large diagram or there is no possibility to work as a team. If you ever tried to create a Flowchart in one of these tools, you must have noticed that these very popular graphic editors are not suitable for such a task. Most of the functionality of the above mentioned graphic editors is useless, and the format of free transformation of objects on artboard increases the amount of work, forcing you to concentrate on trivial things like lines alignment, elements dragging and form editing. Using Sketch or Figma, we are faced with the same problems when we also want to edit a diagram, which we have to do quite often.

Miro

This is a good tool that can help you solve a lot of problems, but, unfortunately, is not suitable for professional work with Flowchart. The main problem of Miro is the logic on which the UX tool is built. Miro is a “whiteboard” which has several templates, including Flowchart, on the basis of which the User Flow can be created. The whiteboard principle in its essence does not provide an alternative to overloaded graphics editors like Sketch and Figma, forcing the user to face the same problems like resizing, elements positioning. It causes endless cleaning up processes, contributes to procrastination, and takes a lot of time. Also, a large number of templates and functions may scare a new user, despite the generally modern UI.

Miro workflow
Miro workflow

Whimsical

This is a simplified RTB – just as much as needed. Despite the fact that Whimsical adopts the main disadvantage of RTB – the principle of constructing a diagram on the “whiteboard” basis, it is pleasant to see how they make a good product. Whimsical’s well-turned decision is that they disposed of all the useless functionality that the RTB is filled with, leaving only the essential functions. Useful functionality, hotkeys, and, without a doubt, a good UI make this tool suitable for professional usage. One of the drawbacks is the poor logic of connectors binding and their weak customization.

Whimsical workflow
Whimsical workflow

Lucidchart

Among the tools reviewed by this article, this one is the oldest. Having a huge experience, Lucidchart undoubtedly had the opportunity to make a good product, but, unfortunately, they did not take advantage of this opportunity. Lucidchart is hard to work with. It is very slow; the interface is overloaded in the best traditions of mid-2000s Microsoft Office suite. Among other things, there are no basic tools; even the element transformation tool is missing. And of course, as with all the services that are built on the basis of a “whiteboard” it is inconvenient to unite connectors, the customization is poor and there is also the lack of connecting elements. Lucidchart is unable to compete with non-professional tools like RTB, nor with the graphic editors mentioned earlier.

Lucidchart workflow
Lucidchart workflow

FlowMapp

The logic of FlowMapp operation is fundamentally different from all the tools analyzed above. Unlike other tools, FlowMapp has a number of restrictions. These restrictions are designed to help you focus on your creative work. On FlowMapp, elements and lines are automatically drawn and connected in the right places of the grid, providing you with a flawlessly clean scheme. FlowMapp has a very simple, effective and intuitive interface that provides the user with all the necessary information. The creation of elements does not force you to do anything unnecessary, due to the automatic positioning of blocks on the grid. If you hover the cursor over any empty space, you are immediately prompted to create a new element that you can easily move around the grid or transform. You can also customize connectors and linking elements with ease.

FlowMapp workflow
FlowMapp workflow

Pricing

Before you subscribe to one of the tools, it is vital to estimate the amount of work that needs to be done. If you need a Diagram in order to structure your idea, and plan to use it as some sort of alternative to Mind map, then you can use any service from this list. In this case, each service provides a Free-account that will allow you to create at least one project for free. Keep in mind, that Lucidchart has a limit on the number of elements created inside the Diagram.
If you need to create a full-fledged User Flow and you plan to continue working on it as a team or if you have to show it to the Client, and most importantly, if you want to transform it and approve edits, you should definitely look towards FlowMapp and Whimsical. The minimum subscription price for Whimsical is $12. Once purchased, you will be able to create Flowchart, Wireframe, Stickynotes, and Mind map. In the case of FlowMapp – only $12,75 for a Pro account. It is the minimum entry threshold that will provide you with a professional tool, the functions of which are not limited to Diagram creation. The FlowMapp will help you create a visual Sitemap, each page of which will have a chat, structure and description of the page. There is also the ability to attach files and links. All this combined allows you to structure communication with your team and the Client by context, as well as store the source code of the project in one place, eliminating the need to pay for a Dropbox or any other cloud storage.
The minimum subscription price for one people on team for Miro is 10$. A Lucidchart Pro account will cost you $11.95 per month.

In conclusion

Apparently, every good product started with the right approach to its design. Flowchart is a tool that had passed the test of time. The experience of using this tool for decade proves its effectiveness in designing new products and upgrading already existing ones. As seen from this article, there are a lot of modern tools that allow you to create Diagrams and work on them as a team. The usage of web-based tools that are meant to create a User Flow significantly reduces the amount of time spent on the Diagram creation; it also allows you to detect and eliminate possible errors in the process of design, and ultimately it helps to reduce the costs when it comes to product development and elaboration.

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5 User Experience Mistakes Made Accidentally by Every Designer

Websites, applications, and products should all be designed with the goal of being obvious, self-explanatory and self-evident to use. Users should not have to rely on complex instructions or manuals to use them, because odds are, they won’t read them. There are a lot of user experience (UX) mistakes out there these days which rely on instructions or aren’t user friendly. Below are the most common UX mistakes that designers make without realizing. 

1. Focusing on the concept instead of the user.

Conceptual models which designers come up with in their mind are fine, but when the designer gets focused on the model and ignores the usability of it, problems can arise. The mental model is how a user imagines that a product or service should be, so a good website can merge the designer (conceptual) model and the user (mental) model. 

When the conceptual model, which is the user interface does not meet the user’s expectations, the user experience will not be positive and the website will lose its customer. 

2. Focusing too much on eye-tracking data.

There is a common misconception that eye-tracking data will give designers specific information about where users are looking and for how long. Although there’s some good benefits to using eye-tracking data, the negatives far outweigh the benefits. As explained by design blogger Terry Cluft of Boomessays and Revieweal, “eye-tracking data will tell you what someone looked at, but you won’t know if they paid attention to it or just glanced at it. It also only measures central vision, dismissing the important peripheral vision.” 

Your design decisions shouldn’t rely completely on your eye-tracking data, and instead look into testing visual or auditory signals. 

3. Reconsider your use of pop-ups.

Marketers rely a lot on pop-ups because they’ve been shown to be a good lead generation tool. Some of the best ways of increasing subscriptions to blogs are through pop-ups, and the studies will back that. However, Google warned websites in 2016 that websites with pop-ups or other intrusive interstitials that are obscuring the content would see a drop in their search rankings. The following year, in 2017, Google decided to penalize all sites with pop-ups and email capture light-boxes. 

These are all measures to improve the experience of mobile search so users can more easily access content without interstitial interruptions. Google also made a distinction between good pop-ups and bad pop-ups. UX designer at State of writing and Essayroo Pamela Anker explains that “if it comes up immediately as soon as the user arrives on a page or the user is interacting with a page, and the pop-up hides the main content, or the interstitial pops up immediately before the user gets to the content, it will likely get penalized by Google.” 

On the other hand, if an interstitial is part of a legal obligation like age verification or cookie usage, or a login to content accessible through a paywall, as well as banners that don’t take up much screen space and can be dismissed easily, Google will allow those for the time being. Read more about the distinctions are design your pop-ups with that information in mind. 

4. Collecting feedback too early.

Another extremely common mistake is collecting feedback from your users too soon, because you might end up attracting more negative reviews. Ideally, wait a couple of days before emailing users if you want fair feedback. People like the time to think about something before deciding, and if you email them too quickly, they might get frustrated at being pressured to respond.  

5. Selecting the wrong users for user testing.

If you’re getting only certain users or ideal users to test your website or app, you’re going about it the wrong way. You should only be testing certain users if your product targets only that group of people. However, for any other situation, you need to design your website in such a way that the least tech-savvy person can use it. You don’t need experts to test your website; instead, look for a user that matches your target audience. 

These mistakes all point to the same conclusion: products and websites should be easy for the client to use. They should be obvious, self-explanatory and self-evident. 

Authors BIO

Ellie Coverdale is a marketing and design blogger at Big Assignments and Top Canadian Writers. She is involved in user experience and user interface projects and developing new strategies for online businesses. She is also a teacher for writing skills at Student Writing Services.

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Advice For Optimizing Your User Flows

Advice For Optimizing Your User Flows

Understanding the User Flow for your site is something that is promoted heavily by all UX designers and a lot of other professionals in surrounding fields. It’s not a surprise since if you are able to get a really strong handle on the user flow, then you have a very valuable insight into your users themselves and that specific area in which your intentions and your customers intentions ideally align. Much can be done to affect the user flow, and its development is an issue of fine balances. Changing even a tiny amount at one stage in the user flow can have an extraordinarily large impact on the rest of the experience. Optimizing your user flow is a specific and important skill which, when completed effectively, can result in a huge boost to your site. When misunderstood, it can lead to disaster. So, with that said, let’s take a look at some tips for creating more effective user flows.

Know Your Audience

This is the most important step to optimizing your user flows, by a considerable margin. It doesn’t matter how much research you’ve done on user flow techniques or previous examples of user flows being utilized to great effect, if you haven’t understood the types of people that use your site or your app, you will fall at the first hurdle. “Knowing your audience is more than picturing what you think ‘normal’ people would do. There’s no such thing. Whether you get to it through rigorous product testing, focus grouping, market research or any other method, you need as complete a picture of the users for your product to begin to piece together how they will possibly make their way through the experience you are cultivating for them”, explains Michael Sitwell, tech writer at Last Minute Writing and Writinity. Knowing your audience is the fundamental building block for the entire process and ought to inform just about every single decision that you make with regards to your user flow. No amount of time is enough when it comes to devoting yourself to establishing this.

Never Stopping

In the build up to the release of an app or a website there is usually an immense amount of work that is needed to be done, with everyone on the time going all guns blazing to try and make sure that things are working effectively ahead of release. The tendency then is for there to be a sense in which everyone collapses in a heap upon release. The really important thing to remember, as grueling as it might be, is that that isn’t where things end. Optimizing the user flow involves adapting it to meet two changing standards: what you want to achieve through your site or app, and the nature of your userbase. The former standard probably won’t change all that much (though when it does it will be a dramatic shift in all likelihood), and the latter is changing a small amount all the time. You need to be constantly evaluating all of the possible alterations you need to make to your user flow construction to find lasting success.

Test Everything

The test phase of any alteration you make that could affect the user flow is very important and shouldn’t be skimped on. Aim for all of your changes to be put through a thorough test phase before being given the green light so that there aren’t any surprises when the change is out in the public. “Testing allows you to make those adjustments to user flow that you don’t necessarily want the users to know about. Sometimes users knowing that a change has been made to the UX [user experience] can actually create an altogether different reaction, which can be frustratingly unpredictable”, notes Louise Carver, website admin at Draft Beyond and Research Papers UK. 

If In Doubt, Strip Back

User flow is difficult to monitor at the best of times. If you are having trouble seeing the causal link between a design element and a user behavior, then strip everything back and analyze whether content clutter is causing problems.

Conclusion

User flow is one of those indicators that you need to cling on to as a website or app designer. It teaches you so much valuable data that it is vital you don’t ignore about what your customers are all up to and how your decisions affect their reactions. Use it wisely!

Author Bio

Angela J. Bryant is a highly regarded writer and editor at Lucky Assignments and Gum Essays. She specializes in topics related to social media and UX design and has proven of immense help to hundreds of different readers. 

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Personas in the User Flow. Developing the Right User Experience

Personas in the User Flow Developing

No matter what niche your business belongs to, you likely need to know the same thing that all the other businessmen think about: what do your customers want? We live in an era of strong competition when you need to not only provide good products or services but also a convenient overall experience. Analyzing numbers is an obvious method that not always brings good results. This method doesn’t allow you to detect particular customer needs. In addition, customer tastes change quickly so businesses need adaptive solutions. One of the most effective approaches is creating a user persona.

Users personas, also known as marketing personas, are characters based on real user data that represent your customers and are aimed to help you understand them better. Creating user personas can help you improve UI and UX, detect customer pain points, develop your brand identity, adjust your writing voice, etc. For example, user personas can help you choose the right structure for your website, understanding what your visitors are interested in. User personas simplify the decision-making process and make it easier for businesses to determine the right course of action, compared to working with raw data.

A user persona reflects not a particular customer but a whole group of customers. Creating user personas is an approach that allows you to condense a lot of data into a single document which is easy to comprehend. User personas allow you to design the user experience precisely, creating a user flow based on your user persona’s preferences and personality traits.

Advantages of User Flow and User Personas for UX

A user flows is a visualization of steps users have to take to complete a certain action when using an app or website. You may design your user flow in different ways, depending on a specific task. The best approach is to create diagrams, connecting different elements logically. Here are a few good reasons to use user flows during the design process:

  • User flows can improve communication with clients and team members. A user flow is a good way of presenting information to people who are not designers, being able to discuss any important issues with the whole team.
  • User flows focus not on design details but on experience. You can evaluate the overall picture and create a comprehensive experience for users. User flows allow you to plan how your users will interact with the system and how it will react to their actions. You can also plan all the necessary decision points where your users have to make a choice.
  • One of the main advantages of user flows is that they simplify collaboration between designers, developers, and project managers. You can use user flows during workshops, quickly developing and testing different models.

User personas can make your user flows even more effective because you don’t need to check each particular user’s analytics. A user persona collects all the necessary information in one place and makes the data easier to process because it represents a character. If you want to figure out what are your customer’s preferences, the easiest way to find the answer is to imagine a person who will interact with your product.

A user persona should have its name, personal motto, bio, demographics, personal traits, goals, motivations, frustrations, personality traits, and preferred brands or influencers. This way, you’ll be able to get a complete understanding of who your users are.

User Flow Tool

How to Design Your User Flow with the User Flow Tool

The simplest and the most effective way to create a user flow is to use the User Flow Tool. It allows you to create multiple user flows using an endless working space for your diagrams. You can share projects and collect feedback. In addition, you can export your user flows as a PDF, SVG, or an image.

One of the main advantages of diagrams created using the User Flow Tool is flexibility. You can determine the main goal and plan the route for your users depending on their response. Here’s an example of a user flow for a booking app. As you can see, this diagram allows you to plan every step depending on what your user is looking for and what they choose.

Once you’ve selected the main objective, identify the information that your visitors are looking for. What problem do they want to solve? Why do they need this information? What qualities of your product are most important to them? How can you help them take action? What are their doubts? Here’s where a user persona will provide you with the right answers.

After this, you can plan flow steps, leading your users to the right information at the right time. Focus on the most-wanted action and make sure to lead your users to it while keeping in mind their needs, preferences, and motivations.

Conclusion

User flows are extremely effective when you need to design the right user experience. They allow you to see the overall picture, planning your users’ interactions with your website or app. However, to create a proper user flow, you should perfectly understand your users. Analyzing behavioral data on each particular user would be virtually impossible. Fortunately, you don’t need to do it because you can create a user persona that will include all the necessary information on your typical user, including their age, gender, motivations, goals, personality traits, etc. This way, you can plan a user flow with precision, clearly understanding what your users are looking for and creating a seamless user experience.

About the Author

Ester Brierley

Ester Brierley is an experienced QA engineer, balancing freelancing as a virtual assistant for College Writers. Also, she cooperates with different websites covering a broad range of digital topics as a seasoned content creator. Follow her on Twitter.

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