In the world of UX design, the need for control almost never meets with a good response. Each of team members in the chain wants freedom with which to express their potential.
We talked about the developers and designers having their goals, the end user their own, while it is up to the UX designer to reconcile these two sides and realize the end user’s need for a positive experience.
However, what if we tell you that it is possible to bring these processes into harmony with concrete processes so that a positive realization is almost certain? By standardizing the process, to provide a concrete flow that is easy to follow and even easier to influence possible "outages"?
Kaizen methodology in UX design is really a "gift". With its philosophy, it is applicable in all processes and activities, and in every business, be it production, sales or design. In fact, all these areas are connected by one and the same thing. End user satisfaction or a customer or a client. It doesn't matter at all. All of them ultimately want value that will be commensurate with their investment of time, knowledge or money.
Experience speaks in favor of the fact that it is the most difficult to determine the patterns according to which some processes take place. In order to be able to determine them, we have to go a step deeper and that is what influenced the creation of patterns.
From a UX design point of view, the basic correctness is the end user’s understanding. What is it that he wants, what influences his choice, is there a better, more lasting solution, will he be really satisfied, what can he do to prevent possible dissatisfaction? These are just some of the questions that need to be answered in order to create a good basis for creating a sustainable User flow.
What is user flow?
The concept of User flow comes from psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalii. He believed that the essence of a good result when working with patients is "entering their mind" and what they really (don't) want. This concept is very applicable in UX design because it uses cognitive functions to create a positive end-user experience.
User flow or User diagram represents the entire path that needs to be taken together with the user, in order to reach positive solutions.
User flow therefore represents the entire path and movement of the user from the first to the last activity or interaction.
Every project starts with user flow diagram. When cross-functional teams start a new project, user flow determines how backend architecture needs to be made, what UI developers would need to code, how designers will approach and enhance the experience..
Not an easy job. However, what can be a problem is that there are many "paths" that the end user can take. To simplify this, take, for example, a user who wants to access some information or product. The first, starting point would be access to the digital platform and the end point is shopping or purchasing information. So, taking into account the access point and the needs are only a part of the puzzle that needs to be put together in order for the end user to return satisfied again.
For this reason, displaying this process allows designers to evaluate and optimize the user experience and thus increase customer conversion rates.
User flow has proven to be one of the very good tools in the world of UX design that brings some clarity to the complex world of user experiences. However, in order to avoid "wandering" in creating User flow, it is necessary to use simple, small steps. Sounds familiar? Yes, and here Kaizen philosophy makes the processes much simpler.
Why do we need user flow in UX?
By defining the foundation of User flow, a basis for further planning and design is created. Of course, after extensive user research. Presenting a detailed flow diagram can help validate design decisions to colleagues.
When the User flow creation cycle is complete, empathy and personalizing with the end-user is on higher level. Then the technical elements that will enable the realization of the desired project come on the scene. It should be borne in mind that solutions are constantly being revised and User flow can be iterating and edited if further research is deemed necessary. Especially when technical constraints occur.
User flow in a website or application can prove useful regardless of whether a completely new platform is being designed or an old one is being reconstructed. The more complex the project is, the higher the value of user flow. Especially for digital platform products and services. The importance of user flow also speaks the fact that Google for best SEO result requires sitemap be sent, which is actually user flow.
User flows serves as a basis creating a good and intuitive interface. By standardizing the User flow, with the help of the Kaizen methodology, it is possible to facilitate movements through the platform, ensuring that no user time is spent in further search, regardless of the choice of the end user's movement route.
For an existing interface, User flow diagrams help determine what works and what doesn't, and which areas need improvement.
Mapping the movements within the interface helps to determine the options that the user has on each page and whether they will reach the married goal without wasting time. Present your product to clients or colleagues.
Although not all end users may perform tasks the same and have different routes around the platform, mapping User flow will allow for a positive end-user experience and understanding the bad ones.
By creating User flow, we put on end-users shoes
We said the starting point is to understand the needs of the end user, right? User flow is based on what the user is doing. Understanding who they are, their motivations, needs and behaviours is crucial to making an efficient User flow diagram. This means understanding their needs and motivations. To make it easier to set up the forms, you need to consider all the ways in which the user could potentially navigate the site or application.
A very important question: is this function absolutely necessary? By answering such questions, we are getting closer to the positive experiences of end users with each step.
We become the end user. That is why experienced people say that no.1 skill for UX designers is actually empathy. This is the only way we can achieve positive outcomes. Is getting to know the needs of the end user everything? It's not.
The next activity is to determine the contour of the User flow. These contours have three levels. With each of the levels, the UX designer is getting closer to "exactly what you want, the way you want it".
Once the approach is determined, the trajectory needs to be determined. Sometimes it is most effective to visualize what they see, what actions they are taking to achieve their goal. This will help you identify the pages that need to be created, what information / content you need to provide and how they should be linked to each other. This phase usually consists of a login or registration screen, boarding, a home screen, and all the screens needed to navigate to the completed task.
Realization is the next and final screen that the user will see when he fulfils the desired goal.
User flow and User journey are not the same
Both terms are used in product development to describe customer interaction with a service or product. Yet there are subtle differences: the user journey describes the situations in which the customer would interact with the service- the steps of these interactions, while the user flow, on the other hand, describes the actual routes that users follow within the digital product. Therefore, it refers to the actual interaction, not the potential interaction.
However, these two terms also have similarities. Both of these aspects of UX design work with the needs of the user - more precisely what the user intends to achieve using the product. Both forms allow companies to collect data that inform decisions about how best to meet customer needs. Both forms can determine user behaviour and track actual user flow, as well as hypothetical travel.
Significant differences between User flow and User journey are also noticeable. While User journey focuses on the UX design of the entire process from start to finish, User flow focuses on the individual stages of UX as pragmatic use cases. The User journey involves the emotional response of end-users. There is a tool that is available to use in a user journey: empathy map. Empathy maps are part of an exercise that will very quickly allow you to capture insights about your customer types.
User flow is a tool (interface or other structure) in UX design that allows User journey to be a guide that leads users to their destination.
Get into end-user shoes at UX
Often, confusion can occur in the stages of creating steps and diagrams. Nevertheless, Kaizen has found its application in UX design in this situation as well, using forms for specific activities, processes or interactions.
Each form is an interaction and provides more information about what is happening in a particular step. For example, circles are used to represent entry / exit points or to connect to another web page or screen. The circle is used mainly to represent the action. They show the task that needs to be completed or the steps that need to be taken. Rectangle, represents a page or screen, home pages, confirmation pages, etc.
With a couple of shapes we can create a simple map that is understandable to everyone. And it does not involve a large investment.
Such forms are universal in the standardization of the graphical representation of the flow and enable easier communication between roles in the process of creating digital changes.
Certainly, the most important label is the name of the flow chart. It is important to use a title that describes exactly what User flow represents.
Kaizen is the standard, but in UX design it allows us to play with colors, shapes and relationships and let everyone in the chain understand us without confusion, to understand you and your wishes. Maintaining such a visual structure helps to easily monitor User flow, as well as any possible change is not misleading.
User flow is a great way to get into end-user shoes at UX. However, when it comes to mastering the user experience, it is the practice that will decide. And keep in mind that once created User flow is not fixed. It is subject to constant change. Over and over again. Plan-do-check-act.
Let Kaizen your User flow
In addition to process fragmentation, the Kaizen methodology has spawned another system that has proven to be effective in UX design as well. If you were looking for a 5-step process or advice, here they are. There are several steps that need to be followed to minimize omissions and errors.
1. Get the name to User flow. This will help everyone in the chain of digital creation to understand its basis.
2. Stick to one direction when drawing the flowchart. It is much easier to read the diagram when the process takes place in one direction.
3. Make sure the scope of the user flow diagram covers a single task or a single goal of your user. If the user stream covers only half of the task or maps steps that cover more than one user goal, an error will occur.
4. It is desirable to add only the necessary information and avoid any other detail that doesn’t help to describe the flow and actions of the user.
5. It is recommended to use digital tools for teamwork. It will save you time, but also space.
User flow is actually an integral part of every project. The question is who will be the creator. It can be UX designers or the client himself, which gives us a basis for further design changes.
Or we can do it from scratch.