Editor’s Note: the following User Flow Template has been validated by Lead Product Manager at Facebook
Design is having a moment right now, with Product Managers across the board realizing that they need to be more in touch with what their UX and UI designers are doing. It is high time Design was involved from the beginning of the product, rather than handing it over to them at the end to ‘pretty it up.’
To do this, Product Managers need to feel more comfortable communicating with designers in their language. That means getting to grips with some key concepts.
User Flows are one of the key parts of design that Product Managers should be very interested in, as it heavily affects how the user interacts with and experiences the product…which is what it’s all about at the end of the day!
What are User Flows?
User Flows is a visual tool depicted by flow charts, they are a set of steps taken by a user to achieve a goal within a digital product. Rather than demonstrating how the customers are supposed to feel, a User Flow is the breakdown of the actual user interface.
Generally, User Flow diagrams are not very detailed. They contain just the essential information that helps outline the following: represent the goals of system-user interactions, define and organize the functional requirements in a system, specify the context and requirements of a system, and model the basic flow of events. They will affect everything from what features you prioritize to solve your customers’ problems to what customers you’ll market your product to.
Benefits of using User Flows
- User Flows diagrams can be very simple, or very complex nevertheless, they are effective and malleable visual tools.
- They can help your team communicate and analyze the scope of your system; any scenario in which your system interacts with customers, organizations, or external systems; or goals or problems your applications help your customers solve.
- Designing how a user interacts with a product is a key step in figuring out where the issues may be in your task flows.
- Draw a User Flow diagram anytime you need to specify context and requirements for a system to operate, or model the flow of events in a given User Flow.
User Flow Step-by-Step
Begin your User Flow diagram with a head start. Use our curated pool of ready-made templates and follow these simple steps to get ahead of your PM game!
Step 1 – Identify actors
Identify your actors. Actors are anybody interacting with your system. An actor can be a customer, user, person, system, or organization.
Step 2 – Outline the Objective
Next, you need to clearly outline where you want your user to end up and more precisely determining what your user wants from your Product.
Step 3 – Find how users find your Product
It’s essential to know how users find your product, especially when you are looking to improve it. to do that dig into the data. Is the majority of traffic coming organically, or is it paid? Are they coming through referral sites or Email?
These different entry points highlight how your customers are using your product and how you can cater it to their needs. More importantly, these points will be the entryway for your diagram.
Step 4 – Identify user needs and when they need
Now that we have the starting point out of the way, consider the information your user needs and what actions they should take moving forward. To ensure conversion you must showcase key information at the right time.
Here are some questions you can ask yourself during this stage:
- What action should I take on this page if I were my customer?
- How do I navigate the checkout process?
- If I were this customer, how would I feel about this testimonial video?
The key is to understand what your customer wants out of a certain page, how they might be thinking.
It’s also important to analyze what’s already working for your users and break down the steps they’ve taken to reach where you want them to. Purchase is not the only important outcome, some customers may likely need several interactions with your site or product before completing a purchase.
Note that any collected data about a user counts as an entryway!
Step 5 – Map it out
Now that you know your user pretty well, you can understand their reason behind approaching your product, and the regular paths they tend to follow to perform various actions, you can now start mapping a User Flow diagram.
Make sure you use a visual tool that you’re comfortable with where you can drag and drop, annotate and collaborate with your team.
- Begin with shapes that indicate entry points (organic, paid, etc). You can even use low-fidelity wireframe shapes here instead.
- Next, indicate the landing page and the next potential steps your customer can take until the flow reaches an outcome or end goal.
Your User Flow diagram may likely change over time, depending on numerous factors such as your customer base, as well as their needs and motivations.
Step 6 – Share and collect feedback
Regardless of what your product is, make sure to share your User Flow diagram with UX designers, developers, engineers, and other stakeholders to gather essential feedback and make adjustments accordingly. Your User Flow must visualize the experience you’re proposing at a glance.
What are you waiting for? We’ve laid it all out in Google Slides, Mural, and Coda. Pick one and get started today.
On google Slides
Share the User Flow template we have created on Google Slides with your team and start the conversation. Gain instant access to the template here.
Understand how users will move through your product with this User Flow template created by MURAL.
Learn how to sketch, storyboard, and validate a user experience with this template created by Coda.
- Make sure you have collected and analyzed your data before starting your User Flow
- Set clear and concise objectives
- Collaborate and listen to your designers!
- Make sure you use the appropriate shapes to indicate each step your user takes
- Share and adjust
Need More Templates?
Still, looking for some great templates? Check out our collection:
Product Template: Product Requirements Document
Product Template: Roadmaps
Product Template: Design Sprint
Product Template: Retrospective
Product Template: User Personas
Product Template: Customer Journey Maps
We add new templates and frameworks to our Product School Pro community every month. Come join us!