What is a User Flow in Product Management?

User Flows are visual representations of a user's journey through a product. As a Product Manager, creating a User Flow can help you better understand and optimize the user experience.


User Flows for Product Managers

What are User Flows?

A User Flow is a visual representation of the path that a user takes to achieve a specific goal or Job-To-Be-Done within your product. User Flows clearly show the series of steps a user takes, highlighting the decisions they make along the way. 

Why User Flows Matter

User Flows show Product Managers how people are actually using their product in the context of their goals and intentions. Product Managers use this visual tool to help them better understand user behavior, identify pain points, reveal potential for user drop-off,  and optimize the user experience for better customer retention and satisfaction.

How to Create User Flows

To create an effective User Flow, follow these five steps:

  • Step One: Define the User Flow's Purpose 
    Determine the specific user journey or task that the user flow will illustrate. Identify the user persona(s) for whom the flow is being created, as well as the main goals and objectives of the flow.

  • Step Two: Map Out the User Flow 
    Begin with the entry point, such as the landing page or homepage. From there, define the next steps in the user journey, such as the actions the user needs to take to achieve their goals. Identify any decision points, such as a choice between multiple options, and define the resulting paths. Continue until the user reaches their goal or task is completed.

  • Step Three: Add Details 
    Label each step with a concise description and any necessary context. Use symbols and visuals, such as arrows or shapes, to represent specific actions or decisions. Highlight any errors or exceptions, and define the resulting paths.

  • Step Four: Get Feedback 
    Share the User Flow with stakeholders, such as other Product Managers, designers, developers, and even users. Gather feedback to ensure the user flow is accurate and easy to understand. Make necessary changes to improve the flow's usability.

  • Step Five: Iterate and Improve
    Incorporate feedback and learnings from user testing and analytics to refine the user flow. Iterate on the User Flow until it accurately reflects the user's journey and goals.

When to Use User Flows in Product Management

User Flows are often used to map out the user journey and identify potential roadblocks or issues during the early Planning stages of a Product Lifecycle. They can also be used throughout the Product Development process as a tool for driving stakeholder alignment by allowing everyone to see their work in the context of the user journey. Additionally, User Flows can help provide structure to Product Analytics by allowing you to zoom in on particular steps on the customer journey and identify areas of improvement.

User Flows in action

By mapping out our User Flows, we were able to identify areas of friction in the user experience and make targeted improvements that led to increased engagement and retention.
User Flow glossary

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