What is user flow?
User flow refers to the steps that a prototypical end user follows to complete a product/service-centric task on a website or a standalone web-dependent app. These include buying a product from an e-commerce platform, subscribing to a web-based service, making in-app purchases, etc.
Consequently, realizing this series of customer-focused, objective-specific, and revenue-centric tasks is crucial to the internet-based product/service distribution/deployment approaches, i.e., e-commerce sites, SaaS (Software as a Service) platforms, native internet-dependent apps, etc.
Significance of User Flow
Today’s business environment is one in which most revenue-centric consumer-initiated activities occur over the internet, e.g., purchase of products from e-stores, subscriptions to online service platforms, one-time purchase of native web-centric applications, etc. This consumer market reality is a definitive testament to e-commerce’s dominance over other modes of business, e.g., brick-and-mortar stores, product/service franchises, shopping malls, etc.
Since countless products and services are now offered online, individual product/service owners must be proactive in realizing positive online-customer engagement. This involves optimizing user experience solutions and interaction on online and web-centric product/service deployment/distribution platforms. In this regard, learning the ideal user flow for an online target audience is critical to the success of a web-centric product/service launch.
User Flow Implementation
A product/service-specific user flow grants product owners and service providers the ability to predict and, thus, influence the revenue-centric actions of would-be consumers. Consequently, user flows form the primary basis for a feature and content design implementation on web pages and graphic user interfaces of online and native web-centric applications.
In principle, having a predictable sequence of user actions on online distribution and deployment platforms allows businesses to progressively define the value offering of a product/service to online consumers. This includes using incentives to influence user opinion on the value proposition of a product, e.g., offering trial versions, limited time offers discounts, and bonuses on checkout pages to increase the likelihood of a purchase or subscription.
User flows make it easier for product/service owners to eliminate consumer barriers and inhibitions towards making desirable revenue-centric decisions, i.e., towards buying a product or subscribing to a service.
User Flow Example
Defining the ideal user flow requires creativity in imagining the customer journey from the point a consumer encounters a product/service to deciding to buy a product or subscribe to a service. A typical user flow example for an eCommerce webpage has sequential stages as shown:
- User lands on the homepage
- The user conducts product/service-specific query via an in-built search engine
- User lands on desired product/service page
- The user adds a product/service item to their cart
- The user proceeds to check out
Each stage in the user flow represents an opportunity to visually influence the user(i.e., a user interface). It is easy to select content and media that compels users towards the desired action. For example, displaying a limited one-time discount offer on a checkout page incentivizes a user to subscribe to a service or buy a product.