Every UX designer knows that user flow is one of the key parts of a design process. Also, it is a major factor affecting your conversions.
What is user flow exactly? It is a path a user follows through your website or mobile app to complete a task, for example subscribe to newsletters, buy tickets, make a reservation, find specific information, etc.
In order to increase your conversion rate, you need to create the user flow right, meeting user needs.
If the UX design guides a user through a process in a certain way, then it’s a flow and main component that gets users to flow through a website or an app is navigation.
10 TIPS: HOW TO DESIGN A USER FLOW
The first thing you should consider designing a user flow is objectives! Your objectives and objectives of your target.
Business objectives can be making users to sign up for a monthly newsletter, making people to buy a product, etc. User’s objective can be buy a product in an easy way. So you need to create design flows that meet both objectives: yours and the ones of your customers.
Don’t forget, that people don’t just come to your site or mobile app and do what you want them to do. They need to be guided through a set of steps in order to click where you want them to click.
3. USER PATH
Very important thing to consider is knowing where your target comes from.
Your task is to map users paths, starting from where they come from till the last action. There are a lot of ux research tools, that may help you to find out it.
TYPICAL ENTRY POINTS :
Organic search – users come from Google, after searching for a particular keyword.
Paid advertising – users come via PPC advertising, like for example AdWords, banner ads, etc. Normally users would get into your landing page.
Social media – users come to your site or app by clicking on the post, they have found on the group they are following or from their friend’s post. Twitter, Linkedin, G+, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, etc have enormous influence on is nowadays.
Email – users come from a newsletter or a link they saw on the signature of the email sender or a link sender has put.
Press or news item – users who come after a mention in the news or a blog post.
Direct link – users know the URL by heart, normally because they have visited your site many times.
How they end up on your site really depends on their needs, expectations and what they know about your product or service. This means you need to treat them differently.
Option 1: Organic search -> Landing page -> Email list -> Products -> Add to cart -> Buy a product
Option 2: Direct link -> Home page -> Products -> Add to cart -> Buy a product
Option 3: Paid advertising -> Landing page -> Buy a product
Which step in the flow has a positive impact ? And which step is it, where people leave the site the most?
You can have different user flows, for example Home Page > Product Page > Cart > Purchase, but you may find another one like Home > Product page > Search page > Search Results > Search page > Search Results > exit. It means that users don’t find products they are interested in or your search results are not helpful. This negative information gives you insights about your users and gives you a chance to work on it and improve it, don’t stop, always move forward!
4. BYING PERSONA
In order to design a perfect user flow with smooth UX design, do a user research and find the answers to the following questions:
- What are the needs, desires and preferences of your users ?
- Which problem do they want to solve ?
- Why do they need your product ?
- What matters the most ?
- What is the most important about your products for the users ?
- What are the questions they have about your product?
- What information do they need to take an action?
- What emotions drive your product?
Don’t forget that you can’t satisfy everyone, there will be always haters and lovers! But know your target, identify buying personas and focus on them.
5. INFORMATION & CTA
Very important, but unfortunately with this minimalism wave, companies forget about it or simply skip it: information! You should provide information your target needs in order to be converted. Don’t think that just because of the cool design of your page, people will buy your products, find out what is key for your target and show it.
In each step add value. Each step should be well-thought. Explain how your product or service is useful and how it all works, provide more detailed information if needed, giving option to click on “read more”. But don’t over do it, don’t forget about loading time and number of clicking options as well as overcrowded interface. Create clear and attractive calls to action that guide them to the next step.
Don’t forget that people trust more other users than you! Use social proof like references, testimonials, case studies, etc. Use trust elements.
6. PRIORITIZATION & SIMPLICITY
Define the key content you want to show to the user and a most wanted action. Don’t create overwhelming feeling. Make it clear where your users should click and go, don’t give them too many options, simplify their life and save their time, they will appreciate it.
7. EFFICIENCY MAXIMIZATION
When users become familiar with your site, they don’t want to be annoyed by repetitive tasks. Try to manage it so that users feel that they are part of your company and not strangers.
8. EMOTIONAL VS RATIONAL
Emotional: Pictures are consistently shown on usability testing as one of the first things users look for. They have a very high emotional impact on us. Also, stories where we find ourselves influence our behaviour and make us buying the product.
Rational: Users also usually look for rational information before making a decision, in most cases it is : reviews and testimonials. Price is a significant deciding factor as well.
9. TEST, TEST AND TEST
Always test your decisions. Before moving forward get your user’s approval and then work on the improvement, but work hand in hand with your users. Working based on client’s feedback is key for your success. Watch how people use your website trying to perform a task. User testing will help you find bottlenecks and areas of frustration, so you can remove them. It will also help you understand the users better, and how they would want to use the site, so you can adapt your site better and provide exactly what they want.
Don’t save money on it, think about it as an investment as it definitely leads you to the right direction.
10. CONSTANT IMPROVEMENT
It is an iterative process. Based on user research, come up with new solutions that will bring value to your users and will make their life easier. Use Agile methodology to better manage your project.
Even if you work years on the website or a mobile app and, what you come up with is still a hypothesis and you need to test it, you need to improve it, it can’t be perfect, there is always something that can be better! Don’t forget about your competitors, they will try to copy your success if you had one, so never stop, always move forward together with your target. At the end you create a website for them, so let them choose the one they like!