User flow design moves beyond designing individual web pages by thoroughly mapping how a user will experience the website. User flow design aims to encourage the customer (visitor) to enter the website’s interaction space where the user’s needs can be addressed.
User flow design phase can be approached with a set of critical questions that put the user’s actions and needs to the forefront of any design, content and web architecture decision. Interaria maps a user flow experience from several angles:
What is the interest in visiting the site? What is the page the user is landing to? What is the user looking for?
Understanding the context of where the user enters the website helps to define the first steps of the user flow. Interaria utilizes Google Analytics for analyzing the user traffic to a site, and optimally designs specific user experiences based on the context that the user is enters the site. For instance, if a user is entering from Google, getting the specific informational message across fast is important. On the other hand, for a user who is accessing the site from Pinterest, the emphasis on the visual image content is important. Specific landing pages can be incorporated to a site with specific content in order to better target each visitor’s need based on where they are arriving from. When applicable, with coding geolocation API scripts, we can code the website to provide location-based (geospatial) information, typically with an emphasis on local information, upon the user agreeing to this.
What is the desired outcome for when the user visits the site? How is this outcome encouraged in the user flow design?
This is the most important question but it is quite often ignored. It is highly encouraged to outline the #1 desired outcome for when the user visits the site. In most cases this is having the visitor contact the site’s owner, subscribe to a service, make an online purchase, leave a comment for follow-up, or share some content from the site via social media. Which ever the most desired outcome is, the user flow design should make clear pathways to support this action. Call-to-action icons, contextual image icons, personalized messaging, and strong user interface functionality in the site’s navigation structure and information architecture can support the primary goal of inviting the user to interact. Even though the #1 favorable interaction would not happen on the first visit, integrating the user to the interaction space can increase future interaction, and take make the user flow closer to the center through additional interaction such as through social media or newsletter emails.
What is the interaction point after the visit? How is this interaction point established through the user flow design?
In most cases, it is important to plan how the users who don’t want to take #1 action (such as purchasing or contacting) when visiting the site can be reached later. A user flow design that encourages users to take a path for a newsletter sign up and social media participation can keep the interaction points open for future contact or follow-up.