Your user’s journey can end with a single obtrusive roadblock. Whether it’s bad copy or a confusing UI choice, new users will leave if they have a sliver of doubt about your product. So every aspect of your user journey must be planned and optimized for the best possible user experience.
User flows help you plan out user interactions ahead of time to spot issues and resolve them tout suite. There are plenty of user flow examples on the internet to base your design on, from basic geometric flow charts to detailed wireframes. Each has its own benefits. However, being aware of what a user flow looks like is only a minute challenge when it comes to designing your user flows. What’s really challenging is figuring out what you can learn from them, so you can actually use one to improve your user’s journey.
These four user flow examples illustrate how looking at successful products and how they operate can help you design flows that delight your users. Whatever design challenges you’re facing, chances are someone else has faced them before you and has found a solution. By learning from these examples, you save yourself time and build user experiences free from roadblocks, so nothing is standing between your users and finding success with your product.
1. Quartzy’s sign-up flow asks the right questions
Quartzy allows users to manage and order fresh supplies for their labs, so science never gets put on hold due to a paperwork error. What makes Quartzy stand out from a UX perspective is its user onboarding flow. Instead of getting straight to the part where users schedule new supply orders, Quartzy slows things down and asks questions about what its new users actually need from them.
In the simplified user flow chart shown above, Quartzy has added four additional steps between signing up and the optional features tour. These involve:
- Adding lab details like the name of your lab and how many people are in it
- Telling Quartzy about who does the ordering and if someone else needs to sign off on the orders first
- Selecting the supplies your lab needs
- Sharing your Quartzy details with other people in your lab
These questions add additional time to value, but they also do something else: they establish Quartzy as an expert and personalize the product experience for users.
The questions Quartzy asks never feel tedious because it explains why it’s asking: “Get what you need, avoid duplicate orders.” Instead of feeling like a roadblock on the way to what you want, these questions make Quartzy feel helpful and knowledgeable about this industry. For instance, Quartzy knows that duplicate ordering is common in labs. To avoid this issue, it makes it easy to set an automated workflow that emails lab managers with new requests. Now money won't be wasted on an extra 500 beakers no one needs.
When designing your user flow, consider what questions you should ask during onboarding. Do they help users take full advantage of your product? Do they position you as an expert in the field? Do they allow you to personalize your product for a better user experience?
If the answer is yes, add them to your onboarding flow and measure their impact on your activation metrics.
2. Zoom’s video call flow quickly gets users what they want
Zoom has become a central figure in many of our lives since the Covid-19 pandemic began. From students to business leaders to grandparents, everyone had to use Zoom to stay connected while the world went into lockdown. Why Zoom became our video chat program of choice is a not-yet-settled debate, but one reason is the UX—Zoom is easy to use. In five clicks or less, you can open a room and invite all your friends and colleagues to a video chat.
There’s no barrier between what the user wants (to start a call) and what they need to do. No windows ask whether you want to invite person x or disable option y—just start the meeting and go.
When designing your product user flow, keep in mind what people want and how fast they want it. Many meetings aren’t planned and are time-sensitive. Zoom’s user flow makes it possible for people to get on calls immediately. Look at the steps you require users to take before using your product. Are they thankful for your questions, or are they sitting behind their keyboards furiously waiting to hit “next” as soon as humanly possible so they can get on with it?
If you aren’t sure, do some user research. See what users are actually doing with your product, so you can optimize your user flows to meet their expectations.
3. Mint’s product tour flow educates and prepares users for success
The optional tour can feel a bit extra when it comes to a user onboarding flow. It’s the only part of the flow that’s completely optional. However, Mint uses it as a life preserver for those financial newbies drowning in unfamiliar terms that'll determine their ability to buy a house or retire.
The product tour leads people through its features, like credit scores and budgets, and explains terms they need to know. It does this with tooltips that explain an important topic and present extra resources for users to explore. Each time the user hits “Next tip,” the tour auto-scrolls to the next tooltip.
Not only does this make Mint feel slick and well made, but it also allows users to get a feel for the UI in a controlled environment. However, this experience is still fully optional. Those advanced users who don’t need or want to take the tour can opt out and get straight to managing their finances.
Whether you include an optional product tour in your user flow comes down to who your audience is and how complicated your tool is. Don't waste their time if your users don’t need help (think Zoom). If some users could use a tour, then make it optional. And if your product needs an explanation, make the tour mandatory for all new users—just make sure what you put in place adds value.
4. Amazon’s purchasing flow shows its value first
No one does conversions like Amazon. It ships around 1.6 million packages a day, and each user that buys goes through roughly the same purchasing flow. If you’re an ecommerce company or want to design a user flow that encourages users to convert, there’s no better user flow example than Amazon.
One thing that stands out in the Amazon purchasing flow is that signing in or signing up takes place after users browse. Users want to find great deals on a selection of goods, and Amazon lets them find just that on its site. No sign up required. It’s only once users want to make a purchase that Amazon asks them to put in their login details. At this point, they've committed. What’s 30 seconds of logging in after you’ve just spent 30 minutes browsing and comparing?
If Amazon had placed the login before it showed its value, more users might’ve gone elsewhere to find their toasters or collectible Hulk figurines.
When planning your purchase or conversion flows, show users your value before you ask them to commit. If you show them why you’re the best choice before they’re asked to convert, you’ll have a far easier time getting them to sign on the dotted line.
Great user flows start with an understanding of your user journey
Creating a great user flow requires a deep understanding of a user’s typical journey with your product. You want flows that nurture them through onboarding, show them the ropes with your features, make using your product a breeze, and so much more. The better your flows are at getting users through the milestones of their journey, the more successful you’ll be at convincing them to adopt your product and share it with others.
To learn more about mapping and understanding your product’s user journey, check out these resources: