For any agency or company running against tight budgets or tight schedules, it may look tempting to start a design project by diving into visual sketches or wireframing a project based only on the site architecture. Nonetheless, almost every time it’s the wrong way to approach a project.
To design and create great user experiences we have to understand the user’s needs and for that, we have to focus on them. With this in mind, we can learn, develop and achieve the perfect task flow for the users.
“If there’s a simple, easy design principle that binds everything together, it’s probably about starting with the people.”, Bill Moggridge, IDEO
We should always begin with the users. Of course specification documents have their relevance, but first, we need to examine what are the users’ objective(s) and what are the business’s objective(s). Going the other way, we are only creating the focus on a product and not on who will use it. Imagine building a car without thinking of who will drive it and for what it will be needed. Different vehicles have different user needs and crafting a digital product uses the same principals.
We should never forget that the easier the product is to work with or use it, the more likely you are to deliver a great user experience. Do you remember the first iPhone? It was a massive market hit because it was acknowledging what the users’ needed.
But how can we create a focus on the user?
First and undoubtedly we have to start with the user. Rather than going through all the specification documents and layering design on it we should explore and research the user’s intention(s) and the business’s objective(s).
For example, in one of our recent projects, we designed a eCommerce website for our customer GoldNutrition, and this included the following steps:
- A user wants to buy a product.
- A user wants to search what related products there are.
- A user wants to return a wrong purchase.
But how can this impact the finished product?
If we map the possible objectives and compare them to the business goals, we can create a better understanding of the arrival of the user on the website to the completion of his task(s).
Then we have to understand and know what the user wants to do. Only then we can define when and who we will get to the finishing point of his needs. The method gives us a better perspective of where the user will come.
Task completion funnels
Here is where we will create a different flow from an entry point to the funnel and finally to the completion of a task:
- Create the entry point. They may exist a series of entry points (Email, Ad Banners, Social media Post, etc).
- Design the page where the user will begin the visit and how will you invite him to start that process.
- Design of the process (What his suppose to do).
The routes can be many and we need to know them.
What considerations should we have for the entry points?
Here we consider what can happen in which entry point:
- Who are we targeting for this point? Is it a group or groups?
- Are they actively searching for our website or product?
- Did they just stumble upon our website or product?
- Are they looking to solve a problem?
- How can we get their attention the time necessary to get them to navigate through our website?
- How can we communicate with the users in a way to show them our product solutions?
- What is the best call to actions to get their attention?
- What type of device are they using when they enter our website?
- How can we create confidence for the user?
The considerations have to be taking account to get through.
User flow design
Creating user flows puts the focus on where it should be, in the interactions with a specific product that the user wants to get involved. This process ensures that the user experience takes priority over the visual design or architecture information and provides us with a solid pathway to the final goal.
“Design is the last great competitive advantage.”, Seth Godin
User flows are the representation of the user experience, and when this is put on practice it ensures that the user and the business get what they exactly want.
What are the final benefits of creating user flows?
Well, their’s a wide range of benefits, but here are some of them:
- Product or service based on real needs of users or businesses.
- They’re a visual representation of the paths the user can follow to achieve a specific goal.
- Understanding what the user needs to complete a task.
- Understand what a business needs to present its products or services.
- Increases conversion rates (product purchase or service purchase).
- A decrease of incomplete tasks (Buying a product or service).
- A decrease in time-consuming of tasks redesign.
- A better way for teams and stakeholders to understand and provide input.
- It’s easier and wiser to make changes on this level savings a lot of money in future changes.
- It allows us to compare alternatives.
- It helps us evaluate and test in an earlier stage with users before the all project is complete.
I strongly believe that it’s time to create products and services that generate real value to users and for businesses. It’s like the old say — “One hand washes the other” and creating a focus on the user is that, if we create products that fit the needs of the users, businesses will achieve what they really need to continue to operate and that’s selling their products or services.
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Monday is a Business Design Consultancy based in sunny Lisbon. We believe in the power of brands and we work side by side with our clients transforming their customer experience. This core philosophy stands at the center of everything we create. Clients include: Snickers, Red Bull, Twix, Philips, M&M’s, Guloso…