Workflows are the set of paths (or actions) a user can follow (or take) to reach a certain outcome.
Understanding workflows is key to becoming fluent with user experience and looking deeper into the way things work. Combine this with what you know about user states and you’re a force to be reckoned with.
When creating workflows, you should start by looking at two things:
Where a user starts
Your desired goals for the user
Once you’ve defined both of these, you can begin to work on breaking down workflow into smaller and more manageable chunks.
Let’s use Facebook as an example here. As a successful social network, it has clear goals and workflows for its users.
Where do users start?
By signing up and creating an account
What are Facebook’s goals for the user?
Become an engaged and active user using Facebook once per day, forever
Now we need to work out how Facebook gets users to meet their goals. If we break down the process, what’s needed?
Users need to:
Sign up for Facebook
Create a profile
Engage with friends
Create use habits through repetition
Become an active user
Each of these steps will have an associated workflow that users follow.
Here’s a breakdown of Facebook’s signup workflow:
Signup Workflow for Facebook
Unregistered user lands on Facebook landing page
On this page, to reduce the number of clicks, the value proposition and the signup form are side by side.
If there’s an error entering details, error messaging will appear and let you know the reasons why and how to rectify.
Confirmation and Editing
User asked to confirm identity and details
Nothing too technical here; you’ll be asked to verify that the email address or telephone number belongs to you.
If you’ve entered the wrong details, you’ll be asked to amend the email address or mobile number.
You can resend the confirmation email/text repeatedly if needed.
Enter into User Onboarding
Once the signup flow is complete, you’ll be enrolled in the onboarding workflow
Seamless transition for users; they’ll be unaware they’ve entered a new workflow entirely.
This workflow will aim to get users up to speed with the product and fulfil micro-goals leading to continuous use.
You don’t need to be super technical to have a comprehensive grasp of workflows.
Getting your head around the above will help you look at things a little bit differently and a bit more “user experience-y.”
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