What is User Flow

This is the first installment in the ongoing blog series about user flow.


User flow is a visual path that shows how someone navigates through an application to complete tasks. Visual paths are created using different types of applications, and each step should be able to show an entire process in a single image.

Flow Chart

Flow charts are a staple when brainstorming new ideas. For instance, they are widely used across disciplines to plan and communicate sometimes complex processes using clear and easy to understand diagrams. Flowcharts are used for many purposes, and one such example is called user flow.

An example of a user flow.

User Flow

The main type of diagram that is used in UX design is a user flow. It is a type of diagram that focuses on the user’s perspective when using the application. At its most basic form, a user flow is a easy to read diagram that represents tasks in the form of a picture with blocks connected by arrows showing the path a user can take. The diagram can be nonlinear and include multiple paths and other paths such as loops etc. There are a few different user flow diagram types:

Task Flows

Whenever a user executes a specific and singular task a task flow are used to map that action. Therefore, it does not show the entire user flow diagram, but instead focuses only on a specific portion of the user flow.

Wire Flow

A wire flow is a kind of combination between a wireframe and user flows. A wireframe is a low fidelity sketch of a digital interface. The purpose of a wireframe is to plan how everything is laid out on the screen before settling on a final design. This combined with a user flow shows the basics of an application in a simple to understand way.

UI Flow

A more flushed out version of a wire flow, a UI flow is a high fidelity mockup of the final design for an application. The main difference between a wire flow and a UI flow is that a wire flow is a more basic sketch of the application, whereas a UI flow has much more detailed graphics.

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