Design a user flow
1. Identify your business objectives and your users' objectives to ensure the final action in your user flow provides value to both you and the users.
Your business objectives are the actions you want users to take on the site, while your users’ objectives are the desires or needs they want to satisfy. For example, if a user wants to clean their car and your goal is to get them to buy car-cleaning products, the goals intersect – so the final action in the user flow, the conversion, can take place.
2. Establish how users get to your site and match your message to the traffic source.
How users end up on your site largely determines their needs, expectations, and what they know about your product, and plays a crucial role in what message you deliver. Typical entry points for users include: Organic search. Users enter via a search engine after searching for a particular keyword and often land on a deep link. Paid advertising. Users click on paid ads or other promotions and arrive on your landing page. Social media. Users enter through posts on social media or social news sites like Facebook, Twitter, or Reddit. Email. Users enter via an email newsletter or a link they saw in an email sent to them. Press or news item. Users enter after seeing a mention in the news or a blog post. Direct link. Regular users who have visited your site many times and know the URL by heart.
3. Decide what types of user flows you need to create: based on the traffic source or stacked user flows.
Here are some sample user flows based on traffic sources. Stacked user flows are useful if you want visitors to join the email list on their first visit, but ultimately want to sell them a product. For example, the first flow is completed by joining the email list, and the second one starts after the first flow is complete: Users who have already been through the first flow are much more knowledgeable than first-time visitors and typically already have some kind of relationship with you.
4. Talk to your customers to understand them, their motivations, and the information they need.
What they tell you determines how you present information on your website and gives you an idea of what elements you need to demote and what you need to emphasize. Start by answering these questions: What needs or desires do your visitors have? What problem do they want to solve? Why do they need it? Which qualities about your product or service are most important to them? What questions do they have about the product? What are their doubts or hesitations? What information do they need to take action? What’s their emotional trigger to propel them to taking action?
5. Give users the information they need when they need it and optimize it to keep them moving down the funnel toward the desired action.
Optimize the content at each step for conversions: Present a clear, benefit-oriented value proposition in each step. Explain how your offer is useful, how it works, and invite users to read more detailed information. Back up your claims with easy-to-digest proof points like references, testimonials, and studies. Limit the amount of information you ask for, reduce the number of fields and extra clicks users have to complete, reduce page load times, and add trust elements to minimize friction. Create clear and attractive calls to action that guide users to the next step.
6. Map every step in the user flow with a state diagram to help you focus on the most-wanted action on every screen the user sees.
Create a state diagram for every page on your site and define the key content you want to present to the user, together with a most-wanted action. Here’s an example of what a state diagram looks like: Above the bar is what the user sees, below the bar is what they do, and an arrow connects their action to a new screen with yet another action.