User Flow Vs User Journey : Differences and Similarities : Aalpha


User Flow Vs User Journey : Differences and Similarities

Both user journey and user flows are significant UX tools. They help streamline the processes through which users follow to achieve their objectives when using specific products and services. In other words, they are both user-entered. Although they play the same role, they differ on some level, as described in this guide.

Overview of user flow: what is user flow?

Also known as flowcharts or UX flows are simply an in-depth representation of diagrams showing the complete path a user follows when executing an action as they use a specific product or service. It shows the path or movement of user actions from the start to the end.

That is why a user flow is projected in the form of charts with boxes and pointing arrows. Every box shows the action taken by the user, while the arrows show the actions taken by the user from one action to the next.

Types of user flow charts

The UX design is a wider field; thus the different types of user flows for different purposes. Below is a detailed description of the three user flows you should know:

They focus majorly on how the user navigates through an app while executing specific actions. They highlight a streamlined flow without focusing on sub-pathways.

This flowchart is effective when analyzing tasks completed in the same manner by all users. The assumption here is that all users will use the same path from the beginning to the end when performing the tasks.

This is a combination of flowcharts and wireframes, whereby they use a layout of a specific screen and components for the diagram.

The aim of wire flows is to put in place a streamlined process of carrying out tasks while promoting a good user experience. Wire flows are best for mobile screen design.

User flows focus mainly on how the audience relates to the product. The assumption on user flows is that not all users will use the same path to perform a task, thus using different paths with the same task.

Importance of user flows in UX design

So, why are user flows ideal in the UX design process? Whether you are upgrading an existing website or app or building a new one, user flow is one crucial element you shouldn’t overlook. Below are the ways in which user flows are effective in UX design processes.

An intuitive interface enhances user interaction with the product. As a result, users won’t leave without either signing up or making a purchase, which are the goals every client wants to achieve.

Again, an intuitive interface creates a smooth navigation through the app. It is easy for the user to move from one page to the other without struggling or finding the arrows or pointers for guidelines.

What’s more, user flows enable developers to weigh and determine the effectiveness of the interface design they are creating, and this ensures they create a viable solution that will meet user needs seamlessly.

It is easy to modify existing products to improve their performance and functionality with user flows.

UX designers can easily trace and identify areas where most users get stuck and establish viable solutions to this.

Through user flows, it is easy to review and collect valuable feedback from users. The diagram shows how everyone interacts with the products.

This makes it easy to showcase the app’s navigation and viability to stakeholders, and this creates a smooth and productive working environment.

With user flows, you can optimize the processes by experimenting with the changes before implementing them. For instance, you can change the navigation processes or add another section as you experiment before you apply the changes. This ensures you deliver a product that suits all user needs.

What’s more, optimizing user flow enables the team to stay focused on what is appropriate before moving to testing, which could otherwise be costly and time-consuming.

Step by step creating user flow

So, how can you create an effective user flow in UX? The process involves a series of steps, each step being significant to the next one. Below are the steps or processes to follow when creating user flows in UX design.

  • Understand the user
  • Highlight the user’s tasks & goals
  • Select the ideal user flow
  • Create user flow
  • Test & improve
  • Understand the user audience

Start by reviewing and interpreting user information collected from UX research. These details will enable you to determine how users interact with specific products or services.

In design, user requirements are the key metrics you should focus on. With a better understanding of the users, you can create and tailor user flows to align with what they (users) want.

With the insights collected at this stage, you can now comprehend the type of uses and respective actions the take when interacting with the product or services.

After doing user research, highlight and determine what they want to achieve. List down their goals and objectives after identifying the existing problem.

Among the key highlights you shouldn’t miss at this stage are:

  • The type of users
  • Where they come from
  • Their needs and objectives
  • The tasks they need to perform

You can perform task-based usability tests and use session-replay approaches to dig deep into the target user preferences.

Don’t forget to figure out the best strategies for achieving the processes of creating user flows in alignment with user needs.

With the user information, you can now select a viable user flow that meets their goals and objectives. As described above, you can choose wire flow, user flow, or task flow.

At this point, you can define your users comprehensively, and you have the ideal user flow based on your user audience and their objectives.

You can now start preparing each path and what it represents in the user journey. The preparations are effective in identifying and fixing issues while still in the early stages.

Use the data collected about users, then include the steps you highlighted earlier as guidelines, and then structure the user flow effectively.

Once you finish creating a user flow, that is not all. All the parties involved, including colleagues and stakeholders, should review and give feedback on what they think.

Therefore, perform you’re a series of tests using users as you observe the functionality and usability of the product or service. Check and review if all the processes are accurate. Identify any faulty steps of sections and rectify them.

When to use user flow

A user flow is a strategic approach that improves the overall UX design, ensuring users are satisfied. Therefore, designers can implement user flows at any stage. Be it before, during, or after development, user flow can be implemented where necessary.

As a UX designer, you can easily understand user flow, identify specific areas that make users stagnate, and work on them early enough before they become costly.

Overview of user journey: What is the user journey?

A user journey is a roadmap through which a user uses to achieve goals and objectives when using a specific website. In UX design, user journeys are used to find varied ways to assist users in achieving their objectives in a seamless and quick manner.

Elements of a User Journey

While there are different approaches to use when creating use journeys, there are some common features that are inevitable. In most instances, most user journeys have the following elements in common:

  • Persona — includes the exact segment of users you want to explore
  • Scenario — The exact interaction or activity you want to work on.
  • Stages of the journey — defines how far a scenario should go.
  • User actions — highlights the main actions users perform in every stage of the user journey
  • User emotions and thoughts — Defines how users feel when moving from one stage to the next.
  • Opportunities — define areas you can improve and enhance customer satisfaction is a smooth manner.

Importance of user journey in UX design

Like user flow, the user journey also has a big impact on the UX design process. Below are the top purposes of user journeys in UX design:

  • Tracking user behaviors as they navigate through the product or service.
  • Collecting persona’s emotional insights as they use your product. Ideally, you can understand what the user is feeling, seeing, and thinking at each stage of interacting with the product through user journeys.
  • Identifying areas that make it hard for users to navigate, hence the need for more work
  • User journey helps UX design teams conduct research to create a personalized experience, which improves product acceptance.

In a nutshell, user journeys are effective in improvising solutions to improve user experience as they interact with a product or a service.

Types of User Journeys in UX

Like user flows, there are different types of user journeys meant for different functionalities. The main ones include the following:

Their key objective is to enhance the overall user experience of a given website or application. A UX designer can use this user journey to review and analyze the overall user experience with a product. With the insights, they can determine if they have a positive or negative impact. In the end, a UX designer can use the details to create a product that is easy to use & navigate through, thus enhancing user experience.

This form of user journey evaluates the steps through the buyer’s processes, which include product awareness, preferences, and decisions. This form of user journey helps the marketing teams evaluate user interaction with the product through communication channels. In the end, they can use the insights to plan and implement productive marketing strategies to increase sales.

This form of user journey focuses on creating a good relationship with customers. By analyzing current-state customer interaction with the product, UX designers can gain valuable insights on how to improve customer experience.

How to create a user journey

Follow the simplified steps below to create user journeys seamlessly.

Start by highlighting the goals to want to achieve in the end. For instance, do you want to refine the buyer’s journey experience? Or are you targeting to attract new users? Or do you want to implement some changes to make the design more intuitive? Whatever it is, be clear before you move to the next phase.

Depending on the goals you want to achieve, you must have unique personas because not all user wants are the same.

Review who the users are and design a customer persona to represent each segment. This means you will do some user research through methods like surveys, focus groups, and interviews and use previous customer feedback to gain valuable insights. Use the details to create the correct personas.

Now that you have personas, think of what the users need to achieve through the user journey. Identify the existing problems that need solutions. With these insights, think of the value your product has to offer. Will your product idea solve or cause more frustration? If it can solve the existing issues, what measures should you take to solve the big existing problems?

At this stage, you have everything aligned. You know your target users; you know their problems, and you know what to do to solve their problems. It is now time to create touchpoints. The customer touchpoints are simply the interaction processes between your product and the customers.

Here, you can employ different channels such as the use of social media, face to face communication, websites, and even through applications.

Based on the information you’ve gathered from stages one to three, create viable customer touchpoints that align with the business goals & customer needs.

You now have every useful detail at this point, and you can visualize or actualize the idea of creating a user journey.

Create a template as you innovate creative ideas. Depending on the dynamics of your user journey, the process can be complex or simple. Take the appropriate tech requirements to implement the process seamlessly.

With the user journey complete, test before releasing it. Perform usability testing, do in-depth analysis, and get feedback from real users.

With the insights collected, refine and improve areas that need more work by identifying existing issues.

When to use the user journey

User journeys are effective during the research period. Throughout the research, the UX design teams can have a clear overview of the customer’s journey, seeing how a user views and interacts with the product.

Again, user journeys play a big role in explaining to the stakeholders the viability of the design, especially if they don’t have adequate knowledge of design processes.

User flows vs. use journeys: similarities

Now that you have a clear overview of user flows and user journeys, below are notable similarities between the two.

  • Both user flow and user journeys focus on improving user experience.
  • They both focus on analyzing and understanding user interaction with the product or service.
  • Both user journeys and user flows track and monitor user activities from time to time.
  • They both play a big role in analyzing user problems and their expectations.
  • Both user journeys and user flows can be used to describe the main concept to others.
  • They both showcase what users need, hence prioritizing key features.

User flows vs. use journeys: differences

So, what distinguishes user flows from user journeys? Let’s check the differences below:

  • Application — While the user journey helps inform customer experience and product or service strategy, user flow helps in designing and development processes.
  • Main focus -User flow focuses more on tasks such as the overall functionality, usability, and tech requirements. User journey, on the other hand, focuses more on what users think emotionally and how they perceive a product or service.
  • Purpose — User journey is a strategy used to analyze and comprehend user experience across channels, while user flow is a strategy used to analyze user interaction with a product at specific stages.
  • Analysis level — User flow puts more emphasis on the micro-level, highlighting the exact processes to take to attain the set goal. User journey, on the other hand, gives a detailed overview of user interaction with the product from the beginning to the end.
  • Structure — The structure of the user journey is more complex than that of the user flow, which shows a streamlined diagram flow.
  • Representation — User journeys are projected in the form of journey mapping or storytelling, while user flows are projected through visual flowcharts or diagrams.


Are you thinking of what to choose between user flows and user journeys? Well, the answer is both.

Both user journeys and user flows are incredible UX design tools. They play big roles in enhancing user experience when creating an intuitive design.

While user journeys emphasize the emotional touch a user has towards a product or a service, user flows emphasize the steps a user should take to complete a task.

Therefore, using both user journeys and user flows is the real deal when creating an intuitive UX design that is user-centered.

Any queries? Get in touch with our web design company : Aalpha information systems!

Originally published at on June 3, 2024.



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