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The Difference Between User Flow vs User Journey

We won’t lie, the UX Design process is complex.

Creating pages for your website doesn’t always produce the results you want if you don’t start with a clear plan. So before you design your new website, product or app, you should know your user and their intent. Understanding the difference between user flow vs user journey helps you to understand what your customers want, and how to improve the user experience.

What is User Flow?

User flow, also known as website flow, is the series of steps a user takes to navigate through your site to achieve a certain goal. Achieving a goal can be making a purchase, finding an answer to a question, or simply contacting you. This can take place through various pages on your website. Understanding your user flow helps you to design the path your customers will go through to get the value they’re looking for.

When outlining user flow, you need to consider the following:

  • What is the user trying to accomplish?
  • What is important to the user?
  • What will push them to continue?
  • What additional information will the user need to achieve their end goal?
  • What are the user’s barriers to achieving their end goal?

Finding the answers to those questions will help you to focus on designing a web page that focuses on what the user needs to get to their end goal, and how to deliver that in the most effective way.

What is User Journey?

The user journey is the scenario in which the user interacts with both the products and services of a business. The user journey typically consists of 4 to 12 steps and helps to make a customer-focused design approach. Uncover patterns by studying your customer’s behavior & their interactions across various channels. Understanding and analyzing those patterns can lead to discovering key user touch points, pain points, highs and lows of experiences, intent, and more.

How to Create a User Journey Map

  1. Understand who is using your website. Create a customer persona to understand your user.
  2. Conduct user research. Your research should focus on goals, motivation, pain points, and context.
  3. Map out the user journey. Each user goal needs to be mapped out using your current website or application to identify any frustrations or barriers.

If you have Google Analytics set up for your website, a behavior flow and goal flow report is useful for mapping out the user journey map. The behavior flow report displays how your customers move through your site.  It helps you to understand how customers behave, the paths they take while navigating through your site, and which sources they come from. The goal flow report displays the path your visitors take to complete a conversion. It shows if there are any points with high drop-off rates or unexpected traffic that needs to be looked into.

User Flow vs User Journey

User flow and user journey are both common user experience terms. While both provide data insights for better web and app design and determine user behavior, there are various differences between the two. The difference between user flow and user journey are:

  • The user journey focuses on the design of the process from start to finish where the user flow focuses on the individual steps a user takes. User journey provides a macro view and user flow provides a micro view.
  • User flow concentrates on the technicalities. The user journey is more concerned with the emotional response of users whether it’s small wins or small frustrations.
  • User journey helps to see the overall experience users have across touch points. User flow is more focused on single interactions of the user.

What’s Next?

Although user flow and user journey may seem to be similar, they focus on different aspects of the overall customer experience. Combine both with customer personas when creating a product, website, or app to ensure that you will deliver the best user experience possible! For more information watch our YouTube video below!

Learn more about User Flow and User Journey

Listen to our Marketing Assistant, Kristal, talk more about user flow and building trust with customers to keep them on your website on our Youtube channel.

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