Think About Flows, not Features or Screens

by Vishal Mehta on October 21, 2012

in Design, Process, User Experience

If you’re a developer, you’re likely to think building a software product in terms of the features. If you’re a designer, you’re likely to think about it in terms of user interface screens. Nothing wrong with both views except for one thing – both approaches do not reveal what is more useful and what is not. What is more usable and what is not.

The recent push on UX and Usability is mainly about following a “flow” based approach towards product development.

If we first resolve the user goals and objectives of using the software, then understand how well he/she can perform those tasks as end-to-end workflows, the rest pieces of the puzzle magically fall in place. The flows would question the importance of certain features and in turn validate the concepts – for or against. This form of thinking really breaks down the entire problem into manageable building blocks – thus improving the overall process for all stakeholders.

Developers get more clarity on relative importance of system features and are thus empowered to prioritize accordingly. Designers can plug in their blocks of user interface designs, based on the overall road map more efficiently. The entire ecosystem hence functions properly with less ambiguity.

User experience can be obtained only by connecting the dots with analyzing the users and their tasks – through flows. Complex business problems are easily solved with this approach. For product companies, it’s imperative to use this approach even if the realization is a bit late. In fact, almost certainly, this approach will pave the path for a rapid delivery, with higher user adoption. On the other hand, not taking this approach would make the product have weaker links/features/screens/unwanted steps – all of which will contribute towards lower adoption.

Think. Only flows.

Vishal Mehta

Vishal Mehta

Vishal Mehta is a usability professional who loves to play chess and has a strong eye for details. He's also the CEO of IDYeah Creations, a UX practice in Pune, India. Vishal is also a guest blogger on UXBooth, Technorati, BlogCritics, and SAP Community Network.

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