March 27, 2023

After making a revised onboarding stream for a fintech app, my design crew had simply three days to check and fine-tune it for our shopper. As a result of we didn’t have sufficient time to collect person suggestions, I wanted one other strategy to rapidly refine the stream and show its influence.

I developed an evaluation technique to streamline the onboarding steps and quantify how a lot easier they’d change into. Once I introduced the up to date stream to the shopper, they authorized our design, and we instantly carried out the adjustments.

Since then, I’ve used the identical method to strengthen current person flows for extra shoppers. It’s a easy technique that saves time, improves usability, and reveals the effectiveness of your design selections to stakeholders.

Consumer Stream Evaluation in 4 Steps

Consumer flows map out the trail a person should take to finish a process, reminiscent of onboarding, subscribing, and checkout. Designers might make person flows throughout the product growth course of or as a part of common UX evaluation after a product has launched (particularly when updates and new options are carried out).

A product’s person stream is essential to UX, and it must be used alongside person analysis and user path analytics. The Interplay Design Basis underscores its significance: “The higher you facilitate the person transferring from begin to end on a specific course of—the simpler the product is to work with and the extra seemingly that you’re to ship an superior person expertise.”

Any designer or design crew can make use of this four-step stream evaluation to reinforce UX and assist customers full duties that help enterprise objectives. For example, I’ll apply the method to an app onboarding instance.

Map the Present Course of

Step one is to look at the person path by noting every motion required to finish the duty, reminiscent of gestures, face scans, or viewing updates like snackbars. Right here’s the onboarding stream instance labeled with every step the person takes. On this case, the stream makes use of 5 actions: wait, scroll, faucet, sort, and comply with an exterior hyperlink. Whether or not you create a digital person stream or a bodily one with boards and sticky notes, it’s useful to put the motion labels close to the associated screens (or display representations) to visualise the steps.

An onboarding user flow for an app in 15 screens. Below each screen are action labels involved in the step: wait, scroll, tap, type, or link. The first few screens share benefits of the app, followed by a welcome message and then fields to enter a username, password, and email address. The flow ends on a home screen.
Instance App Onboarding Consumer Stream

This instance stream entails many steps throughout a number of screens, and it’s clear that it must be streamlined. However the variety of actions isn’t the one measure of how demanding a course of is for the person. Some steps are extra taxing than others. For instance, it takes extra bodily effort to sort than to faucet. To guage the person stream, we’d like a strategy to quantify every motion.

Rank Actions by Complexity

The subsequent step is to think about the time and psychological or bodily effort every step requires. For instance, deciding between two choices demands mental energy, even for seemingly small selections. However, typing takes physical effort (notably on cellular). Different actions might solely take psychological effort with no bodily motion, reminiscent of ready for a snackbar to vanish. The mixed psychological and bodily effort that customers should take to achieve their objectives is the interaction cost.

I like to recommend growing a easy hierarchy for the actions in your person stream, from best to hardest. Figuring out an motion’s issue is just like rating the severity of usability issues: As a result of subjectivity is concerned, you want constant standards (on this case, time and psychological and bodily effort) when evaluating the actions towards each other. (If in case you have the chance, observe customers working with the prototype to assist verify your rankings.)

Subsequent, assign every motion a colour and a degree worth. I choose purple for essentially the most difficult and grey for the best. The tougher an motion is to finish, the upper its level worth must be. Right here’s how I broke down the actions in our person stream instance:

A table with two rows. The top row is labeled Action, and the bottom is Value in points. The first action, Wait, has a value of 1 and is gray. The action Scroll has a value of 2 and is green. Tap has a value of 3 and is yellow. Type has a value of 5 and is orange. Link has a value of 10 and is red.

There could also be variable complexity even with the identical exercise. Scrolling will often be a easy process, however what if a person is scrolling to learn a sophisticated authorized doc? In that case, you could possibly create a label that displays the complexity higher, reminiscent of Learn.

In case you’re working with a crew in individual, strive placing the screens up on a board and utilizing colourful sticky notes for the motion labels. It is a enjoyable strategy to visualize the person stream as a bunch and see the method from a brand new perspective. For distant collaboration, strive on-line whiteboard instruments like FigJam or Miro.

When you’ve labeled every motion, multiply its assigned worth by the variety of instances it seems within the stream. You possibly can then add the factors for every motion collectively to create what I name an “effort complete.” (We’ll discuss extra about what this quantity means later once we measure influence.)

A table shows the value of each of the five actions (Wait, Scroll, Tap, Type and Link), the number of times each action occurs in the user flow, and the action total—the value multiplied by the number of instances. The sum for all five actions is 78 points.

Streamline the Consumer Stream

When you’ve calculated a baseline effort complete, return by way of the person stream and determine locations you could possibly mix or simplfy steps. Concentrate on reducing the variety of actions or changing advanced actions with easier ones. As an example, you’ll be able to usually cut back tapping by combining screens. That mentioned, it’s finest to not merge screens that comprise advanced info. For instance, customers might get overwhelmed when you’ve got fee and person info fields on the identical display. That’s why it’s higher to purpose to lower complexity relatively than concentrate on decreasing the variety of screens.

It’s also possible to incorporate automation to ease the person’s burden. As an example, an app might routinely fill in a safety code despatched through textual content or detect the person’s nation in order that they don’t must sort it.

In our person stream instance, screens two by way of 5 are advertising and marketing microcopy and a welcome message. There’s no want to make use of a number of screens for that info, so we are able to mix them. You possibly can additionally make the keyboard routinely open each time there’s a display with an enter discipline so the person doesn’t must faucet earlier than typing. Some enter fields may be mixed into one display, such because the username and e mail deal with. Whereas not relevant in our instance, one other strategy to make onboarding extra environment friendly is to incorporate superior options, reminiscent of permitting customers to scan fee playing cards as an alternative of typing the credentials.

The onboarding user flow for the app is condensed into seven screens. Below each screen are action labels involved in the step: wait, scroll, tap, type, or link. The welcome screen includes one of the app’s benefits (“enjoy a seamless experience”) and the username and email address fields have been combined into one screen.
Simplified App Onboarding Consumer Stream

Decreasing this stream from 15 screens to seven makes it simpler for the person to finish the important process of account setup. Most apps don’t need extensive onboarding processes or explanations. As a substitute, it’s finest to maintain onboarding transient and centered on crucial steps.

Calculate Impression

It’s possible you’ll must show to your shopper or different stakeholders that the streamlined person stream you’ve created is value implementing. For instance, the shopper may very well be hesitant to take away onboarding screens that showcase the app’s many options. In case you obtain pushback in your proposed adjustments, it’s finest to help your case with numbers. Spotlight the variety of customers who go away the app earlier than finishing onboarding, or who obtain the app and don’t use it once more. It’s also possible to share examples of apps which have extra seamless onboarding flows with the shopper to show the distinction in expertise.

Even additional, with this person stream evaluation technique you’ll be able to quantify the influence of the improved stream. To do that, calculate the full effort rating of the brand new model, and evaluate it to the unique rating.

A table shows the value of each of the five actions (Wait, Scroll, Tap, Type, and Link), the number of times each action occurs in the new user flow, and the action total—the value multiplied by the number of instances. The sum for all five actions is now 49 points.

Realizing the hassle scores of each person flows, we are able to quantify a change in usability between the 2 variations and use the result to help our design selections to stakeholders. To take action, merely divide the distinction between the brand new and unique flows (29 factors) by the primary rating (78 factors) and multiply by 100. Within the case of our instance, the brand new onboarding stream is 37% easier than the unique.

I prefer to share the adjustments with shoppers in a presentation to underscore the influence of the updates and the logic behind eradicating actions or steps. Testing the stream with just a few customers can assist you validate the outcomes of the design course of. If wanted, you’ll be able to repeat all 4 steps to additional streamline the stream.

A Extra Environment friendly Product Growth Course of

After utilizing this technique, verify that the stream equips customers to efficiently navigate the product and obtain their objectives by gathering suggestions. As well as, analytics will present the place customers go away the product or fail to finish a process and any adjustments within the bounce price because of the updates. With the fintech app I first tried this system on, we decided by way of qualitative testing that customers had been glad with the brand new onboarding course of and didn’t expertise interruptions when the product was up to date.

I’ve discovered that this four-step person stream evaluation method is a fast, efficient manner to enhance UX and maximize effectivity within the product growth course of. Use it to simplify duties for customers and to quantify the influence of your design selections.

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