UX Is Not Flows
A Creative Director that writes about stuff.
It's safe to say all products are after the best User Experience.
Product Designers and UX Designers are all about creating the most "immersive User Experiences". They design the wireframes, engineer the flows, build prototypes, and shit.
The fewer steps a flow contains, the better. The least pages a flow has, the better. The least clicks a user has to take to get to the goal, the better.
You know what? That's wrong.
We should stop looking at UX from a perspective of minimizing the number of steps, pages and clicks. We should stop looking at UX from a standpoint of making it as non-intrusive/non-blocking/non-characteristic as possible.
There is a word that means the complete opposite of the above nons.
It's the "Experience".
So instead, we should look into what exactly makes an "experience".
Recently, I started thinking with a very simple pattern when it comes to UX. Really, straightforward. Also, makes a lot of sense and that's why I want to share it.
Interactions → Flow → Experience
An interaction is, well, an interaction. User does something, then the platform does something with that.
Form input, clicking a checkbox, scrolling to the bottom of the page, opening new page—these are all interactions.
A chain of consecutive interactions creates a flow.
Interactions united together—no matter how few or many— build a flow. A flow means starting at point A and getting to point B (the goal).
Using the above logic, setting up a new account is not a single flow but a number of closely-knit series of micro-flows.
Entering first name and last name—a flow. Entering e-mail and password—a flow. Everything's it's own meaningful micro-flow.
Confused? Let's make it simple enough. One interaction is still an interaction. Two and more interactions are a flow. This way a simple "click" shouldn't be treated as a flow, because that'd be absurd.
This is the most interesting part.
A chain of interactions create a flow. A flow gets user to the end-goal, it's a journey. A journey to the end-goal is the experience. Thus, if there are at least two interactions that lead to the end-goal—it is a unique experience.
For example, user clicks an input field. User enters e-mail. User clicks outside. That's three interactions within one flow—and a single experience of entering an e-mail.
Product UX is the sum of such experiences. Product User Experience is the sum of every tiny experience a user comes across while interacting with the Product.
So, next time you come across a Product Designer or UX Designer who is telling you should minimize the number of steps, optimize pages structure and other shit, ask them—what is the Experience we're after?
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