What Is a User Flow?
A user flow is a type of diagram that shows the different paths a user can take when performing (or trying to perform) a certain task or use case. They are useful for product teams to make sure they have properly thought through all relevant scenarios. User flows typically have the format of box-and-arrow diagrams, with two types of boxes, square boxes that describe events with one outgoing arrow, and diamond boxes that differentiate outcomes with several outgoing arrows.
User flows are different from and complementary to customer journey maps, as user flows cover more than one path, while customer journey maps cover events both in and around the product as well as the mental model of the user.
User flows are complementary to lo-fi and hi-fi designs, as by representing events in pure text, they can be seen as a form of ultra-lo-fi design.
When working with Opportunity Solution Trees, and trying to aggregate lower-level opportunities into higher-level ones, it is often a good idea to try making the higher-level opportunities resemble steps in a user flow.
User flows are part of refinement step of collaborating to figure out how to build a feature, a part of the product management process.