User Flow vs User Journey: Meaning, Similarities and Differences

User Flow vs User Journey: Meaning, Similarities and Differences

Reading Time: 6 minutesUser flow and user journey are often used interchangeably, but they are two very different things. User flows are an approach to designing a user interface that focuses on the order in which users complete tasks. Creating a user flow makes it easy for users to accomplish their goals with minimal effort.

On the other hand, user journeys focus on how people feel as they interact with your product or service. This approach considers the steps involved in accomplishing a goal and how those steps make users feel as they go through them. But, when it comes to user flows and user journeys, what’s the difference?

In this article, we will look at the meaning, similarities, and differences between these two concepts.

Understanding User Flow and User Journey

Meaning of User Flow

The user flow is the collection of steps a user takes to accomplish a specific task. Typically, it is compiled by looking at user actions on your website.

However, it can also be collected by looking at their behaviour in other contexts, like how they interact with your company’s social media pages or call centre representatives.

example of user flow

The purpose of user flow is to understand how people are interacting with your brand so that you can make improvements and provide better services for them.

If most of your visitors are clicking on links within articles but failing to complete their intended actions (such as purchasing something), you could consider adjusting the layout and content to make it easier for users to achieve those goals.

Typically, user flows include:

  • A starting point
  • The content that is shown to users
  • The actions offered
  • The button users need to push to proceed to the next stage
  • An ending point

Purpose of User Flow

Meaning of User Flows

The purpose of creating user flows is to help you understand your users’ experience with each part of your product or service.

Here are some critical points about user journey mapping:

  • It helps you understand where people are getting stuck in the process.
  • It helps you understand what information people need and when they need it.
  • It helps you identify opportunities to improve the flow of your product or service, making it easier for people to do what they want to do with it.
  • It helps you identify friction in your customer’s experience with your product or service and find ways to remove that friction.
  • It can help you identify how people are using other products or services alongside yours to ensure that they’re getting the most out of both experiences.
  • User flows give you a place to start when building your product, and it also helps you stay focused on making sure every step in the process is as effective as possible.
  • You can use user flows as a guide when deciding what features to include in your product or service and how best to market those features.

Our article on the role of user flows in UX design will help you get more in-depth insights.

Meaning of User Journey

User journeys are diagrams illustrating a user’s path through a website, app, or other digital experience. They explore how users interact with the interface and their expectations in different situations.

A user journey map can help you understand how people navigate your site and decide what to click on next. This can help you identify whether you need to adjust some calls to action or create more content about a particular topic.

example of user journey

User journeys also help you understand how users feel about your product—whether confused by something or frustrated with it—and why they might have those feelings.

This allows you to identify areas of improvement to make changes to your design or messaging that will improve the overall user experience and increase engagement.

Let’s say you’re building an app for ordering food from your favourite restaurants. You might create a user flow that shows how the User would find the restaurant they want, get directions to it, place their order, pay for it and then rate their experience after they’ve left.

Purpose of User Journey

Purpose of User Journey

User journeys show the different steps a person goes through when using your product. They help you visualize your users’ experience and identify opportunities for improvement.

Here are some of the cases where user journeys prove useful:

  • User journey visually represents how the user will navigate through your product. It shows where they can go, what they can do, and how they can do it.
  • They help us understand how people may interact with our products in the future and what changes we’d like to make to support those interactions—like adding new features or changing existing ones.
  • They help us identify potential problems with how we’ve designed our products (or planned to design them) so that we can resolve them before launch or during development. For example, If you find that users don’t understand why they have to type in their password every time they open your app, change it so that the application asks for only one login at start-up. This could save a lot of headaches for both you and your users!
  • Finally, user journeys help us visualize how people will use our products in real life; this is especially helpful when deciding whether something is intuitive enough for most people who might use it!

Similarities Between User Flow And User Journey

Similarities between User Journey and User Flows

The similarities between User Journey and User Flows are not always apparent. There’s a lot of overlap between the two terms, making it hard to tell which one you need to use.

But don’t worry! We’re here to help you learn the ins and outs of both UX methodologies so that you can make sure your product development is going in the right direction.

1. Both are user-centric

User journeys are similar because they show how users interact with a website/app, but they go beyond just showing what users do—they also show why they do it. User journeys help you identify the goals that drive your users’ interactions with your website/app and what motivates them to engage with it.

2. They relate to a user’s interaction with a product or service

User journeys map out all the different steps that lead up to the completion (or abandonment) of an action by the User about your business goals. They include all touchpoints between you and your users—from initial signup through post-purchase engagement (if applicable).

3. Both help in analyzing the user behaviour

Both user journey and user flows can help you understand your users’ behaviours, which can then be used to improve your customer or user experience design.

4. Provide insights that can enhance user experience

Similarly, both user journey and User flows provide insights into how customers interact with an application or website so that you can improve current designs or develop new ones that are even better suited to customers’ needs.

Differences Between User Flow And User Journey

User flows and user journeys are two of the most important concepts in UX design. Understanding the significant differences between the two can help you carve out a better business strategy while also taking a closer look at the users’ behaviour.

The image below highlights the difference between user flows and user journeys.

Differences between User Journey and User Flows


A user journey is a visual representation of a user’s steps in their experience with your product or website, from initial contact to conversion. A user flow is a step-by-step diagram that shows how users navigate through the pages of your site or app.

At Octet Design Studio, we believe that understanding the user journey and user flow is crucial to developing an effective UX/UI design. And we judiciously use both of them during our UX design process.

This is because it helps us know how your potential customers interact with your product’s features and content and how they might interact with them in the future. Such insights allow us to create an immersive user experience.

If you have an awesome product idea or want to improvise the UI UX of your existing product, contact us at + 91 85111 88998 or drop your requirements at [email protected]

Creative Director and Founder of Octet Design Studio- Aakash Jethwani
Aakash Jethwani

With an experience of 12+ years and serving more than 300+ projects, he is now leading a team of 25+ designers and developers and handling responsibility as founder and creative director at Octet Design Studio.

A design leader, known for creating and offering pixel-perfect design by striking a balance between design and technology to his clients while also managing his team and business.

His vision is to help companies disrupt market through designs and becoming a go-to partner for innovation. With a commitment to deep implementation of design strategies, he envisions pioneering innovative solutions to not only transforms businesses but also make it an essential requirement for the clients seeking unparalleled excellence.

His ultimate goal is to offer ‘experiences as a differentiator’ to clients seeking sustainable growth in the competitive digital landscape.

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