As a programmer, designer, or project director involved in the creation of digital solutions, do you neglect your flow charts? Don’t sit there all pious and innocent, you know you do. Sure, you make flow charts when it really comes down to brass tacks, but do you use them in all the places you should? Do you use a UX flow chart to ensure that you have a clean, clear view of how the core application and the interface layer interact and flow during a given set of tasks?
I bet you don’t, and let me tell you why neglecting your UX flow chart is a tremendous mistake. In one simple phrase, you’re doomed. Without a clear, advanced picture of how an interface and system will work, you’re going to be working blind on design, and it’s going to result in some serious problems that could wreck the whole project. I am going to talk about some of the nightmares that await you without your flow charts.
I’ve seen a lot of UX principles change over the years as technology, demographics and social attitude towards computers changed and evolved. So, I would like to think I have a somewhat unique and detailed perspective on what happens when things go wrong, from my own experience if nothing else. One of the biggest things to go wrong when you neglect a flow chart for UX is that you tend to pigeonhole your design around just one fork of the interaction – a specific task or purpose among many that are involved in your ultimate design. This means that your design won’t incorporate the other functionality or design elements organically in parallel with the functionality you inadvertently focus on too strongly. They will be tacked on awkwardly when you realize something’s not right, and the whole project will suffer for it.
Also, with no clear flow on how the interaction will work, you will have no scope or set confines to which to keep your design adherent, which will cause it to lose standardization within itself. I have made these two mistakes myself, when I didn’t bother to chart out parts of design like UX. I have a graveyard of dead-end projects that are a result of me occasionally figuring I don’t need to flow chart. It almost always results in the project being abandoned or failing utterly.
So, remember to organize a nice, clear UX flow chart which shows all changes in UI states, and linked references to what it asks the core program to do at any given time. A flow chart for the core engine should also be drafted by its people, in the same format, so that the two can be made to mesh, in charting out the interaction between these layers. This seems like an annoying extra step, but it is a crucial thing, trust me.