An example of workflow or the customer journey flow can be seen in the construction industry, in this case, the London underground, where customers start at the station; they gather information, buy a ticket then go on the train.
When designing a new product, a new piece of software, or a new building, a flow must enable new users and existing customers to navigate the relevant system or locations easily.
A flow for the train station design
The customer journey steps when using the product or user journey will be numbered for this high-level flow.
- The location of the underground train station or standard train station
2. Enter the station
3. Locate the ticket machine
4. Purchase the ticket
5. Locate turnstiles
6. Present the ticket to go through the turnstiles
7. Locate the route map
8. Analyze the route map
9. Navigate to the platform
10. Wait for the train
11. See the train approaching
12. Enter the train.
Looking at the above steps of the workflow of the train station tells us how users will use the station.
The same path of road mapping and understanding the customer journey can be applied to software development.
Linear sequence flow
With the linear sequence flow, just think of purchasing a book from Amazon or Watersons.
This sequence is straightforward and natural because the user starts by going online, selecting a book, putting the payment details, and finally making a payment.
This is an example of a linear sequence.
The next is dependencies during the linear sequence; the next step is dependent on the information on what the user or customer is hoping for because it depends on their financial information or their location. Not all postal services can necessarily get to specific areas.
Routine transactions are also part of the linear sequence flow because they are routine transactions, linear sequences, and also short and typically quick transactions.
Hope and spokes model
When looking at different workflows, a decision needs to be made whether or not it is a linear or non-linear flow.
This is where the hob and spokes model comes in; imagine a rectangle with smaller circles we need to put in information to complete the overall workflow.
An example of this could be trying to sell an apartment.
This process is non-linear because you need to add in multiple sources of information on the property, for instance, photos and pricing.
This is a non-linear process because you may need to tweak or gather other pieces of information.
This makes the process much more complicated and less straightforward than the linear workflow. Keep three features of the hubs and spokes model in mind: sequence not natural, liminal dependent, and long involved transactions or data input.