Workflows are a critical part of the defining process of interface design. They effectively bridge the gap between requirements and conceptual design.
We develop workflows after building a Tasks Analysis document (from our Definition phase). The tasks represent all of the actions that users can take in an application. Workflows, are the next step at defining those tasks. We take a given task and then delve in deeper, to further explore what the user expectations are for that task. We brainstorm, discuss, draw up different models, and eventually surface all of the challenges that might be associated with that particular feature.
We make decisions and document how it will work. This is how we keep focused on core functionality without allowing too much of the user experience execution get in the way.
Our diagrams directly coincide with the Tasks Analysis document – which acts like a table-of-contents. These diagrams usually take 2-3 rounds of discussion, brainstorming, and revision prior to being signed off. What we end up with is a very detailed storyboard for each task/action – with all of the interaction points clearly explained and documented. From that point, it’s very seamless to move on to developing detailed wireframes for each step of the flow.