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Getting Started With Swim Lane Flows

Learn more how these flows are great for complex processes.

Early on in my UX career I was tasked to depict the user flow of a complex webcast production process. Up to that point I would use a typical linear flow that shows each of the steps. However, before I began to let it flow, I realized its complexity. This flow had 5 actors, including the System, and I knew there must be a better way. That's when I decided to do some research and discovered a great solution using a business process flows.

Also known as swim lanes,cross functional flowcharts or process maps, the approach is simple - each actor is assigned its own row or column, depending upon a horizontal or vertical orientation.

This is a flow I created to depict the ordering process for a marketing campaign. Due to its complexity, I split the flow into steps to make it easier to visualize.



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