The term ’Flow map’ originally comes from cartography. It is a particular combination of maps and flow diagrams, where the width of the arrows is proportional to the flow rate — the so-called Sankey diagrams.

Flow maps are used to portray animal migrations, money flow, the traffic of goods and people, etc. The arrows show direction, while the width illustrates the quantity. If we were to answer the question “What is a flow map?”, we would say it is a handy instrument to show any particular movement because it provides two types of data at the same time — location and volume.

Flow maps are important because they demonstrate the contrast in the quantity of a huge variety of items spread over a vast territory. That provides a robust image of changes in weather and traffic patterns, visuals of historic events and military actions, and so on. There are several types of flow maps — network, radial, and distribution maps.

Radial Flow Map

Radial maps display connections between a point and numerous directions via divided lines of specified width, resembling spokes. The accurate route here does not matter as much as the general direction, incoming or outcoming. For instance, this network flow map demonstrates the volume of commodities trading:


Distribution Flow Map

Distribution flow maps, like radial maps, only show a schematic path from the object to the destination. They have other structures, though  — flow lines that diverge to destination points. As an example, this flow map illustrates the spread of a disease:

To build a clear flow map of any type, it is enough to follow these simple principles:
  • Use headed arrows
  • Use larger arrowheads for thin flow lines
  • Make the arrows’ width proportional to flow rate
  • Arrange flows with nodes
  • Make sure flows and arrowheads don’t overlap

Process Map

There’s a special type of flow map tailored to the creative process. It is called a process map, a flowsheet, or a process flowchart. It shows the set of actions you need in order to reach a particular goal.

Process mapping helps to enhance work efficiency, providing a better understanding of each stage of the process. It is used in manufacturing, management, the provision of services, and digital production. Process mapping highlights areas of potential improvement, and it demonstrates the ideas behind the process to the entire working team — everyone is aware of where to go and what to do. Finally, process maps clear up the document flow and help to build up a working plan.

To create a process map offline, you need to have a board with stickers and do the following:

  1. Define the process that you are mapping. It is a good idea to come up with a title, too
  2. Find the goals of the process and fix them
  3. Determine the framework of your process: the deadlines and the scale
  4. Make a list of actions needed to achieve the goals of the process
  5. Arrange these actions in the appropriate order
  6. Connect the actions with arrows
  7. Share the process map with your entire team

Why we named our company FlowMapp

Our tools were created to design process flowcharts, as well as build and analyze various user behavior scenarios on the site.

With the help of our visual sitemaps, webmasters can see their projects from the outside, correctly assess the load on the development team members, and evenly distribute tasks between them. This is in many ways similar to cartography - in particular, with the construction of a Flow Map or Sankey diagrams. That's why we named our company that way.

How and to whom FlowMapp is useful

FlowMapp tools specialize in strategic website planning and user experience analysis. Although all of these products focus on web design, they can be used by a wide range of other professionals, like developers, copywriters, designers, researchers, marketers, product managers, etc.

Here are the tools FlowMapp currently offers:

  • User Flow Tool
    User flow is a visual representation of the sequence of actions that users perform to achieve their goals. In fact, the User Flow Tool allows you to look at the interaction between the user and the web product through the eyes of the user. Planning user flows allows UX designers to create a well-structured user experience and helps to evaluate project complexity and optimize development costs. Integrating a User Flow Tool with a Sitemap Tool within one FlowMapp ecosystem allows to create a comprehensive information architecture and makes it easy to manage.
  • Sitemap Tool
    This tool is designed to create interactive visual sitemaps, allowing users to quickly edit their structure and simplify navigation within large projects. A clear structure is easily created using a vast collection of card covers. Each card on the website can be edited and supplemented with necessary information and content. Site map planning can be collaboratively worked on in real-time and the site map can be exported in XML, PDF, or via a web link
  • Wireframes Tool
    Wireframes Tool is a solution for creating prototypes of web pages that is integrated into the FlowMapp Sitemap tool. It allows planning not only the structure of web projects but also the content on each page. One of the tool's distinctive features is the ability to share prototypes in the form of a real web page and receive feedback from clients in real-time