Product Planner Maps Out How Popular Sites Function

When it comes to building a website, one of the key factors in establishing a sizable user base is your site’s ability to ‘go viral’. While there isn’t any magic secret to accomplishing this, there are a few things that can help - namely, making it as easy as possible for your users to sign up, and helping them invite their friends. But this is easier said than done, and determining exactly how to implement these seemingly obvious steps can play a huge role in a site’s success.

Product Planner, a new site that launched this week, is looking to help companies tackle this issue. The site has visually mapped out over 100 ‘flows’ that visually depict exactly how many of the web’s most popular services operate. For example, Gmail’s signup flow consists of inviting a visitor to first click ‘Sign Up for Gmail’, followed by a form asking for information, and finally a confirmation button that says ’show me my account’. It may sound simple, but being able to see each of these side by side can be invaluable when it comes to actually building your site. (TC)

Easy! A great tool for webmasters. However, what is more important than knowing the flow structure is that the user actually has that flow visibly available. Hugely irritating signing up for something to then find there is another page of crap to fill in! Knowing it in advance means one can decide whether to go ahead. Of course, for some sites getting the user stuck in the flow is part of their... erm... charm.

Having said that, Product Planner does little to show its depths. Navigation is largely iconic and only by clicking deeper do you find out that there links to useful articles about specific aspects of the flow; be it about viral marketing or click through rates. So, ironically, it's not just about flow, but also about looking down at the plumbing.



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