I was wondering if you could explain me what is the difference between a user journey and a task flow? I tried to read and look for example images in Google...and I can't find the difference between them. Both of them are presented in flow charts??

  • These days the UX field is full of unnecessarily terms and jargons. Instead of thinking about the difference in terminology, think about the difference in the information that is captured. A journey can involve one or more tasks as part of completing a goal. A task flow limits the scope to the said task. So it is not necessary that one is longer than the other or more detailed than the other, it's just different scope.
    – Michael Lai
    Jun 16, 2017 at 23:14

5 Answers 5


Task flows are a tool to help us think through the design before a feature is actually developed. They allow us to interject the user into the flow of the application and determine if the conceptual model agrees with the user model.

Task flow is in relation to the activity flow within the application.

Customer journey maps are documents that visually illustrate an individual customer’s needs, the series of interactions that are necessary to fulfill those needs, and the resulting emotional states a customer experiences throughout the process.

User Journey encompasses task flow by virtue that it contains information on how the user interaction with the application begins, environmental/situational factors which lead to the usage of the application in the first place and also considers the qualitative factors such as the user's emotions, expectations, behavior, etc.

Further reading on user journey: http://www.uxmatters.com/mt/archives/2011/09/the-value-of-customer-journey-maps-a-ux-designers-personal-journey.php

  • I think this is closest to the definition I would use, and judging from the other answers, it's a question of which activity is a subset of the other. It's also clear from the immediate answer below that there are semantic differences in the way different people use these terms - sometimes a complete reversal of this defintion.
    – Paj
    Mar 30, 2017 at 13:15

A task flow is larger than a user journey.

'User journey' is typically used to talk about the 'path' of interface views and actions that the user follows in executing his or her task. That task is the larger set of actions - including actions outside the computer system - for achieving a particular goal.

For instance, if I am looking for a good CD to buy my sister for her birthday, my task flow is to find CDs I know she is interested in by executing multiple user journeys that involve me running searches on different e-commerce sites.

  • 3
    Can't it be the other way around too, that a User Journey is larger than a Task Flow. For example the User Journey of finding a good CD includes different Task Flows like Recommendations with Preview Listening; Browsing "More like this"; or "Price comparison", all with their own different Task Flows.
    – JOG
    Nov 4, 2013 at 20:52
  • I agree - I think of the Journey as the big picture, comprised of many smaller tasks, more or less the exact opposite of the above description.
    – Mattynabib
    Nov 12, 2014 at 0:37

There seems to be little agreement on which is bigger: Task Flow or User Journey and I'm going to throw another spanner in here. Why are Task Flows not the same as Use Cases? It seems to me that a task is a single completed function of a total system - so too is a Use Case

  • This reads more as a question than an answer. Could you rephrase it?
    – Mayo
    Mar 2, 2016 at 12:18

Note that a User Journey can represent more than just a user in front of the product (which will be more effectively represented by a "user flow"). The User Journey combine all touch point and focus on When the user have an interaction with the product on websites, smartphone, physical stores, etc..

Look at this case :

"I have already bought a ticket to travel through American Airlines website"

The User journey can focus on how I accompany the user in his travel experience from the purchased to the boarding. This is only a user journey, there can be many others.

In comparison with the "user flow", this one will be more focus on how the user interacts with the American Airlines websites. Yes, the user can have notification on smartphone etc., but the interaction will be only with the websites.

User task, is (in my opinion) more based on how process of websites come one after another in a mechanic point of view. Which is more a programmers way of thinking.


To the above agreed Journey is everything the user encounters even those events outside of the product/website. So it may start with an advertisement or talk with peers before they make a decision to use your product. Whereas a task flow is the actions taken within the product or site, although it could also encompass actions taken on other platforms, for instance if they make a video posted on your platform and post it on YouTube but then come back to your platform.

I hope that helps differentiate the two!

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