Interactive Path Flows


At a Glance

Interactive Path Flows (IPFs) are machine learning generated visualizations that show how contributors navigate a website or prototype. They are generated by behavioral data as contributors do a task, an asset you add to the test plan.


Interactive Path Flows is available on the following subscriptions:

Flex plan Seat-based plan
Essentials Startup
Advanced Professional
Ultimate Premium


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Interactive Path Flows (IPFs) help you understand the behavioral data of the individuals who took your test. They illustrate the diverse paths users take to navigate a web-based experience you are testing. IPFs are useful if you are testing website navigation, onboarding flows, content findability, account creation, or any multistep experience. They also capture data about any site that a user navigates. For instance, you might ask users to use a Google search to access your site or run a balanced comparison test to compare the usability of your site to that of your competitor. 

IPFs offer several ways to explore contributor behavior: 

  • The main diagram summarizes all the paths contributors took.
  • Contributor paths show all the interactions and corresponding clips of a single contributor.
  • Screen steps and click maps display all contributor interactions on a screen.
  • If available on your account, sentiment path and an intent path, visualization features laid on top of the IPF, reveal key sentiments and behaviors related to an individual contributor's web experience.
  • If available on your account, a search bar allows you to search for URLs and page titles, as well as sentiments and intents.
  • Path tracing, when activated, is a mechanism that highlights the paths that intersect at a particular screen. 
  • If available on your account, the Instant Insights feature automatically showcases below the IPF various key findings—not only patterns and trends of interest but anomalous answers to task-based questions, too.

IPFs are generated when contributors perform a task. For more about adding tasks to your test plan, see our Setting Up Tasks article.

Note: IPFs are not generated for app tests.

To see the Interactive Path Flow , go to the Metrics tab on the test results page:

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  • IPFs are only generated if contributors encounter two or more screens during a task and are only available for regular "blank" tasks. They will not work for URL tasks, image tasks, metrics, verbal response, and so on.

Contributor paths

1. To see a single contributor’s path, hover over a username.

The width of the band is proportional to the number of contributors who took that specific path. (A curve in the band is a stylistic device; there’s no substantive meaning to the curve.)

Badges next to usernames indicate outliers: contributors with the longest or shortest time, or who gave the most or least amount of effort, or who took uncommon paths. 


2. To follow an individual path screen by screen, click a username.

A contributor’s session videos and metrics related to the session—time, number of screens visited, and number of interactions—display below the diagram. 


3. From here, you can take a closer look at an individual contributor’s interactions:

  • To watch a clip of the contributor doing the entire task, click the timer next to the username.
  • To see a list of interactions on each screen, click the drop-down below each video to reveal the list. Or show and hide all interactions at once by clicking Expand all or Collapse all, respectively.
  • To watch a clip of the contributor’s interaction, click a video screen.


4. Some accounts allow testing with a large number of contributors.

If the data of more than 30 contributors is aggregated into an IPF, the contributors' usernames are collapsed. Hover over any of the horizontal lines in the left-hand column to show the username and badge linked to that contributor, and to highlight the contributor’s path.


5. For contributors who take unusual paths (i.e. paths that deviate from what most contributors had taken), curved lines appear in the visualization.

Hover over the list of contributor usernames, found in the vertical column on the left side, to reveal the corresponding paths.


If you want to test with larger groups of contributors, but your account does not allow it, contact your Customer Success Manager.

Screen Steps and Click Maps 

1. Hover over the screen steps to see which screens contributors visited at each step.

Screen steps are represented by the vertical bars appearing within the IPF. The longer these steps are from top to bottom, the larger the number of contributors who visited that screen. A shorter screen step indicates screens that fewer contributors visited. 


2. To see a click map and table showing all contributor interactions on an individual screen, click the screen step.

To see the very first thing contributors did—a first-click analysis for the task—click the first screen step.


3. The click map shows a picture of the screen contributors interacted with and an overlay with circles. The circles indicate where contributors interacted with the screen. Smaller circles represent fewer interactions and larger circles represent more interactions. 

A table, listing all contributor interactions with the screen, displays next to the click map. 


4. When you hover over a circle, a pop-up appears showing the contributors’ interactions. The contributors’ usernames are highlighted in the table.


5. Click the circle to see a log of all contributor interactions with the element. Click the Play button in the Clip column to the right to watch a video of that contributor’s interaction. 

💡 Tip  When you watch the interaction video, you can add a note, make a clip, review the transcript, and see suggested tags, just as you can in the video player.


Success screens

1. Mark success screens to highlight important screens visited by contributors.


2. Click the screen step to identify all the users who visited a screen.


3. To trace paths that intersect a series of screens, hover over each screen step and click Mark success screen in the pop-up.

Note: When you mark success screens, other users in your workspace can see them.


4. To trace a single contributor’s path, click a username.


5. You can also mark success screens in the click map table that appears below the IPF.


6. To turn off the success screen, click Unmark success screen either in the pop-up or click map table.


7. If you are on the Ultimate subscription plan, any success screens you define also appear in instant insights at the top of the Metrics tab.


To export and share your Interactive Path Flows results, read our article on exporting your results to Excel. The post-export Excel sheet will show session details, metrics, notes, and clips from your selected studies.

Friction Detection

Friction detection offers insight into where contributors had difficulty interacting with websites or prototypes during tests. Use friction detection to quickly identify where you may want to make changes to improve your user experience.


While tags/insights tasks rely on what customers are saying, friction detection relies more on what they are doing. For example, clicking multiple times and a lot of scrolling.

*Please note: Friction detection is available on the Ultimate edition of the Flex plan and the Premium edition of the Seat-Based plan.


Path Tracing

Turn on the path tracing feature to highlight paths that go through particular screen steps. You can also highlight a single contributor’s path. 

Switch on the Path tracing toggle.


To trace all the paths that intersect a single screen, click the screen step.


To trace paths that intersect a series of screens, click each screen step.


💡 Tip: Path tracing highlights paths that intersect every one of the screens you choose. You can use it to mark a success path and show where other paths branch off.

To trace a single contributor’s path, click a username.


When you turn off path tracing, paths stay highlighted. To remove highlighting, turn on path tracing and click the screen steps or username again. 

Note: If you navigate away from the page, your highlights are removed automatically. 

To export and share your Interactive Path Flows results, read our article on exporting your results to Excel. As with those of other tasks, the results of Interactive Path Flows, after being exported to Excel, will show session details, metrics, notes, and clips from your selected studies.

Sentiment Path and Intent Path

If available on your account, the sentiment path and intent path features can be turned on to display visual patterns, laid on top of the IPF, related to the sentiment and behavior, respectively, of those individuals who completed the task.

Select the Sentiment tab to see positive (green) and negative (red) sentiments for each individual to understand their reactions as they navigated the web experience. 


Select the Intent tab to see the behaviors—such as browsing, adding an item to the cart—individuals exhibited while on their customer journey. This feature will show you what people clicked on or engaged with so as to advance to a new screen.


AI Insight Summary (beta)

The AI insight summary feature is available if you have multiple completed sessions that included verbal tasks and blank tasks that generated Interactive Path Flows. This capability processes the task results through our data pipeline to identify themes, patterns, and correlations across multiple types of data. Read more about AI insight summary in our article.

AI insight summary_1 (3).png

Summary of interactions—mobile/tablet touchscreen

Interactive Path Flows are available on both iOS and Android and are generated for mobile tests of websites. However, testing mobile apps will not generate Interactive Path Flows. Prototypes of mobile experiences will generate Interactive Path Flows if those prototypes are web-based.

Note: Interactive Path Flows are not captured when you use a native browser for a mobile test. 

Which specific Interactive Path Flow mobile interactions are included/not included?

  • The following mobile interactions are included in Interactive Path Flows:
    • Tap
    • Scroll and pan
    • Text input
  • The following mobile interactions are NOT included in Interactive Path Flows:
    • Pinch
    • Rotate
    • Long press
    • Drag
    • Android's back button
    • Swipe
    • iOS flick-close

Summary of interactions—desktop

Interactive Path Flows are supported by Windows and Apple OS desktop, but only when a Chrome browser is used by the contributor. This includes prototypes that you point contributors to via the URL task found under Assets in the Test plan area. 

Note: Mobile app tests do not yet support Interactive Path Flows on desktop.

Which specific Interactive Path Flow desktop interactions are included and not included?

  • The following desktop interactions are included in Interactive Path Flows:
    • Left- or main click
    • Right- or secondary click
    • Third-button click
    • Text input
    • Scroll and pan
  • The following desktop interactions are NOT included in Interactive Path Flows:
    • Other Apple gestures

Sharing insights

There are a few ways in which you can share insights from an Interactive Path Flow. 

Select Share from the results page of your test to generate a test link to share with anyone (if that option is available on your account), or email the test to logged-in team members directly from the UserTesting Platform. Read more about how to share test results.

Note: This method will share the entire test, not just the IPF. 

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You can also export your test results to an Excel file you share with your team by selecting Export to Excel under Options. However, note that the IPF visualization will not show up in your export. Instead, the export will display IPF data for specific contributors, such as "Time on task," "Clicks," "Pages," and "Unique pages."

Note: This method will export all of the test results details—details from the Sessions, Metrics tabs—and notes and clips marked as "Important" and tagged with positive or negative sentiment.

Screenshot 2023-10-17 at 9.23.48 AM.png

Another option is to take a screenshot of the IPF visualization and share it with your team as an image file.


  • Look at the main diagram for an overview of all contributor paths.
  • Click usernames to explore the details of a single contributor path.
  • Click screen steps to see how all contributors interacted with a single screen.
  • Use path tracing to highlight only paths that encounter the screens you choose.


Learn More

Need more information? Read these related articles.

Want to learn more about this topic? Check out our University courses.

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