# Resource flow

# Phase: 🔎 Problem seeking
Focus: Empathize


Time commitment: 1 hour
Difficulty: Easy (but finding users to interview can up the difficulty)
Materials needed: Users to interview, meeting space (physical or virtual), whiteboard and stickies (physical or virtual)
Who should participate: Users, user experience designers, product/project owners, developers
Best for: Understanding how a user or group of user "spends" data, time, or any other valuable asset.

# About this tool

Traditionally used in the world of finance, a resource flow is equally applicable in any field where a user or group of users saves, stores and "spends" any sort of valuable asset — whether that's money, time, bandwidth, compute or storage. A resource flow exercise can make up part of a user interview, or can take place internally once you've gathered enough data points from personas, journey maps, "I like, I wish, what if" activities that you feel that these can act as a reasonable stand-in. To examine resource flow, take the following steps:

  1. List all the ways in which the user can accumulate the asset you're examining (in the finance example, this would be all the ways the user can make money).
  2. List all of the ways in which that asset can be taken away from the user.
  3. Look for patterns or extremes in these lists: Are there one or two particularly "expensive" items? Are some of the items entirely optional or entirely non-negotiable? Are there duplicates or redundancies? Can you rank the items in order of value? (If not, you may want to consider adding some user testing at this point to gain clarity.) Can you rank the items in order of frequency?
  4. If possible, consider mapping the inputs and outputs to some sort of process diagram, such as a journey map, in order to clarify when these happen along different points in the user's overall journey.