created 2 years ago

“As a <type of user>, I want <some goal> so that <some reason>.”
Dumping a new user into an empty dashboard is a sure way to make them close their browser tab and never come back. People trying out a new product need to be guided from the very start.
Here’s what a new Proposify user needs to do to win a proposal (the ultimate success metric):
And there are a few things that can go wrong during that process:
First, we tell the user the overall process instead of showing them.
Second, we assumed the user wants to send a test proposal first when they may prefered to send a real one to start.
Another problem here: Instead of guiding the user through how our software can benefit their sales process, we’re getting them hung up on the content and design of their proposal template.
Problems: The user sometimes wondered, “Wait, isn’t this just a test?”, “What do I choose for a due date?” or “Who is ‘Example Company’ and where will this send to?”
When the user went to send the proposal we made them verify their email first. Still a bit of friction there.
Most people want to send a test proposal to themselves first to see the process before sending a real proposal to a client. We were blurring the lines between a test and a real proposal instead of actually showing them how it all comes together.
We were eating up users’ mental energy by making them look through proposal templates and choose one instead of demonstrating the value of the product.
Many people who jumped into the editor were overwhelmed by how much you can do with it and then reached out to support with basic questions like, “How do I add a signature”? Apparently a lot of people don’t search your knowledge base or watch help videos when trying out a product. Go figure.
A light bulb moment came when we saw that Canva didn’t just show new users how to edit a sample document, instead the sample document contained visual instructions on how to edit it!
We knew we wanted to do this, so we set out to design a document template that walked our users through all the actions of the various tools in our software, like editing text, and adding fee tables, images, videos, and signatures — complete with animated gifs showing how to do it.
We were very careful to not introduce too much detail. Features like team metrics and integrations didn’t need to be communicated during the tour as those are value-add features that improve the product experience over time. Instead, we wanted to get the user to the “aha” moment of what it feels like to close a deal using our product — without the effort and time needed to close one for real.
This allowed us to place animated gifs of using the interface in the document and, more importantly, it keeps users focused on how to use the software instead of getting distracted by the contents of the proposal itself.
Aside: After looking at it with a fresh pair of eyes, I think we should tweak the messaging to reinforce that the user did sign up for a trial. A little pat on the back to acknowledge their accomplishment can go a long way.
If the user decides to skip the tutorial, we take them to the empty pipeline and then they can create a new proposal and/or choose a template from our gallery. But we always include a reminder for them to finish the tour.
Every feature includes a short how-to video, saving the user from having to scour our knowledge base for answers.
Finally, once they click the “Finish the Tour” button, they’ve completed the onboarding process and are considered “active”.
Using email to nurture new users as they begin to learn your product is an important element of onboarding, and we weren’t doing it as well as we could have.
empowering new users to get more value out of the product and sending targeted emails based on their behavior while using the product.
Then, we tested it out ourselves internally and showed our spouses, partners, and friends.
Finally, we sent it out to and had some complete strangers walk through the onboarding, speaking their thoughts aloud.
By testing it on five subjects, we realized that the last step of checking email was confusing to most people, so we added a secondary button to complete the tutorial.
Progressive profiling. This is to say, reduce friction in account creation, and allow users to progressively build their profiles, by requesting only the most important and necessary information. Think about LinkedIn and Facebook and how they give users easy opportunities to build their profiles over time.
Social Login. It won’t work for all kinds of websites and apps, but it seems to be a good ally of user onboarding as it offers users one-click signups, by letting them create an account with pre-existing social profiles. It also offers the ability for sites to access and connect to the user’s contacts, and this allows for a more personalized online experience.
Get along without confirming their email address, even briefly. You will improve retention rates by avoiding them having to go to their inbox, before even having done anything with your app or website.
Avoid long tutorials or videos, it can be a lot to absorb when you haven’t even opened the app, and there’s nothing worse than trying to get someone to learn something they don’t fully understand.
Encourage users to interact with your product and let them learn by doing and experiencing the value of your product, rather than merely watching a demonstration. For instance, offer a quick way to interact with some features to make them understand the product’s/service’s value.
Use contextual onboarding, offering guidance to the user, specific to the current stage in their  journey, using your product. Surfacing helpful information at the point of action with tooltips will be much more effective than a static screen with a bunch of instructions that users must memorize for later. The tooltips should show a clear path to completion: if new users know how many steps they must complete, they’re more likely to complete the process.
The “skip” functionality is a must.
Now, when new users download our wireframing and prototyping tool and open the web app, they are presented with two options: traditional ‘full mode’, the full user interface complete with Justinmind’s complete range of floating palettes and actions; or newly-introduced ‘beginner mode’, which guides users through the interface with interactive tooltips linked to our support section and YouTube tutorials.
free trial is a great tactic to get more paying users: “As usage increased over time, so did customers’ willingness to pay. After the first month only 0,5% of users paid for the service. …By month 33, 11% of users had started paying… At month 42, a remarkable 26% were paying for something they had previously used for free.”
Once users create an account and open the web app, they are walked through the process of user verification, document uploading and sharing in only 7 steps – Dropbox designers have chosen to present these steps in a progress bar at the top of the interface, to relieve user anxiety about the complexity of the onboarding process.
“[Brutalism] is interesting to me … because it doesn’t necessarily have a defined set of aesthetic signifiers,” said Jake Tobin, the designer behind “What defines those signifiers is decided by the platform it’s built on.”
“I designed a brutalist web site to show that we can still do wonderful things together on the web without so-called ‘best practices,'” he told Deville, in an interview published on his site on April 19.
“Watch, iPhone, iPad, Macbook, iMac,” he said. “They really are all computers. Each one is offering customers something unique and each one is made with a simple form that perhaps is eternal. People in the industry may question them — we don’t, for some very simple reasons.”
Seen in that context, making the Macintosh screen—even just on the laptop—touch-centric is a crime against nature, as it violates the functionality intrinsic to the form of a notebook or desktop computer, at least as Apple sees it. Indeed, last week, Schiller was even more emphatic when that subject came up.
“We’re absolutely more sure than ever that we’ve done the right thing.”
The Touch Bar can be an alternative to remembering a keyboard shortcut to open an app, or a much easier way of performing intuitive tasks such as scrolling through photos or fast-forwarding a QuickTime video. It’s at its best when choosing emojis, which does away with the awkward task of pulling up the choices on screen by letting you invoke a chorus line of cartoony icons. If you don’t see the one you like, you call in the next troupe by poking the proper category.
In fact, the line between design and development may no longer exist, resulting in fundamental changes to the skill set and teams required to bring a product to market.
Today, if you have the time and the design and development skills, it is possible to build and launch a product for a few hundred dollars.
Teams have moved from the archaic process of creating static designs in Photoshop to embracing a much more expansive toolset — ranging from collaborative design tools (like Sketch, Figma), dead-simple prototyping platforms (like InVision, Marvel), user testing services (like, Validately and Lookback) and designer-developer collaboration tools (like Zeplin).
Team composition will change. It will no longer be necessary to have both designers and front-end developers within a team, allowing teams to run much leaner.
Real-time iteration will become the norm. Teams will be able to operate in a state of continuous design improvement — prototyping, testing, learning and rolling out new features faster than ever before.
Business results will improve. Product teams will be on the front lines of driving business results, able to act quickly to drive meaningful contributions to the bottom line by capitalizing on new opportunities and addressing issues before they become widespread.
In a new article this week, Google tells us that design is never done, because it’s the art of continuous problem solving. Even if you optimize a user interface element for today’s world, something will change that will require you to go back and work on it at a later date. To support this, Google has just announced some new tools for designers who want to collaborate with other’s who practice the Material Design philosophy.
The first new tool that Google tells us about is called Gallery, and it works similar to how GitHub is currently set up, but specifically for designers. So those who are creating Material Design interfaces for applications can upload their designs, share a design that’s currently on the website, and comment on them as well. The system is said to have version control as well so that you can upload new versions of the project you’re currently working on.
The next Material Design tool that Google announced this week is called Stage. The goal of this tool is to help designers speed up the prototyping process. With Stage, application developers can test various elements of their project. This will also give developers a way to demonstrate how movement and animations work in applications much earlier. The quicker you can get a demo out to show your vision, the easier it is to communicate the idea to your team.
Last up, we have a new Material Design tool that Google is calling Remixer. This tool also helps with the prototyping process, but this one will actually get you a demo in your hand that you can interact with directly. Remixer will allow you to demonstrate the design of your application and even make changes to the app right on the smartphone/tablet, or even on a website.
How do you know you’ve accomplished your objective? Although it’s true that design can always be made better, don’t get sucked into the iteration vortex. We use the 80/20 rule. If we accomplish 80 percent of our objective, sometimes we’d rather tackle another big, juicy objective instead of cranking on the last 20 percent.

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