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 UserTesting.com 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.
Understanding the cost of complexity: each time you add a new feature to your app, it’s likely that the metrics you are tracking will turn up positive (after all, before nobody used X, and now more people use X, and people don’t seem to be using Y or Z any less, so overall this feels like a win.) However, if you keep adding features, at some point, you’ll end up with what’s perceived as a cluttered and bloated product. Then, suddenly, some shiny new competitor will gain fast traction because everybody’s like “I love Q! It’s just so simple.” The paradox of choice and the costs of cognitive complexity are real. We just haven’t figured out how to accurately measure them yet.
o assess for product-market fit, look at retention. Do not look at the sheer number of people using your product or feature (which can be skewed by things like how aggressively you promote it.) Retention best correlates with whether your product is valuable because it tells you whether people who tried it liked it enough to return and use it again.
ou’ve never heard of ‘Complexion Reduction’ you say? Well yea, that’s because I just made the term up. Recently I’ve noticed a new trend that is beyond flat design, beyond minimal design and independent of progressive reduction. Some may claim that this is just the next step of minimal design being implemented into the mobile realm but I say it is something more distinct. There are specific similarities and characteristics that define this new trend. So I decided to name it. I’m allowed to do that, right?
This means your iPhone home screen will soon become nothing more than a colorful mosaic of bright portals transporting you to Pleasantville.
As the lines between UX and UI designer blur in today’s more integrated design process, designers become less worried about their specific responsibilities (like making it pretty) and focus on the ultimate goal of creating the best product for their user.
The mobile redesign introduced larger, bolder headlines, removed unnecessary imagery and color and simplified their icons to make them more universally recognizable. What was left was a very black and white UI where the content shined and functionality was clear.
“Every dollar a company invests in UX can yield a return of up to $100.”
94% of the factors that affect a user’s first impression of your product are design-related. These first impressions are extremely important, and unimpressed users are often unforgiving.
—they create an experience around their products. My phone is full of apps that not only do useful things for me, but also make me feel good about using them.
By 2020, user experience will overtake price and product as the key brand differentiator. That brand differentiation, driven by UX, is one of the most valuable and defensible competitive advantages that a company can create for itself.
For interaction designers, it’s becoming common to encounter privacy concerns as part of the design process. Rich online experiences often require the personalization of services, involving the use of people’s information.
I've become rather fascinated by all the people trying to unbundle Yelp for restaurants. People trying to unbundle Craigslist do so with modern UX, but Yelp is a modern company with modern UX, and the people unbundling it, mostly, use constraint. Instead of offering 500 or 1000 restaurants and a search box, they give you a list - 50, or 10, or even 1. Sometimes this is deliberate and sometimes it flows from the business model, but the result is the same - they remove the 'tyranny of choice'. I don't want 500 options for restaurants, all of which I'd like - I want five.
Showing every SKU, of course, is exactly the Amazon approach - 'the everything store', and it works well for some categories, and especially when you know exactly what you want. But knowing what you want is not necessarily the starting point - that's what needs to happen along the funnel. Amazon's relative weakness at curation, discovery and recommendation (I've seen data suggesting the recommendation platform is only 1/4 of its books sales) is, I think, a big reason why, after 25 years of ruthless and relentless execution, it's still only got to 25% of the print books market in the UK and USA. A bookshop (or any shop) is, yes, the end-point to a logistics system, but a good bookshop is primarily a discovery platform. That is, it's more about the tables than the shelves. And the tables are lists, not inventory.
Apple Music and Spotify both have an angle on this; they both make the observation that 30m tracks and a search engine is a poor experience, and that you need some form of filter, based in some way on your preferences, but ultimately arbitrary all the same.  Apple's model in particular is interesting because it's a hybrid - it uses automation to match manually curated playlists (again, lists) with (mostly) algorithmically-determined tastes. So the list is made by hand, but the machine finds the list for you.
Here is a little revelation. People are not really into using products. Any time spent by a user operating an interface, twisting knobs, pulling levers or tapping buttons is time wasted. Rather, people are more interested in the end result and in obtaining that result in the quickest, least intrusive and most efficient manner possible. And these are two fundamentally different concepts — usage versus results — which, at the very least, differentiate good product design from poor product design or, on a smaller scale, a good feature from a bad one.
I still find a lot of products today, be they digital or physical, to be too complex and feature-driven. Shouldn’t we as designers instead be looking to remove complexity for users as much as possible or as much as allowed for by current technology, by making our products fit more seamlessly into their daily lives and routines? I feel that we simply don’t and, more worryingly, that we still haven’t learned lessons from the past.

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