Samuel Hulick — "Growing Your Userbase with Better Onboarding"

(This article is part of the MicroConf 2015 Recap. Want to explore more talks from the event? Go back to the Recap Hub)

Main Concept

Instead of looking at onboarding as the process of setting up features, take a step back and look at the product as a small part of the overall life experience

Three Key Points

  • Walk the user through the end outcome of what you want to achieve
  • Instead of looking at onboarding as the process of setting up features, take a step back and look at the product as a small part of the overall life experience
  • Best practice, have your software behave as if you were in front of your software. 

Share This Recap

[mc_tweet]Growing Your Userbase with Better Onboarding (@SamuelHulick)[/mc_tweet]

Talk Recap

What is User Onboarding?

  • Most people will say ‘interface, interface, interface’
  • PROBLEM: You’re reducing the continuum of the onboarding experience down to a single design pattern

Where in your product design process do you end up with onboarding that prevents the user from using your product?

  • If you look at your typical design product as a user going from 0 to 60, you’re designing for the person at ’60’
    • They have interesting data!
    • They have 6 months of history!
    • …but a majority of folks don’t have that data! They never reach that cool spot!

How do you strip down to the core use of your product?

  • …And build in the components that help your user get off the ground
    • Like, an airplane without any wheels of doors
    • …sure, you don’t need them to fly, but your users need this to get started

Start Your Designing Where Your Users Start Their Using

  • Example: Super Mario for NES
    • You battle for this surreal world of inhuman enemies
    • …and then you’re done
  • VS: Start of the game with detail, design attention
  • You can see the designers started by focusing on onboarding the user with this intro level

How do we approach this differently?

  • If you have to use Tool Tip Tours, just use one at a time and action oriented
    • “Here’s how you do this thing, now do this thing”
  • Walk the user through the end outcome of what you want to achieve
    • Optimizely: delivering value first before asking them to pick a plan

Loss Aversion

  • People dislike losing things more than they like getting things (9x difference between ‘losing’ and ‘gaining’)
  • The faster you give someone something they’re afraid of losing, the more likely they’ll be to continue using your product

Customer Lifecycle — ARRR

  • Onboarding focuses on Acquisition, Activation, and Retention.
    • Activation — Not losing new users
    • Retention — Not losing active users

Retention

  • Focused on ‘Not Losing Active Users’
    • If you’re not financial, you’ll set some goal to determine people who are ‘in’ the product
      • Facebook: friends in 30 days, etc
  • If you’re under 95%, then you’ve got an issue.

Signup / Activation

  • What percentage of people never log back in a second time? 50%!
  • And that’s of the 15% of people who conversion
  • ….and this is really 95% of the 15%
  • So! Onboarding helps get more people in and stick around

Tool Tip Tours

  • Assume they will be skipped!
    • And then design around them anyway
  • Similarly, with onboarding screens on iOS apps

Blank Slate Onboarding

  • You get shoved into a world with… nothing.
  • Best practice, have your software behave as if you were in front of your software. 
  • Instead of having empty things and punishing the user, fill it up with warmth, abundance, and help

Happy Fun Onboarding (Basecamp!)

  • Basecamp
    • Onboards with a sample project
    • With sample to-do lists!
    • That show the interface, how to accomplish what to do, and laying it out in an easy-to-use way
  • Slack
    • Onbaords with chat!
    • Onboards by acting with you as a real person.

Progress Tracker / To Do List

  • Dropbox
    • Do These Things! You’ll Get Awesome Stuff!
  • LinkedIn
    • Enter Your Info! Tell Us Your Stuff!

The Big Activation Question

  • What is the driving force to get someone to go through the activation process?
  • Story time!
    • Sam’s Girlfriend, awesome professional chef
    • “Every Sunday night, I’ll cook for you”
    • …And then Sam ran out of recipes
    • So he bought a grill!
    • …And it came with setup instructions
      • (He could ‘activate’ the grill)
    • But building the grill alone isn’t a success!
      • The end goal is to cook food!
    • In order to become a better outdoor cook (and not just a grill builder), they have information about how to become a better grill cook.
    • Through a long process, Sam became better at grilling.
  • Instead of looking at onboarding as the process of setting up features, take a step back and look at the product as a small part of the overall life experience
    • “Grill → I can cook dinners for my girlfriend!”
    • Not just “I want a grill → I have a grill”
    • What can you do to help people be successful in the way they’re hoping to become successful?
  • It’s about onboarding to a better life

People don’t buy products. They buy better versions of themselves.

  • You can’t just buy a grill.
  • You need to provide the support to help them have that better life.
  • Anytime you have an opportunity to start people off with some progress (Endowed Progress Effect), starting them off with some progress will help them better succeed
    • Quora Onboarding: five step list with three actions already completed 
      • Psychological effect of giving people that little ‘push’ forward and provide positive reinforcement
  • Celebrate the success that you’re helping someone else achieve in their life

Questions for Same

Q: Do all people skip tool tips? Do just some?

It’s a ‘flow state’ issue. People are looking to accomplish something. The tooltips that you put in front of them interrupts the flow of that experience.

Persistent and non-interruptive or non-interruptive and temporary.

Q: What are things you see that you like people doing?

Whatever works best!

The issue is that people take the minimum amount of work to test onboarding. The best practice would be to explore different ways of helping people become better at getting set using the product.

Q: We’re encountering friction from our users; what should we do?

Ask yourself: are these the steps that you should be asking your users to do? What do people want to skip? Why?

Insert yourself into the feedback loop as much as possible. If there’s a point where someone can opt-out of the experience and explain why, make it so they need to explain why.

Identify what the absolute CORE experience they need to know is. Make the core features unskippable more or highly enforced in the process.

Additionally, after the initial onboarding, you can use lifecycle emails to continually onboard users to features.

Links to Speaker’s Websites

Share This Recap

[mc_tweet]Growing Your Userbase with Better Onboarding (@SamuelHulick)[/mc_tweet]

(This article is part of the MicroConf 2015 Recap. Want to explore more talks from the event? Go back to the Recap Hub)