10 important tips for on-boarding

Below 10 user onboarding design tips that I collected as a PM at social games developer Playfish. There’s also some learnings in there from the user onboarding of Pie, the team chat app I’m currently working on.

1. Don’t have a tutorial
Does the iPhone have a booklet? No. The UX is so simple and self-explanatory, you don’t need one. It’s the holy grail: designing a complex product that’s so intuitive that users don’t need guidance to get started.

If your onboarding-less product confuses your users, strive to make it so seamless that users won’t even know it’s there. An elegant onboarding should be so close to your main product experience that users won’t notice that you’re teaching them something.

2. Let the user do it
Aristotle once said, “For the things we have to learn before we can do them, we learn by doing them.” If you want your users to learn and remember something you need to let them do it, don’t just tell them.

People want to figure stuff out by themselves. Let users experience your product and they’ll figure out the value and why they do things. There’s too many product tutorials that feel like work with lots of text to read and long lists of to-do’s.

3. Don’t teach me all at once
I can’t experience all your features in one go. Rather let me focus on the core experience and introduce more secondary features later, when the context is relevant. After I’ve figured out the basic stuff my willingness to learn is higher and I’m ready to be introduced to new concepts.

4. Let me experience the ‘wow!’
There’s a must-see talk by Gail Goodman where she shares her experience of designing the onboarding for Constant Contact. One of her key learnings is to focus on the ‘quick to wow!’. She describes the ‘wow!’ as the moment that a user understands an outcome and is blown away by it while experiencing it as fun.

5. Repeat to create a habit
After you’ve figured out what your ‘wow moment’ is and you’ve made sure that your users are exposed to it as soon as possible you can let them experience it again. This mechanic is often used in games to get players into a habit, a fun behavioral loop that sucks users in.

6. Use fewer words
It’s hard to write short and to-the-point copy. It’s tempting to tell new users about all the great things your product does, but keep it short if you want users to pay attention. A good guideline is to have no more than 10 words on screen at a time.

If you really need more words to make your point, break it up into smaller bits for users to click through. Don’t just present a bunch of sentences. Most users won’t read it and skip, or worse they’ll leave.

7. Don’t break flow
Game designers often strive to get players into a state of ‘flow’.

One of the main requirements for achieving flow is to be as unobtrusive as possible. For example, don’t surprise users with unexpected pop-ups and messaging. An nice way to prepare the user for what’s coming is showing them the amount of steps to take and how many steps they have left.

8. Be adaptive
Some users prefer a guided product tour, others rather skip and explore without handholding. What works best for you depends on the complexity of your product and the savviness of your target audience.

If you decide to go for a less ‘on-rails’ onboarding experience try to adapt your messaging based on the actions of the user. This way the experience leaves plenty of room for exploration and learning, giving your users a chance to feel smart.

9. Remove noise
To let users focus and rule out potential distractions you can choose to show them a simplified version of your product. By removing noise like excess copy, peripheral features, or irrelevant parts of the UX, you can increase the likeliness of users paying attention.

10. Use conventions
Unless you’re already a household name, don’t do things differently for the sake of being original. This is especially true for games. When designing your in-game currency it’s wise to go for conventional currency units like ‘bucks’, ‘gold’, or ‘diamonds’ as these already convey value.

Adding flair to your product is great; it’s the small details that create a truly delightful product experience, but be descriptive. Don’t confuse your users. Everyone knows what a ‘like’ is and how it works. Please don’t call it a ‘diddlydoo’ because it’s a clever pun on your company name.

Referral : http://www.quora.com/What-websites-have-the-best-new-user-onboarding-flows

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