4 user states to consider in your onboarding design process

If you’ve been following my first time UX work, you know I advocate the creation of onboarding experiences that provide guided interaction, free samples and a personal focus. The value of this educational effort doesn’t stop at new customers. When we build onboarding experiences with other user states in mind, we can create a versatile platform for continued education and engagement.  This makes it easier to convince your team to invest in onboarding, and beyond.

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Game of Thrones-Inspired Halloween Illustration

Last year I started playing with the Procreate app for iPad. My first sketch was inspired by Game of Thrones, showing key characters dressed up for Halloween as their house sigils and trick-or-treating at the home of a very special man.

This year, I cleaned up the sketch and decided to share it as a free illustration for your Halloween enjoyment. Read on for a full-size version you can print or use as a wallpaper!

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New users matter too!

I recently gave a talk about designing better first time user experiences for mobile apps, with examples gleaned from my collection of first time user experiences.

Slideshare via Krystal Higgins

In this presentation and in my other work, I stress how we need to move from a mode of telling new users about our value proposition, to a mode of letting users experience it for themselves. We want to show interact, not tell.

Here are 3 ways we can engage new users and get them interacting early:

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What’s your coaching cadence?

In a recent presentation, I discussed the role that guided interaction and coaching can play in onboarding new users to a product. Playthroughs and user-guided tutorials are some examples of guided interaction. Guided interaction allows users to start playing with a new product quickly in an authentic context (instead of wading through abstracted coachmarks, instructions or intro tours), but also gives them enough coaching so that they’ll be motivated by an early success.

To help teams explore the right cadence of guided interaction for their product’s new user experience, I created a template to help with judging that interaction between a product and a new user. I’ve been calling it the coaching cadence worksheet. This can be used to audit an existing experience, or to explore variations for a revision or completely new first time ux. The worksheet follows.

UX Australia Sketchnotes: “The One-Way Door”

At UX Australia, customer strategist Marie-Claire Grady kicked off her 10-minute talk “The One-Way Door to CX-Committed Executives” with a story about her grandmother. Her grandmother was a shopowner, and she made a commitment to walk through the front door every day so she could see of her shop what her customers would see of her shop. As Marie-Claire continues her presentation, this concept of needing executives to experience things exactly how their customers experience things becomes the key to improving any product’s or service’s experience.

UX Australia Sketchnotes: “Syntheate Ideation”

This UX Australia 2014 talk by Sarah Lloyd delved into aspects of neuroscience and situations that affect creativity. Syntheate Ideation: Tools for Infinite Creativity breaks down the creative process into 5 steps with insights for each, such as how to help us create new connections and pathways in the brain (a key element of idea synthesis). My sketchnotes follow.

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