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:

1. Guided interaction

  • We want to let our users interact within an environment that is authentic to our product, but with enough help to make sure they have a good time of it.
  • Our new user experiences should facilitate exploration in a safe and authentic space.
  • We should set achievable goals to ensure early success.
  • Any guidance that encourages the user to complete a task should provide prompt feedback.
  • Finally, we must ensure we don’t overdo our guidance, which means avoiding teaching the obvious (which you should determine based on research of your audience), avoiding modals, avoiding repetition, and allowing the user to skip or dismiss guidance.

2. Free samples

  • Entice users by letting them use as many aspects of your product as possible before requiring them to log in. Here, “free” is used to suggest that asking for a user’s information is just as costly as asking a user to pay money.
  • Sample content can come in many forms, including user drafts, limited-time trials, limited capacity trials, freemium, etc.
  • Prompt for registration after delivering on value.

3. A personal focus

  • New users can’t be engaged unless they can quickly focus on the product features that are most relevant to their needs or interests.
  • Use implicit or explicit methods to ascertain the user’s goal(s) with the product.
  • Create a platform for continued education and engagement by continuously checking in and reconnecting with the user.

Further reading:

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