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: “Describing the Elephant”

Eric Reiss gave a rousing second day presentation at UX Australia 2014, complete with a performance of Australia’s “Waltzing Matilda.” In his talk “Describing the Elephant,” Reiss encouraged us to recognize that UX cannot be managed by a single person, and needs to be considered a collaborative, shared discipline. My sketchnotes follow.

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UX Australia Sketchnotes: “Design at Scale”

GE design leader Greg Petroff kicked off UX Australia 2014 with an inspiring keynote. While he touched on the impact of his work with GE’s design system, he also spoke passionately about how the survival of design depends on its democratization. My sketchnotes from the keynote follow.

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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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UX Australia Sketchnotes: “(Re)Framing”

The following sketchnotes were taken during Steve Baty‘s talk (Re)framing: The first step towards innovative ideas. This talk was given at UX Australia 2014 and discussed how the techniques used to frame problems can mean the difference between incremental improvements and bold new approaches.

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3D Printing for Humanity’s Sake: Sketchnotes from SXSW V2V

Elliot Kotek of Not Impossible Labs gave a moving talk at this year’s V2V conference. In “3D Printing for Humanity’s Sake-Project Daniel 2.0″ he recounted the stories of an ALS patient who yearned to get back to graffiti art, and of Daniel, a double-amputee in the Sudan who didn’t want to be a burden on his family. In the case of Daniel, 3D printing not only brought him new prosthetic arms, but was a skill taught to his entire community so they could use it to take care of future needs. My sketchnotes follow.

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From Design to De$ign: Sketchnotes from SxSW V2V

On the second day of SxSW’s startup-focused V2V conference in Las Vegas, audience members had the pleasure of hearing John Maeda (KPCB design partner, eBay Inc. design chair, RISD president & MIT professor) give the opening keynote. With background into design vs. art, he discussed design’s increased importance in the workplace now that it’s no longer enough for products just to be needed, but that they need to be loved. My sketchnotes follow.

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Designing for Wearables: Sketchnotes from Google I/O

This session, held during the first day of Google I/O, focused purely on design principles and process for Android Wear and Google Glass.  A panel of 4 designers rotated through an in-depth presentation sharing their insights on topics ranging from voice input, contextual design and glanceable displays. This presentation also stood out as one with a strong resonant theme: The world is the experience.

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Material Design Principles: Sketchnotes from Google I/O

Before the I/O announcement of Android L and “Material Design”, this session was originally called “Cross Platform Design”. The speakers discussed some of the overall principles and applications of the company’s new design system across devices.

I enjoyed the discussion of metaphors as it sounded similar to the original push for skeumorphism in early mobile app design. We’ve focused far too much on judging skeumorphism as 100% bad, when instead we should focus on what it was trying to achieve (metaphors are effective at communication) and work on improving that foundational concept (as Material Design is attempting to do). Learn more about Material Design here.

My sketchnotes follow.

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Google I/O Keynote: Sketchnotes

This year’s Google I/O keynote was jam-packed with announcements ranging from Android Wear to Google Drive for Business. One of the big themes was the need to create seamless, cross-platform experiences.  The following are my sketches from the Google I/O opening keynote with a focus on the cross-platform announcements like Wear, Auto and TV.

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Sketchnotes from Girl Geek Dinner #61

Girl Geek Dinner #61 was hosted at Microsoft’s new technology center in Mountain View. In addition to mingling with fellow female designers, developers, businesspeople and more, the evening included two talks and a panel with some talented Microsoft employees. Below are my sketchnotes from the two main talks.

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The 6 R’s of helpful wearable design

After checking out the design principles of Android Wear, I found myself thinking particularly about the third principle, “Helpful”. Certainly in UX design a product needs to be helpful before anything else. But what does it mean to build helpful experiences for wearables, specifically?

<>To me, it seems that helpful wearable devices or wearable apps would do the following (the “6 R’s”):

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Patterns for new user experiences

I’ve been keeping an ongoing collection of first time user experiences (FTUEs) at http://firsttimeux.tumblr.com/. In this post, I’ve distilled the most common approaches I’ve observed being used today into a list of 8 design patterns and anti-patterns.

Each pattern has a description, pros/cons list, design considerations, and an example. You may recognize a few of these because many are modern takes on well-established UX patterns.  My hope is for this to serve as a helpful reference as you develop your own first time user experiences.

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