Onboarding won’t succeed if it’s a passive, standalone, rigid flow. It needs to be a well-integrated part of your core product experience. To achieve this, onboarding must focus on the key actions that lead users to long-term success, retention, and engagement. And, to accommodate users in different situations, it needs to be flexible enough to allow these key actions to appear in different orders.
In an earlier post, I covered how to identify key actions. In that same post, I also covered how to break key actions down into modules so they can be scaffolded with guidance. The 3 parts of a key action module are its trigger (the part that initiates action), its activity (the heart of the action), and its follow-up (the part that closes out the action and moves people on to next available key actions).
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.