Transcript: Ask the UXperts: The UX of Onboarding — with Dr Paul Sherman

Transcript: Ask the UXperts: The UX of Onboarding — with Dr Paul Sherman

Dr Paul Sherman
Summary:

We kicked off our popular Ask the UXperts series for 2017 with a highly entertaining session on The UX of Onboarding, with guest star Dr Paul Sherman.

Read on to find out what went down.

Our Ask the UXperts series got off to a cracking start for the new year, with a fantastic session with Dr Paul Sherman. The topic was The UX of Onboarding and it was an highly entertaining and informative session.

Everyone was in fine form and the jokes flowed freely.

We examined some of the key principles of the onboarding process and broke down the common patterns to identify the bits that work, and the bits that aren’t so great.

If you work on products or services of any kind, I’d recommend having a read through this transcript.

If you didn’t make the session because you didn’t know about it, make sure you join our community to get updates of upcoming sessions.

If you’re interested in seeing what we discussed, or you want to revisit your own questions, here is a full transcript of the chat.

Transcript

hawk
2017-02-16 01:02
The serious stuff first:
Dr. Paul Sherman has worked in user experience since the days of dial-up.

He conducts user research and user experience design for mobile, web and desktop in many domains, including accounting; banking; e-commerce; financial planning and portfolio management; healthcare; mobile gaming; mobile device hardware and software; network, server and cloud application security; tax preparation; and travel, among others.

He also creates and teaches graduate courses in user experience research and design at Kent State University, where is he is an Assistant Professor and Program Coordinator for the User Experience Design Master’s program.

hawk
2017-02-16 01:03
@pjsherman Do you want to give us a bit of an intro to the topic?

pjsherman
2017-02-16 01:03
Sure thing. Basically,

pjsherman
2017-02-16 01:04
I would define onboarding as “The process of getting people to adopt your application or service.”

pjsherman
2017-02-16 01:04
It might be fully on-screen, but more likely it’s a blend of channels and modalities.

alex.lee
2017-02-16 01:04
How is onboarding process different from marketing and sales?

pjsherman
2017-02-16 01:05
Onboarding is post-conversion. Post-sale. It’s the stuff that happens after the customer/user has committed.

pjsherman
2017-02-16 01:05
*Or, committed an initial effort at least. Onboarding UX is the process of getting them from initial commitment to adoption.

pjsherman
2017-02-16 01:06
(I am thanking my 9th grade typing teacher right now for teaching me home row)

alex.lee
2017-02-16 01:07
:+1:

hawk
2017-02-16 01:07
And questions are go…

holliedoar
2017-02-16 01:07
I’m currently designing a basic onboarding process – and I’m wondering how to know what is best to include and not include. Obviously you don’t want to have to tell them every feature of the app – but how do you decide?

pjsherman
2017-02-16 01:07
woo!

zheng
2017-02-16 01:08
Paul, when does onboarding start and end (does it still apply to customers who have been with you for awhile but aren’t necessarily utilising your product well?)

pjsherman
2017-02-16 01:08
@holliedoar TESTING! And also focusing on the critical few things that solve a user’s problem.

ryanhoffman
2017-02-16 01:08
What have you found users respond to the most? re: copy, images, animations

pjsherman
2017-02-16 01:09
@zheng Actually I think it can continue almost indefinitely, and it definitely applies to new releases and features. If any of you use Trello…have

pjsherman
2017-02-16 01:09
you seen Taco pop his cute little head up to announce new features?

pjsherman
2017-02-16 01:09
That’s continuing onboarding.

holliedoar
2017-02-16 01:09
love taco

pjsherman
2017-02-16 01:09
By the way that’s a good pattern. Giant release notes belong in the dustbin of UX history.

davidbaird
2017-02-16 01:09
are we talking onboarding features or process?

hawk
2017-02-16 01:10
Taco is just like a modern day paperclip guy

pjsherman
2017-02-16 01:10
OK I think I have the rhythm down… go to @hawk DM with me, copy the entire q, then answer.

pjsherman
2017-02-16 01:11
@ryanhoffman : What have you found users respond to the most?
I can tell you what they DON’T respond to.. something like this:

pjsherman
2017-02-16 01:11
@pjsherman uploaded a file: Click to see image

pjsherman
2017-02-16 01:12
That’s “modal stepped tutorial”

pjsherman
2017-02-16 01:12
Not many advantages.

pjsherman
2017-02-16 01:12
People won’t remember.

pjsherman
2017-02-16 01:12
And they just want to try the thing.

alex.lee
2017-02-16 01:12
Asking people to remember things in advance :-1:

pjsherman
2017-02-16 01:12
More on @ryanhoffman q: they respond to interaction, and learning while doing.

jakkii
2017-02-16 01:12
Ugh, as a user I hate those things

jorge
2017-02-16 01:13
What do you think about the one that “locks out” everything but the feature that the onboarding step is explaining? Do you think of those as some sort of modal as well?

pjsherman
2017-02-16 01:13
There are other patterns, like first-run callouts.

pjsherman
2017-02-16 01:14
But the problem with those is, how do you review them?

hawk
2017-02-16 01:14
If you’ve recently joined us, jump in with questions at any point – I’ll queue them for Paul

pjsherman
2017-02-16 01:14
If you want to see them again?

pjsherman
2017-02-16 01:14
Some products have solved that. Here’s a pic of http://proto.io’s main screen after first run….

pjsherman
2017-02-16 01:15
@pjsherman uploaded a file: Click to see image

pjsherman
2017-02-16 01:15
They’ve included nav to get back to the first-run content! Good pattern.

srvcook
2017-02-16 01:16
How do we create onboarding for a wider range of users— including those that want handholding and upfront instructions, without irritating the less patient digital natives?

pjsherman
2017-02-16 01:16
@jorge : What do you think about the one that “locks out” everything but the feature that the onboarding step is explaining? Do you think of those as some sort of modal as well?

They’re good b/c from a perception pov, they focus your attention. For a while at least.

pjsherman
2017-02-16 01:16
But if you’re going to do that, best keep it to the top 2-3 things.

pjsherman
2017-02-16 01:16
And like http://proto.io, let people take the lesson again.

pjsherman
2017-02-16 01:17
Here’s an onboarding blast from the past, for you old UX’ers like me…

pjsherman
2017-02-16 01:17
@pjsherman uploaded a file: Click to see image

hawk
2017-02-16 01:17
That’s the paperclip guy I was talking about. I forgot his real name.

hawk
2017-02-16 01:17
Clippy?

srvcook
2017-02-16 01:18
Yes!

pjsherman
2017-02-16 01:18
Yes clippy

davidbaird
2017-02-16 01:18
Jeez clippy was annoying…lol

alex.lee
2017-02-16 01:18
I think there was a UX method/term for that… like discretionary information or something where you limit info so more advanced users can cruise through apps

hawk
2017-02-16 01:18
I’d like a “Write the whole letter for me” option

cystinosis
2017-02-16 01:18
Most did hate him.

srvcook
2017-02-16 01:18
such a debonair office product.

pjsherman
2017-02-16 01:18
@srvcook : How do we create onboarding for a wider range of users— including those that want handholding and upfront instructions, without irritating the less patient digital natives?

From the testing I’ve done, almost all people benefit from the learn while doing approach. DN’s will do one short one. Others will do more if you let them. So give them a choice.

pjsherman
2017-02-16 01:19
Like from Starship Troopers: “Would you like to learn more?”

jorge
2017-02-16 01:19
Clippy and his friends (like the Wizard or the red bouncing ball) were good for a bit, but mostly were irritating to -always- pop up in the middle of something.

davidbaird
2017-02-16 01:19
Slippy’s interpretation intelligence wasnt good…context intelligence is everything

felesiauxd
2017-02-16 01:19
Hi Paul I’m not stalking you I promise

davidbaird
2017-02-16 01:19
*Clippys, soz

alex.lee
2017-02-16 01:20
But for some reason chatbots are making a return… @pjsherman do you think chatbots can make a good case for improving UX in it’s current evolution?

pjsherman
2017-02-16 01:20
@felesiauxd Restraining order time! :stuck_out_tongue:

davidbaird
2017-02-16 01:21
can A chat bot record and learn cognitively..can a bot read what youve done so far an provide intelligent options for you..thats the question

davidbaird
2017-02-16 01:21
IMO

pjsherman
2017-02-16 01:21
@alex.lee It depends on the amount of AI horsepower they could provide. But your idea has me thinking… what if you could just invoke a help mode, point to an element, and while in that mode you could see what you could do from that point?

alex.lee
2017-02-16 01:21
AI and VR machines like Alexa and Watson are coming back with popularity

pjsherman
2017-02-16 01:21
It wouldn’t work with all workflows and UI’s, but definitely some.

jakkii
2017-02-16 01:21
Yeah agreed re: popping up in the middle of things. It’s the interruption that is challenging, begging the question how do you balance making notifications and help visible and accessible, with potential notification blindness and interruptions… ?

alex.lee
2017-02-16 01:22
@pjsherman: my thoughts exactly. I’m building an app right now with that in mind

pjsherman
2017-02-16 01:22
I’m going to look up the clippy from hell..brb

davidbaird
2017-02-16 01:22
User needs the option to invoke chat help..if needed

hawk
2017-02-16 01:22
Let’s talk about him while he’s gone

pjsherman
2017-02-16 01:22
Got it…

pjsherman
2017-02-16 01:22
@pjsherman uploaded a file: Click to see image

alex.lee
2017-02-16 01:22
What about Max Headroom from the 80s?

hawk
2017-02-16 01:23
Hahahaha. That’s unbelievable!

felesiauxd
2017-02-16 01:23
@hawk we can talk about him while he’s here :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

pjsherman
2017-02-16 01:23
True that

pjsherman
2017-02-16 01:24
Is anybody thinking of using gamification or social comparison cues to facilitate onboarding?

davidbaird
2017-02-16 01:24
Simple processes, that can turn difficult, like Booking a flight, then changing can benefit from chatbot

jorge
2017-02-16 01:24
“what if you could just invoke a help mode, point to an element, and while in that mode you could see what you could do from that point?” <- Like InVision and such “pulses” for links and such, but for info?

pjsherman
2017-02-16 01:24
@davidbaird Agree. No need to cut over to call center. The problem scope is known at that point.

holliedoar
2017-02-16 01:25
social comparison cues?

pjsherman
2017-02-16 01:25
@jorge Oooh I want to see those examples. I haven’t installed InVision. Too busy learning Flinto

pjsherman
2017-02-16 01:25
@holliedoar Yes. Let me grab an example.

davidbaird
2017-02-16 01:25
@jorge a pulse link?

pjsherman
2017-02-16 01:26
OK so check out Stack UX’s screen when you join:

pjsherman
2017-02-16 01:26
@pjsherman uploaded a file: Click to see image

pjsherman
2017-02-16 01:26
You do the things (the onboarding activities that are designed to get you engaged), and then you get a nice reward!

pjsherman
2017-02-16 01:27
@pjsherman uploaded a file: Click to see image

pjsherman
2017-02-16 01:27
And you are DA MAN (or DA WOMAN)

jorge
2017-02-16 01:27
@davidbaird @pjsherman most like a light flash to show points of interest. Trying to find a screenshot/video to demonstrate.

holliedoar
2017-02-16 01:27
love a good reward. i am a sucker for stars and rainbows.

pjsherman
2017-02-16 01:27
In psych we call them “pellets”.

zheng
2017-02-16 01:27
How can we cater to different user types ( when a single product might be used by a product manager, a developer, CTO or customer success etc) during onboarding? And they might all have a different use case.

amirasallam
2017-02-16 01:27
What are mobile apps that have the best on boarding experience in your opinion?

pjsherman
2017-02-16 01:27
As in the food reward you give the mouse in a lab experiment

alex.lee
2017-02-16 01:28
It helps people feel less stupid for asking obvious questions

alex.lee
2017-02-16 01:28
“There are no silly questions, except ones there are not asked”

davidbaird
2017-02-16 01:28
@ jorge thanks…Im wary of flashy thing in the UI..:)

pjsherman
2017-02-16 01:28
@amirasallam There are way too many! All I have is a few examples based on research I’ve done, but not thesis-level comprehensive.

jorge
2017-02-16 01:29
@zheng once I set different landing pages/first-load-screens depending on the “user role” they had. Where they had access to their different features.

alex.lee
2017-02-16 01:30
Which popular app has terrible on boarding experience?

pjsherman
2017-02-16 01:30
@zheng How can we cater to different user types ( when a single product might be used by a product manager, a developer, CTO or customer success etc) during onboarding?

RELATED:  Transcript: Ask the UXperts: Sketchnoting with Mike Rohde

– So, if you have personas, and you know what features these diff types are likely to use, you could ask them who they identify as.

pjsherman
2017-02-16 01:30
Then it’s a “choose your own adventure” type of onboarding.

pjsherman
2017-02-16 01:30
It’s more expensive in terms of design and dev time.

pjsherman
2017-02-16 01:30
But it’ll prob pay off in the long run.

pjsherman
2017-02-16 01:31
(I wish we had theme music for Slack. Somebody submit a feature request.)

pjsherman
2017-02-16 01:31
8:30] @alex.lee Which popular app has terrible on boarding experience?

LINKEDIN – argggggghhhhhhh

holliedoar
2017-02-16 01:32
I reckon you could make a little ditty out of that sound it makes when you get a message

pjsherman
2017-02-16 01:32
First it asks you to be a viral vector and spam your friends.

hawk
2017-02-16 01:32
Then when you don’t, it just does it for you. Over and over again.

jellybean
2017-02-16 01:32
And then it keeps on annoying you.

pjsherman
2017-02-16 01:32
Then it starts – yes!

pjsherman
2017-02-16 01:32
@pjsherman uploaded a file: Click to see image

jorge
2017-02-16 01:32
After you’re done with that, you set your mail and name… and then again spam your friends.

hawk
2017-02-16 01:33
hahahahaaha

holliedoar
2017-02-16 01:33
LinkedIn makes me so cross

hawk
2017-02-16 01:33
And then people that aren’t your friends but once emailed you.

pjsherman
2017-02-16 01:33
This is my continuing experience with LI. A bunch of badges and banners all fighting for attention.

hawk
2017-02-16 01:33
Same

jakkii
2017-02-16 01:33
Yes!

mel
2017-02-16 01:33
Q: How much do fun animations improve onboarding success? Does it keep peoples’ attention more?

pjsherman
2017-02-16 01:34
@mel Used with caution, I think it’s effective.

pjsherman
2017-02-16 01:34
Examples: Taco peeking his head up on Trello.

davidbaird
2017-02-16 01:34
@mel that idea has merit, done sparingly. A ‘wiggle’ on a icon

srvcook
2017-02-16 01:34
LI: And then you follow their prompts to update your profile, and it spams your friends for you (and tips off your colleagues of your attempts to look for a new gig)

pjsherman
2017-02-16 01:34
And Slack actually has a non-animated little “present with a bow” icon that announces new features.

pjsherman
2017-02-16 01:35
Here’s a dump of my gamification def:
Gamification and social comparison trigger people’s desire to complete a process and earn achievements.

Both can be effective, but also expensive to implement.

jellybean
2017-02-16 01:35
Badges can be annoying. I don’t care if you want to badge me, I want to do x,y,z.

pjsherman
2017-02-16 01:36
Here’s an example of social facilitation (diff than social comparison)

pjsherman
2017-02-16 01:36
@pjsherman uploaded a file: Click to see image

srvcook
2017-02-16 01:36
What is the line between providing too much information upfront and losing user interest because they aren’t yet invested and are learning while doing? How frequent should that interaction be?

jorge
2017-02-16 01:37
The issue with gamification that I’ve found is that everyone “outside” the environment (like sales/CTOs/etc) want to have it, and they believe that with PBL (Points, Badges and Leaderboards) splattered all over it’s enough.
So we end up with awful gamified experiences.

pjsherman
2017-02-16 01:37
In turbotax, they’ve looked at the data and surfaced top questions as a means of onboarding new users. (And they’ve provided easy access to live peer or expert help)

pjsherman
2017-02-16 01:38
@jorge Agree. Done sparingly and well, it harnesses people’s desire to complete a process.

jorge
2017-02-16 01:38
Achievement Unlocked *Get a 3 replies from the UXpert*

pjsherman
2017-02-16 01:39
Oh I just realized, one GREAT example of learn by doing is the InVision samples!

pjsherman
2017-02-16 01:39
@pjsherman uploaded a file: Click to see image

alex.lee
2017-02-16 01:39
Yep I agree

pjsherman
2017-02-16 01:39
They’ve got sample projects for you to play with. I grabbed this about 6-8 months ago.

pjsherman
2017-02-16 01:39
You can’t break anything, and if I remember correctly there’s some contextual help along the way.

alex.lee
2017-02-16 01:40
What would you say are your top 3 tips to improve UX onboarding process for your typical inhouse UXer?

pjsherman
2017-02-16 01:41
New q:
How important are micro-interactions to on-boarding? What are some good examples? I recently saw a demo for the FitBit app on-boarding, and liked it. It seemed engaging but not overdone. What are some bad examples?

– MI’s are very important.

pjsherman
2017-02-16 01:41
Here’s one from Gmail.

srvcook
2017-02-16 01:41
Is the concept of a “wizard” tool dead? (looking to get this on record)

pjsherman
2017-02-16 01:41
@pjsherman uploaded a file: Click to see image

pjsherman
2017-02-16 01:41
I started selecting multiple items.
It recognized this and offered information.

pjsherman
2017-02-16 01:42
You can’t see the MI, but there was definitely a transition.

pjsherman
2017-02-16 01:42
@srvcook What is the line between providing too much information upfront and losing user interest because they aren’t yet invested and are learning while doing? How frequent should that interaction be?

This is a question for testing and iteration.

rgirando
2017-02-16 01:42
So this is about on-boarding of any type, shape or form?

pjsherman
2017-02-16 01:43
Here’s an example of a too-long process that I would run away from:

pjsherman
2017-02-16 01:43
Medium on mobile..

hawk
2017-02-16 01:43
@rgirando Yup!

pjsherman
2017-02-16 01:43
@pjsherman uploaded a file: Click to see image

pjsherman
2017-02-16 01:43
OK, step one, not so bad…

pjsherman
2017-02-16 01:44
@pjsherman uploaded a file: Click to see image

pjsherman
2017-02-16 01:44
Uhhhh, okayyyy….

pjsherman
2017-02-16 01:44
@pjsherman uploaded a file: Click to see image

pjsherman
2017-02-16 01:44
Fucking hell, Medium! Stop it!

davidbaird
2017-02-16 01:45
have to step out now…Ill check the transcript later. thx all.

pjsherman
2017-02-16 01:45
I need to refill this whisky glass… 30 secs

hawk
2017-02-16 01:45
@davidbaird Later. Thanks for joining us. :slightly_smiling_face:

pjsherman
2017-02-16 01:46
OK back.

pjsherman
2017-02-16 01:46
I lied I went for the scotch.

hawk
2017-02-16 01:46
it would be funny if we had all gone. wish we thought of it.

pjsherman
2017-02-16 01:47
I can’t find a good enough drink emoji but yes

jorge
2017-02-16 01:47
@jorge uploaded a file: Click to see image and commented: The “info mode” to tap and know what’s what. On some pattern libraries are called “Coach Marks”

cystinosis
2017-02-16 01:47
Good UX = Hard Liquor

pjsherman
2017-02-16 01:49
@jorge yes. Implementation-wise, you would get different outcomes I’m guessing if you forced-marched people through a series in order – which is basically a wizard – vs. presenting it the way it is in the screenshot and let people explore.

jgalpin
2017-02-16 01:49
where’s the info mode button/icon?

pjsherman
2017-02-16 01:49
Would love to test the implementation differences.

pjsherman
2017-02-16 01:50
I y’all want, I can drop my onboarding listicle into here. And I’ll provide a link to the onboarding talk I did at UX Singapore. I’m pulling a lot of the examples from there.

davidbacon
2017-02-16 01:50
has joined #ask-the-uxperts

jorge
2017-02-16 01:50
Oh yeah! If you ever do those tests let me know. It would be awesome.
I’ve always felt that if you force the tutorials some users would get annoyed.

pjsherman
2017-02-16 01:50
Here’s my “10 Onboarding Principles” listicle. In the preso I have examples for each.

pjsherman
2017-02-16 01:50
1. Present a clear value proposition.
2. Engage emotional and aspirational motivations.
3. Doing is better than showing or telling.
4. Minimize friction and barriers.
5. Stock the shelves. Avoid the empty store.
6. Don’t ask for a commitment before the user is ready.
7. Leverage social comparison and gamification. But don’t be cheesy.
8. Support learning and mastery at the point of need.
9. Share content via different channels to encourage engagement.
10. Measure and test!

pjsherman
2017-02-16 01:51
Both positive and negative

razel
2017-02-16 01:51
#6 forever

srvcook
2017-02-16 01:52
@srvcook pinned a message to this channel.

pjsherman
2017-02-16 01:52
BTW I should mention the alternate channel methods. Your marketing teams know all about this stuff…
– Welcome email
– Getting started email
– Here’s how others are successfully using it email
– Join our community email
– Etc etc.

felesiauxd
2017-02-16 01:53
What do you think of applications like “walk me?”

pjsherman
2017-02-16 01:53
And of course you point them to the Youtube / Vimeo channels

pjsherman
2017-02-16 01:53
@felesiauxd I actually haven’t played with it! You know what I’m doing tomorrow now.

pjsherman
2017-02-16 01:54
Hey here’s a great out-of-product example of lowering perceived cost of adoption…

felesiauxd
2017-02-16 01:54
@pjsherman: we lost that battle at work

hawk
2017-02-16 01:54
We have ~5 mins left in the session. Have we missed any questions?

pjsherman
2017-02-16 01:54
@pjsherman uploaded a file: Click to see image

hawk
2017-02-16 01:55
Ok, last call for questions before we cut Paul and his scotch loose

jakkii
2017-02-16 01:55
Hahaha. I have to head out – thanks @pjsherman & @hawk, and everyone for the interesting questions

pjsherman
2017-02-16 01:56
All, here’s the onboarding preso. It’s Keynote, so the videos will play.

pjsherman
2017-02-16 01:56

pjsherman
2017-02-16 01:56
If you want the pdf, ping me and I’ll send.

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