Onboarding Redesign


Project Type: Team, Pro Bono Client (Smartsheet)

My Role: UX Design and Usability Testing

Skills: User Interview, Wireframing, Prototyping

Tools: Axure RP



In this 3-week Pro Bono project, our team of 3 UX Designers partnered with to redesign the onboarding experience for their project management web app. 



The client approached us with a very specific and real problem to be solved: how to increase discoverability of key features for first-time users, in order to increase their conversion rate from trial to paid accounts. 



Our team designed a User-Guided Tutorial that helps first-time users build confidence in getting things done in Smartsheet.

" confidence in getting things done."

1. Discovery Phase

Through a round of Usability Testing, we gathered data and developed a Persona: Shane. 

I created a Journey Map to illustrate Shane's emotional ride through the onboarding experience, based on common behaviors observed from participants:

  • sign-up process was simple
  • template designed to help onboarding was easy to follow
  • welcome video or initial tips were not viewed
  • participants had difficulty finding and applying key features
  • some icons on the tool bar were confusing

Most importantly, Shane left the product with mixed feelings and will not be inclined to purchase a paid license before the trial expires (as suggested by the Peak-end rule).

"...Shane left the product with mixed feelings."

2. Design Phase

We started our design process with the following goals in mind:

We brainstormed our ideas and conducted a design studio to explore our options.

Then we built an interactive prototype of a user-guided tutorial that helps users learn the key features relevant to their context, at their own pace.

We redesigned the tool bar to help users distinguish similar looking icons. We also redesigned the IA and layout of the template categories page to help users explore their options more easily. 

"...interactive prototype of a user-guided tutorial."

3. Outcome

We conducted two rounds of usability testing to validate our design decisions. From a total of 10 participants, we confirmed that our solution:

  • increased discoverability of key features
  • increased learnability of key features
  • helped users develop confidence and commitment in the product
  • motivated users to explore more

Based on the Usability Testing results, we performed an Affinity Diagramming session, and created a NEW Journey Map for Shane.

We presented our findings and the design solution to our client, and proposed these next steps:

  • implement tutorial on live website
  • A/B test with real customers
  • validate effectiveness by tracking conversion rate

Try out the clickable prototype in Axure or view more project documentation in Dropox.