Hacker News new | comments | show | ask | jobs | submit login
Web Apps Onboarding: How to Treat Your New Users (kera.io)
35 points by taigeair on Jan 21, 2013 | hide | past | web | favorite | 11 comments



Relevant: patio11 made a 45 minute video about improving software's first-run experience which I found very useful. I cannot recommend it strongly enough.

You can get it by signing up here: https://training.kalzumeus.com/


Thanks! Will take a look.


Meh, I really don't like the "Virtuous Cycle of Web Applications" [1]. It claims that retaining users amounts to doping them up every now and then with a "new functionality" to excite them and get them to use it again. Basically, feature spam.

This is a novelty approach, and it has no longevity. It doesn't last, and those aren't the users you want anyway. The webapps I use the most are the ones that actually offer something valuable to me. This sort of value is timeless. Google Docs is the first thing that comes to mind. I open Docs all the time on my own accord. Google don't whore themselves out with shiny new features because they don't have to. They wrote good software. It's a useful product.

I could see this strategy being more valid with web games, but as long as your webapp is a utility there's no dopamine burst you need provide users. Just help them get something accomplished and they'll be back.

[1] http://media.tumblr.com/600e20abfacc231409d9a715fd985b86/tum...


What about when Gmail moved to the new compose format? They totally did an overlay style walkthrough to get existing users accustomed to it.

Doesn't that undermine your argument and example?


No, it didn't convince me to keep using Gmail. It was a change I embraced, but I don't use Gmail anticipating what they're going to introduce next.


You need to add new features to survive. Look at Writely before and what Google docs is now. There's been a lot of new improvement, especially in google spreadsheets.

I didn't mean it was "new functionality" every week like spam, but over time. That's the beauty of Labs for gmail.

What apps do you see that don't introduce new functionality to users over time that is successful?


New functionality is great, but your flow chart implies the user uses your app because they got excited because you introduced a new feature. This shouldn't be the driving force behind users visiting your app. That's all I'm saying.

I suppose during onboarding this is actually more important, at least until the point where the user decides "okay, I like this." I may have misunderstood the point. I just hate feature-focused development.


I really don't like the "Virtuous Cycle of Web Applications" [1]. It claims that retaining users amounts to doping them up every now and then with a "new functionality" to excite them and get them to use it again. Basically, feature spam.

Perhaps you're reading more into it than the article actually said?

Another perspective would be that shoving every last feature in your new user's face on day one might be overwhelming and thus counter-productive. If you have a lot of functionality to offer, it might be better to start with the basics, and then adaptively introduce more functionality -- starting with the most relevant -- until the user is fully up to speed.


I love this term in general (on-boarding) and I love these overlays. Unless your UI is so simple it can explain itself these walk throughs can be very handy. Good stuff.


The entire article can be summarized as: "depending on your user base you may or may not benefit from tutorials". I was expecting to see practical advice, and came away disappointed.


That's in the next post...




Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact

Search: