Design Digest: onboarding, feedback, search for ideas and decision making


    Onboarding is the process by which you introduce the user to your product.

    Most often, the onboarding is carried out in three ways:

    1. Before you let the user into the system, you show several screens in which you explain the essence of your service. Usually, this method is used in mobile applications when you are shown a picture and explanatory text. Yes, these are the screens that we scroll through, and then we try to figure out the interface on our own.

    2. You can step by step help the user to make the first steps. Basecamp on login proposes to create a first project, requesting a name, deadlines and documents. Pinterest offers to subscribe to interesting topics, and Apple Music to your favorite artists. Thus, a personalized tape is formed, and the product becomes closer to the new user.

    3. You may not use step-by-step scripts at all and, instead, give contextual hints on each screen. For example, when a user first enters the order page, you can point to key elements (order creation button, filters, list).

    All these actions teach the new user and involve him in the process of using the service. And, the better a new user is trained and involved, the less likely he is to leave.

    Search for ideas

    David Ogilvy believes that great ideas come from the subconscious, so in his book “On Advertising” he advises to periodically turn off the process of rational thinking.

    For example, go for a long walk, take a bath or drink a glass / glass of your favorite drink.

    But before you do this, you need to fill the brain with information about the task you are working on. Otherwise, you will receive ideas that are not related to the problem being solved.

    I have often noticed that ideas often come along the way to the store, in the shower or while reading. At these moments, a commotion begins in the head, in which different thoughts randomly appear. Some unite with others and make super ideas. The main thing - to have time to write them.

    That is why personal problems can interfere with career development, as they will distract from work tasks. Apparently, therefore, many leaders have selfish traits that make it possible not to pay attention to the feelings of other people and focus fully on professional tasks.

    To summarize, the search for creative ideas is carried out in three steps:

    1. Examine all the available information on the task before you.
    2. Take a break for any activity that does not require intellectual burden.
    3. Letting thoughts wander and watch out for new ideas.

    Emergency exit

    You cannot predict all the course of events, but you can make your product less fragile to unforeseen circumstances. (Lovers of Nassim Taleb might have noticed the concept of Anti-fragility in these words).

    In my current project, taking any serious decision, for example, choosing a platform, we ask the question:

    “What will we do if the chosen decision is wrong?”

    This question helps to foresee all possible events and prepare an action plan in case of failure.

    For example, if we make a mistake with choosing a platform, how difficult will it be to switch to another? If this action does not cause difficulties, then the cost of the error is not so high and you can take a chance by betting on the speed of development. In the opposite case, it is better to think well, but find a more flexible solution.

    The essence of the designer

    The key idea of ​​the book “Design of familiar things” is quite simple, but it is very important for understanding not only designers, but all people:

    If a person does not understand how a thing or interface works, then the designer, not the person, is to blame.

    At the same time, an excellent design is difficult to notice, because it is thought out so well that you perform your tasks without being distracted by learning the interface.

    According to Donald Norman, the designer’s job is this:

    “Designers must create things that satisfy people's needs, are functional and yet are understandable and useful. These things should bring people emotional satisfaction, arouse pride and delight. In other words, the design should be considered as some kind of cumulative experience. ”

    Interface Feedback

    The user must understand the state of the interface and its essence. This may be displayed in the form of statuses (“order on the way”) or download spinners (“letter is sent”).

    In addition, you should not throw the user after the perfect action. Offer him options for continuing work (for example, to create another letter or go to the "inbox") or, at least, show that the action was successful ("the letter has been sent", "the order has been created").

    Having created a high-quality feedback interface, the user will feel that everything is under control. This creates trust and loyalty to the product.


    All modern ATMs, before giving out the money, are intrusively asked to pick up the card. Thus, they minimize the likelihood that you, taking the money, leave without it. (You can hardly forget the money, since it was the purpose of your visit.)

    A similar example is the restriction that does not allow for one action (to take money) until another is done (to remove the card).

    In digital interfaces, such restrictions are no less useful. In the service on which I work, we do not allow the user to the basic functions until we check his documents. Using this limitation, we increase the security of the system.

    Delete and Cancel

    Often, the user does not click the “delete” button by mistake. Usually, this action is intentional. The problem is that he can choose the wrong object, because of which the most important information will be lost. In this case, the interface obediently (and irrevocably) performs the user action, but will it be considered good? Looks like no.

    So what to do?

    A good option would be to delete the object immediately, but at the same time, provide the ability to undo the action. In this case, the user will understand whether the object he needs is deleted and, in case of an error, will be able to quickly restore it. This will remove items in Google services (Keep, Docs, Gmail).

    But there is one detail.

    This practice works well when you interact with zeros and ones (for example, delete a letter or note). But when a real person is on the other side of the interface, this decision will be erroneous. Imagine what the taxi driver will think (and the system) if you cancel the order and after a few seconds activate it again.

    Therefore, when a real person is on the other side of the interface, the best option would be to ask for confirmation before making a cancellation or deletion.

    Evolve or die

    Over the past year I have become easier to relate to the moments when I don’t know something and focus more on the method that allows me to show that I was right or wrong.

    The method is simple: action + time = feedback
    After that: analysis of results + conclusions = knowledge

    After all, it is impossible to know in advance exactly how users will behave, what problems will arise during development or what will happen to the market. It is much more important to show your work as early as possible, test different hypotheses and draw conclusions based on feedback.

    Therefore, instead of pretending that I know everything or building naive guesses, I would prefer to go in search of truth to the real world and listen with joy to its feedback, whatever it is.

    Only so appears practical experience and expertise. Only in this way we grow.

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