Mobile App Product Onboarding | Startup Client
Optimizing a Mobile App Onboarding & Account Creation Process
How might we design a user experience and interaction patterns that enhance engagement and facilitate user conversion?
Redesigning a mobile app onboarding and account creation experience by eliminating barriers to entry and implementing a fluid, holistic approach to engaging and converting new users.
Scenario & Background
Reserve was a restaurant technology startup with a connected ecosystem of B2B and B2C technology products that facilitated a two-way communication network - allowing for real-time demand for a reservations to be disseminated from consumers directly to restaurants.
During beta and early release, Reserve’s app onboarding process was set-up as a roadblock - requiring a user to signup for an account and enter payment information before gaining access to the core functionality of the app. This configuration provided a means by which to throttle and control user growth at a point when the infrastructure was ready for an influx of inbound traffic.
Unfortunately, due to stretched resources, this configuration persisted long after the initial release and, as the app gained more traffic and users, app analytics began to reflect a significant drop-off (%) in user conversion after downloading the app. Some immediately disengaged upon opening the app for the first time, while others engaged the account creation process but gave up part of the way through - resulting in the loss of potential user conversion at a critical point in the company’s growth cycle.
The ask for this project was to remove the existing onboarding roadblock from the Reserve consumer app and design a new system that significantly reduced the drop-off (%) in conversion from app download to Reserve user.
KPI’s that would determine success included (1.) The overall conversion % (App download to a Reserve User with a confirmed reservation), and (2.) User drop-off % during the account creation process.
Reserve was a startup with big goals, a lean team and limited resources. I was the design lead on this project and responsible for leading planning, research and design from the ideation phase through to development and launch. I collaborated with an additional designer and researcher at various points during the initial ideation and validation phase of the project. Additionally, I consulted and collaborated with the CPO, VP of Design, CEO, COO, and CTO throughout the lifecycle of the project to foster inclusion, generate ideas, and facilitate progress and decision making.
My Role & Contribution
As the design lead on this project, I was responsible for leading, coordinating, and/or facilitating all aspects of design definition, design execution, and product management for this feature.
Design Definition Activities
Included collaborating with business and technology stakeholders to define feature requirements, KPI's, & goals, coordinating user research and discovery, and organizing collaborative ideation activities with designers and stakeholders.
Design Execution Activities
Included the definition and/or facilitation of system architecture, key flows and interactions, iterative wireframe design, the planning and coordination of online user testing sessions, user interface & visual design, and the creation of developer specifications & documentation.
Product Management Activities
Included the definition of project timelines & milestones, defining requirements & mapping corresponding user stories, setting and maintaining the cadence of design sprints, facilitating stakeholder discussion & decision making, and collaborating with development team through development, QA, design reviews & launch.
Process & Deliverables
The final output of this project was a holistic mobile app onboarding experience that engineered to engage the user seamlessly within the context of their experience interacting with, and extracting value, from the Reserve product.
The architecture, flows, and screen design were heavily influenced by users insights derived from direct observation, conversations, and data analysis. This research informed our designs, allowing us to empathize with our users needs and structure moments and language that spoke to their needs and desires at different moments of interaction
Phase 1: Discovery, Analysis, & Planning
Analyzing the existing experience
Gathering user insights & feedback
Defining a set of guiding design principles
Finalize the scope of the project and defining a timeline
Phase 2: Design & Concept Explorations
Iterative concept exploration and design
Presenting our concepts to stakeholders
Phase 3: Testing, Validation, & Iteration
Iterating our design based on insights derived from user observation & feedback
Phase 4: Detailed Interaction & Visual Design
Detailed interaction design and documentation
Finalizing the visual design of the user interface
Outcomes, Learnings, and Takeaways
By capitalizing on a user’s active intent and prompting account creation at the right time, the redesigned onboarding experience delivered on the KPI's desired over the first 3 months after launch. One metric that was clear evidence of the positive impact of the redesign was a significant reduction in the drop-off (%) during the account creation process.
Learnings & Takeaways:
Acknowledging a user’s active intent will increase conversion
Taking the time to assess and understand the context, intent, and expectations of your user while they are interacting with your product, then aligning your offer/delivery of value with these expectations is imperative to driving user conversion and loyalty
Managing a user’s perception of effort is important
The level of effort a user is willing to put into completing an action or a task is directly correlated to the value they expect to extract from a product or system. By consciously designing our features and functionality such as sign-up flows in a way that decreases the perception of effort, we can decrease user churn and frustration.
Getting creative with research and testing techniques yields interesting results
Getting creative with how you test and what criteria you are using to measure feedback will often yield interesting and unexpected findings that result in a team thinking in a new context, often challenging their own assumptions.
New functionality and features should not always be the priority
Although is not always easy or desirable to take a step back and reevaluate a feature or functionality that has been designed and developed, especially at a startup with limited resources, taking the time to evaluate how tweaks to your existing feature set can yield value should be prioritized before building out something new.
Want to know more?
An in-depth case study of the design process & deliverables for this project is available on Behance.