An Elegant Software Onboarding Experience
Dropbox is a platform which helps users sync files online and across computers. When I installed the software on my new PC, I was impressed by the simplicity and elegance of their software onboarding experience.
Many applications offer a choice immediately after setup — learn more or get started now. As someone who gets so excited about a new clothes that I’ve been known to wear them on the way out of the mall, you can imagine the likelihood that someone like me would opt for the “training” path if it delayed digging in and trying the software myself.
With Dropbox, however, users are plopped right into a simple “Getting Started” tour. You can opt out at that point, but the screen is concise, visual, and easy to understand. Besides, you immediately see that only 3 steps remain.
So I clicked through the short tour - and to my hard-headed surprise, I learned a few things about the software I’d been using for a couple of years.
Why would a software company bother with persuading users to partake in training?
It’s clear most users’ experiences with software would be enhanced if they took the time to participate in a short, easy-to-understand tutorial early — but does it really matter to the software company?
It should. When users understand how a software works, they are more satisfied (increasing positive word of mouth). They more likely to use the software (increasing loyalty). They probably trust more than even in the quality of your training materials (perhaps they’ll consider your paid training options?) And they are definitely less likely to call you for support (reducing service costs). So software companies have a financial stake in helping users understand how to use their products, even if the users are reluctant to dive into training.
For an example of elegant onboarding applied to a website, see Whitney Hess’ post about the onboarding experience at shine.com.
Have you come across a good software onboarding experience, or on the flip side, a bad one? Please share.