TL;DR Give your users the best first-time experience (FTX) they deserve.

There are no shortcuts to a great FTX — it’s hard work which doesn’t end but pays off in the end.

People don’t buy products, they buy better versions of themselves - Samuel Hulick

I’ve heard people talk about how first-time user experience (FTX) is the key to any successful product — something which can pivot a product towards adoption or failure. Yet, many start-ups fail to invest the necessary time and effort into creating a great FTX. According to the Andrew Chen research:

The average app loses 77% of its daily active users within the first 3 days post-install

Gone are the days when we received instruction booklets with complex digital products. It is time this thin-sheet-instruction-thinking evolve with this new age of digital products.

As Simple As Possible

It is the designer’s objective to keep the product simple and self explanatory. Users have limited time, which they are ready to sacrifice to learn how the product works before actually thinking of deriving value out of it.

Usability > Aesthetics
When are your users dropping off?

Feature Thinking to Design Thinking

In this rush-rush planet of apps, every product wants to own that tiny real estate on users’ device — trying to sell the product features to the users burning a huge amount of cash on Marketing and PR.

Trying harder & harder to pull the users into the vortex, instead of showing them how it actually improves their life.

You’ve got a better chance of increasing the number of retained users by focusing on what user do with your product than you do at getting something, which no one wants to ever give your product: a second chance.

Communicate with your user and describe the attributes of the superpower; you empower your user with.

Designing a Great First Time User Experience

At 1THING, we look at first-time experience as a key ingredient to building a great product. FTX isn’t just another brick in the wall. FTX needs to be taken seriously; it can either make or break your business. The emphasis shouldn’t just be on generating user footprint on the app or familiarizing them with the product, but to help them realize the purpose of the product and that it helps achieve the user’s goal in simple & easy way.

Case in Point: MilkBasket

MilkBasket, a prepaid subscription-based every-day grocery product, which currently operates in Gurgaon, is solving a crucial problem with a mission to change the way India orders for every-day grocery online.

As a user, you want milk & other products every day. So, with MilkBasket you place a recurring order once & get it delivered at your home everyday without even opening the app. In case you require anything extra in the morning - add it to the basket and its home, the next morning; without any need of checkout — all payments are prepaid.

It’s an amazing product, but something was missing; especially for those, to who it failed to communicate its value. There were no introductory screens and nowhere was the product telling its users about its unique selling point (USP) which made it amazing in the first place. A direct sign-up screen was just creating too much friction in the user’s journey. We were just sending the users for swimming in the ocean, without them even understanding how to.

MilkBasket itself found that users are placing good number of orders but just like any other grocery product out there — missing the whole value proposition of placing a prepaid recurring order once. If you look at the numbers, it is a big problem -

100 regular orders =100 orders

1 recurring order = 7 orders (assumption on the lower side)

If MilkBasket converts, let’s say, 20% of its orders into recurring orders, the total number of orders can go up to 220 for every 100 orders (80+20*7). See! that’s where the problem lies.

Fortunately, Divanshu Thakral, Cofounder of 1THING met with Ashish Goel, Cofounder of MilkBasket to explore possible synergies where this question was raised -

Why aren’t the users able to derive the greater value from our product?

It is a good question & put us to thinking but the real question, which formed the very basis for the 10-day Design Sprint 1THING did with MilkBasket, is this -

Do users even know the greater value of your product?

Sprint map was laid out, right design team was brought onboard — handpicked from the 1THING Design Network of top design talent with an objective to communicate MilkBasket’s superpowers: Recurring orders and Prepaid Payment, to the new users at the very beginning of their journey.

The initial brainstorming sessions & user-research led to the conclusion that two factors needed immediate attention for a great FTX of MilkBasket:

  • On Boarding
  • First Order

New MilkBasket: On boarding users the way they think

Ask for the right information at the right time

I’ve seen a lot of products following the practice of requesting for sign-up information at the every first interaction. For someone like Uber or the practice is justified by the enormous word-of-mouth these products have — users can easily trust them. On the other hand, for startups whose products are just coming of age, like MilkBasket, the same practice can greatly affect the user adoption.

Users want to see how they will gain value from an app (their superpowers) before they are willing to give out their name, email, money etc. and that is why asking for the right set of information and permissions at the right time is essential.

Explaining too many superpowers too quickly creates a cognitive overload for the users.

That’s the reason why our go-to strategy to tackle this problem, had a BIG NO to feature-based on boarding.

1/ QnA based on boarding

An interactive, conversational way of letting the users learn what MilkBasket has to offer (the way the user thinks). Each answer has associated explanation to how the user may go on about using the app.

MilkBasket’s New Onboarding

Thinking that all a user needs is a simple on boarding is an anti-structure. Instead, we need to hold the user’s hand and guide them through learning our app’s lexicon, and that’s what our intent was with a QnA-based on boarding.

Still any dubious superheroes out there?

The user is bound to make mistakes, particularly when they have to take long steps for registration. Our redesign of the signup process enabled the user to take baby steps. In spite of the fact that there was an increase in a number of steps the user had to cross to signup, we were able to ask them to put in their complete address, verify their number and set a PIN.

“It doesn’t matter how many times I have to click, as long as each click is a mindless, unambiguous choice.”
Steve Krug, Don’t Make Me Think

2/ One password for entire family

In the redesign, we established a firm belief that users of MilkBasket shouldn’t have the burden to remember another password. Thus, a 4 Digit PIN was introduced, so that everybody in a family can login using the same without ever having to exchange long passwords. To double up our chances of successful registration we provided a fail-safe option of ‘Sign up with OTP’ option as well.

New MilkBasket: Be a good guide

A user journey of a product is more of emotional highs and lows. A great on boarding doesn’t mean your work is done. When users (customer or users) starts using your app, they’re making some kind of investment — maybe time, financial, or the space in their brain filled with your app’s instructions. MilkBasket’s gentle and informative on boarding didn’t mean the user was ready for making purchases.

Suggested User Flow

3/ Try Demo Initiative

which instigates a bird’s eye view of the purchase process of MilkBasket, resulting with the knowledge of the wallet top-up feature.

Remember that time from Spider-Man (2002) when he was just discovering his superpowers and then smashed into a billboard? Well, this is it.
A guided demo is the closest thing to a sales person explaining the virtues, features, and functions of an app to a user.
Try Demo Flow Wireframes

For us the process of building a seamless checkout was just as important as the registration process; for that, we needed to tweak the payments process. Instead of adding the money to the wallet after the selection of the products, we pushed the users to engrave that trust in us, with their money by wallet top-up (just after the Demo).

Pushing the users to add money to their wallet up-front would enable them to:

  • Friction-less checkout since there is no need to add payment details after every checkout
  • Depend highly on MilkBasket’s subscription-based model
  • Forget the hassle of early morning payments

Keep Them Coming Back

While we are done with the crucial part of getting the customers to solve a real problem, unfortunately, you can’t stop there. We have to make sure that users know everything about the super power they possess.

To keep your users coming back, you have to show them how else can your product make their lives better.

Hope you found this article helpful.

We’ll be back to talk more about the insights — understand what benchmarks or KPIs are set, in order to evaluate the success and capture the expectations of this redesign.