Helping “Bandsintown” hit the right notes: Onboarding & Analysis

Topline Summary:

Value proposition is initially unclear to users because of lengthy credential requests and muddled product communication.

  • Suggestion: Communicate product value and purpose immediately, limit contact and identification requests from the user.

Onboarding process was so long that users quickly were tired and lost interest in the product.

  • Suggestion: Demonstrate application utility by shortening onboarding process and proving value to the user earlier.

Cognitive load high and user focus lost among bloated, busy ending onboarding screens.

  • Suggestion: Reduce user frustration and increase comprehension by eliminating all but the most essential tools in the onboarding process.

Project Overview

Bandsintown is a currently existing application that is supposed to notify users when their favorite muscial artists and bands are playing shows in their cities, so that fans can make sure they don’t miss out on shows and artists they like. With such a simple premise, I decided to come up with a task list to test users’ opinions and feelings about the onboarding process to assess the effectiveness of the app when first encountered by a potential user.

Task List

I wanted to keep the list simple but still get key feedback about Bandsintown’s onboarding process. Therefore, I instructed 5 guerilla test users to:

  1. Locate and download the app in the app store
  2. Launch the app
  3. Register for the app as a new user
  4. Utilize the app to find one band they liked

Additional notes:

  • User quotes are featured below the following screen mocks.
  • This analysis is focused on the in-app onboarding experience. Any information found in the app store or elsewhere isn’t considered relevant here for the in-app user’s journey.

“What will this app let me do?”

Introductory Screens:

  • App logo doesn’t communicate meaning or purpose of the app.
  • Image is unfocused and isn’t pertinent to any kind of notification service.
  • Value proposition isn’t relevant to app function.

“This is taking more time than I thought”

Login Screen:

  • E-mail login is simple, but the user doesn’t know what they are really logging in for.
  • Opportuity to allow additional simple login formats (Twitter, Instagram).

“Didn’t I already do this once?”

Music selection login:

  • No value is delivered before user is asked question of significant cognitive load
  • User isn’t really sure what the app fully does, so there is hesitancy before wanting to grant any additional permissions besides e-mail.
  • Onboarding process is lengthened both in work for the user and time consumed.

“When do I start finding bands that I listen to?”

Contact pages:

  • User is prompted to connect personal contacts which deliver no value to the app function
  • Without any feeling of reliability, user doesn’t have much motivation to trust the app with personal contacts.
  • Annoying notification about tracking “at least 10 artists” to start rather than letting user increase functionality later.
  • Value and role of the app is still delayed.

“When do I get to start using it?”

Final Screens:

  • Final screens are information overload and don’t manage user’s preferences in a logical way
  • While there are allusions to “artist tracking”, there is still not an effective screen detailing the role of the app: to notify a user when an artist s/he likes is performing in close geographic proximity.
  • No sense of information architecture or navigation flow.

Test Observations & Suggestions


  • Users were frequently unsure of what exactly the app would allow them to do.
  • The lengthy onboarding process grew tedious and testers wanted to quit because they didn’t see the value.
  • Some of the onboarding procedures seemed bloated and extraneous to the nature of the product.
  • Users didn’t want to give up their login and contact information when they weren’t even sure of the app’s value.
  • Extreme cognitive overload in the end of onboarding did not result in positive or enthusiastic feelings as the process finally finished.


  • Clear value proposition
  • Reduce bloating of the onboarding and allow a simple credential sign in.
  • Change the branding so there is a clearer representation of the app’s purpose.
  • Eliminate overwhelming cognitive load screens at the end of onboarding and present a guided, simple tutorial on using the app.

Despite the potential value offered by “Bandsintown”, the cumbersome and lengthy onboarding experience prevents the app from reaching its full audience. With such a simple and obvious premise, the purpose of the app should be immediately clear to the user and the barriers to experiencing its value extremely low. When these criteria are met, I believe the user experience afforded by “Bandsintown” will be far more pleasurable and dramatically expand the app’s user base.

I am not directly affiliated with “Bandsintown” but I’m very passionate about UX and music. You can visit me at and follow me on twitter @nicholasjreis.