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User Interface Design, Phase 1: “Onboarding”

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You’ve probably heard the expression “get to know me” in various contexts–from to the hilarious SNL skit featuring comedian Jon Lovitz to the popular tag on Tumblr. But for serious user interface/user experience designers, a consumer’s first impression of a product or service is no laughing matter. This critical phase of engagement, also known as “onboarding” in UI/UX parlance, may determine whether a user adopts or a product flops.

Last night Think Brownstone hosted its inaugural UX Happy Hour featuring a talk by user experience designer Henken Bean called the Principles of Onboarding. Henken used the Think Space to provide case studies from successful companies such as Google, Amazon, and Nintendo, as well as anecdotes from her work developing a new onboarding experience for Comcast which considers the psychological and emotional response of new customers. The free-flow of ideas during the subsequent Q&A (along with the flow of free beer) provided for some fascinating discussions about the “virtual conversation” that takes place between designers and their customers.

Which companies or products do you think get onboarding right (or wrong)? Feel free to provide examples in the comments section below, as well as suggestions for future UX Happy Hour topics. Cheers!

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