An Intro to Performance Management
After three years without an upgrade, I was tasked with redesigning the First Time User Experience (FTUE) for the BetterWorks product suite. The Betterworks suite includes modules like Goals, Plans, Feedback, and Conversations; with each of them constantly evolving to meet customer needs. In light of this, the FTUE (pronounced 'Fuh-Tu-ee' by our team) itself had to change rapidly. With that known, I decided to start by building a set of principles that will serve as a design guide for the FTUE moving forward. Below is the first version of the BetterWorks FTUE Guidelines based on both user testing and literature research.
BetterWorks First Time User Experience Guidelines
First Time User Experience is the initial guidance and setup of a software product that aims to quickly demonstrate value to the user. With the goal to build a large user base, the FTUE is an important stage in the sales/marketing funnel. A successful FTUE can increase overall user retention, feature engagement, and natural promotion, while reducing user disorientation.
Betterworks is a continuous performance management platform that helps companies and organizations reach operational excellence by promoting alignment and transparency of goals, progress, and feedback. As a web-based, enterprise performance management product, the Betterworks FTUE has a unique set of challenges to overcome including:
- Product Activation - How many modules does company X have activated?
- Product Adherence - Are users self motivated to use the software?
- Split First Time Visits - Did the user complete the FTUE in their first visit?
- New vs. Upgrading User - How much of the interface is actually new to the user?
- Onboarding Cycle - Is the user actually able to do something on their first visit?
- User Role and Hierarchy - Is the user an Individual Contributor or manager?
This set of guidelines are to be used by the product team to design and develop the FTUE for the evolving Betterworks product suite. It’s designed to be scalable, customizable and responsive to specific Betterworks program implementations.
Orientation, Identification, and Incorporation
Orienting the user immediately and progressively. From the initial touchpoint with Betterworks, the user is at a high level of disorientation. The FTUE should quickly begin to orient the purpose, form and function of the FTUE. By the time the user has reached the first product screen, their level of disorientation should be significantly reduced, freeing them to then identify with the product.
Identifying with the purpose of the product. For the user to consider incorporating betterworks into their lives they must first identify with it by connecting to the mission of the platform, seeing a need that can be met, and getting emotionally invested in the platform.
Incorporating Betterworks into their workflow. Reduce the friction for the user to complete their first admin generated task. Guide the user through their first use and address what the effects of their actions will be. Lean on the fact that we are digitizing a process that already exists, making it more efficient and transparent.
Forming a new habit
Connecting to an internal trigger. The product must first connect to the user’s internal goals and mission. This will get them to begin the cycle of habit forming.
Getting them to perform an action. Guide the user to perform a task in anticipation of a reward. When explaining a task they are about to start, talk about the effect of that action.
Rewarding them for their completion. Celebrate the completion of the action, its result, and its cascading effects in the team.
Getting them to invest in the product. On their first use, the user should invest in the platform in anticipation of a future benefit. For example, steer them to upload a profile picture by highlighting the social aspects of the product. As another example, uncover their desire to maintain a high level of performance among their peers.
Perpetuate the loop with internal and external triggers. Promote a good update cadence, by teaching the user to associate external triggers like time of year, project start/end, etc with features in the product.
FTUE Information Architecture
Modular architecture. Flexible to the particular Betterworks configuration as well as any user entry-point onto the BW platform (module). Should also recognize if introducing the entire product suite to a new user or a specific new feature. Or if the user’s first time is in the middle of an on-boarding cycle.
FTUE as a supporting role. It’s important to note that the user’s orientation to the product is constantly fluctuating both as they become oriented to the product as well as when the product itself evolves over time. FTUE elements assist in orienting the user to the product over time (the why), but only in a supporting role to the page descriptions and design of the features themselves (the ‘what’ and ‘how’). The ideal product needs no user manual.
Balancing depth and breadth of the BW suite. Different companies will activate between 2 and all of the betterworks product suite. After completing their first admin generated task, the user should gain a preview of the breadth of the product suite. In a progressive manner, the user will select a module to gain more in depth introduction - UI orientation and task tutorial.
Hide and recall. The FTUE generally presents itself over the UI of the product. As a result, it can be quite obstructing and distracting to the user’s goal of completing a task. The user should be able to terminate the FTUE flow as well as dismiss and recall it on demand.
The Golden Path
Action oriented. First use of betterworks will most likely be from an admin generated request to complete a specific task as part of a company or department wide cycle. The user wants to complete this task as soon as possible, so the FTUE should orient them to this particular module first until the task is completed.
Keep them on the rails. The FTUE is in a position to guide the user to magic moments that meet both the user’s internal values and Betterworks’ business goals. The FTUE should minimize the barrier to completing a task as soon as possible, directing their focus and keeping their attention on the on-boarding process.
Keep them moving down the funnel. The FTUE is an extension of the sales and marketing funnel, working to drive long-term engagement with the product. With emails and notifications, prompt the user to continue through the FTUE steps and learn about the breadth and depth of the product - making sure to maintain a cohesive story across channels, stages, and touch-points.
Balance competing priorities. With FTUE, there are competing agendas including: ease of first use vs the need of the user to unlock true value within platform, quality of user generated content vs user attrition, orientation quality (advanced features and customization) vs speed (completion time and pacing).