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Issue 18

Along with this week’s best UX links, I’m happy to have Samuel Hulick guest curate his favorite links on user onboarding. If you haven’t already, you can still enter for the chance to win a Rosenfeld Media book of your choice in this month’s UX Book Giveaway Contest. Enjoy the issue and have a great weekend,

— Kenny


My Approach to UI Design
Kieran Black goes through his tools, process, and workflow for designing interfaces.

8 UX Requirements for Designing a User-Friendly Homepage Carousel
Most homepage carousels don’t work well but they can if you follow these 8 key details that vary from desktop to mobile.

Figuring Out Your Design Decision Style
How does your team make design decisions? Jared Spool writes about different design decision styles and the impact of each.

The Communication Of The Future Is So Real You Can Touch It
Some really amazing technology that researches are prototyping could change the way we communicate and how we express ourselves remotely.

Design thinking, unboxed
7 design thinking principles liberated from design thinking methods and how they can be applied to different kinds of problems.

11 tips for prototyping with Sketch
I find myself using Sketch more and more. Here are a few tips that will help get you working faster, smarter, and more organized.

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User Onboarding by Samuel Hulick

How We Figured Out What Makes People Love Ghost 1,000% More
This post is the one I find myself recommending people read more often than any other. The premise is simple: pay attention to which user actions highly correlate with retention, and design your onboarding experience to get more people to do those things.

Kathy Sierra’s talk at Business of Software 2009
Speaking of things I wish more people would check out, this 1hr presentation has done more to inform my philosophy on designing software than any other. Highly, highly recommended!

Killer User Onboarding Starts with a Story
Of all the articles I’ve written, this one for the Intercom blog is probably the one that gets referenced the most. If you’re trying to figure out how to put yourself in the shoes of someone newly acquainting themselves with your product, this should be a great place to start.

Josh Elman: The Secrets to Driving Massive Growth
Josh Elman has led growth at some seriously huge, rapid-growth companies — Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook in particular. Here he breaks down his systematic approach to ensuring more new signups stick around and get a lot out of the products he’s worked on.

Extra Credits: Tutorials 101
There isn’t a lot of authoritative information out there on user onboarding — not yet, anyway. To inform my perspective, I’ve branched out into how other mediums handle similar problems, and this web series on video game design has been an absolute treasure trove.

How I Got My Mom to Play Through Plants vs. Zombies
Here’s another “new user” design approach in the video game world. I typically dislike it when people use “a mom” as lazy generic shorthand for an incompetent user, but in this case it literally was his mom who he got to complete the game. There are a lot of great points backed up with solid examples, as well.

How Help Scout Achieved A $300,000 Revenue Increase
Nick Francis does an awesome job talking about the value he got out of investing in user onboarding in this fun podcast episode. When optimizing trial-to-paid conversion rates, the numbers can get very attractive!

How Lumosity Spiked Active Users 10% with Complexity, Not Simplicity
And to close things out, let’s remember to pay close attention to the user behavior data as well! Slowing people down and having them answer a survey doesn’t sound like a direct path to more user engagement, but that’s exactly what Lumosity found when they put in a “temporary” onboarding survey.

Samuel Hulick is a UX Designer out of Portland passionate about User Onboarding. He posts teardowns of your favorite apps’ first run experience, wrote The Elements of User Onboarding and writes a lot on Medium.

Tools & Resources

UX Community on Slack
Join UXers from around the world to discuss user experience including a Q&A session with Jared Spool next Tuesday, January 20th at 8:00pm EST.

Pixate Free Plan
If you always wanted to try Pixate but didn’t want to subscribe or be on a trial, they just added a free plan. Also, check out Complex Interactions with Pixate for a short tutorial on how to get started.

A/B Testing for Designers
A simple way of receiving straight-forward feedback about your designs.

A collection of websites at the intersection of design / content / technology.


A Brief History of User Interface
Every day, people all over the world are clicking, tapping, typing, and touching and dragging things on glass screens. Our ability to use all this fancy technology with ease didn’t happen overnight.

Last But Not Least

Take a break from your work with a design game, random inspiration, or a funny video.

“A common mistake that people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools.”
— Douglas Adams

Thanks to this issue’s sponsors: