Behavioral product strategist and gamification designer. This is my public hypertext notebook, sharing my thinking in motion at various stages of development.


The hard problem of onboarding horizontal products

In order to successfully onboard a Horizontal product, we need to deliver an experience that is initially meaningful to groups of people who understand and care about different things.

There are individual differences between new users in their initial user goals and People start using an app with different prior skill levels. This makes it difficult to Speak to the user with a shared vocabulary because there is no single user group to speak to. The Upfront onboarding needs to teach the user how to speak the basic language of the app in a way that makes sense to the user and gives them a solid starting point to learn through exploration.

This points towards the need for an intentional approach to individual differences. I design for successful goal achievement and playstyles that are appropriate for the user.

In order to successfully onboard a horizontal product, we need to increase their skill over time to keep up with their changing goals.

New users do not yet have the vocabulary to understand the app, but as User skill level increases over time, so does their vocabulary. They are able to conceptualize and express desires that they couldn’t express before, so User goals change over time. This points towards the need for a Continuous onboarding that progressively reveals information as the user develops so they are always becoming more effective users. Even through behavioral tracking, it can be challenging for the app to recognize exactly what the user wants to learn at any given point. This means that there has to be a solid framework for exploratory search, where the user can find what they are looking for on their own or with the help of other users.