When we describe our favorite digital experiences, it is the primary functionality that comes to mind. On Facebook, we like keeping up with friends and family. On Instagram, we enjoy sharing and exploring photography. Your own elevator pitch likely focuses on similarly key bullet points. While this is the stuff that keeps users (and investors) coming back, there is some brief, but critical functionality each user must successfully navigate or else the total experience may be dead in the water.
First and foremost, users must get onboard.
Often overlooked by delivery teams and quickly forgotten by users, the first few steps a new user takes during a digital experience will long-affect their opinion of that product. Each required field, every tap and click demanded of the user, are barriers to be overcome. And, the user's willingness to work through it all is fleeting, at best.
As product designs vary, user on-boarding can range from seemingly non-existent to dangerously complex. Perhaps we track the user's browsing and serve up content relevant to that history - guiding the user down a path. Maybe we collect an email address and add the user to a sales-oriented email campaign track. Often, the first time a users installs and opens an app, we want to highlight no-so-obvious features and functions. Even established users need a bit of an update from time to time - tips and tricks and quick how-to's.
"Get onboard, user!" ...we (gently) encourage.
Since these non-primary experiences contribute to the overall experience, sometimes as an absolute barrier to core functionality (like, having to create an account before posting to Instagram), it is critical that your business gets it right. The product design and flow must be smart, simple and efficient. The instructions, clear and easy to follow. The tone and style supporting the brand and assuring the user that they are doing it right. And, ultimately, users must feel rewarded for the time and energy they've invested in just getting started with this stupid thing!