In 2019, Nutanix (B2B cloud computing firm) made a massive shift from traditional term-based contract pricing to subscription-based pricing. Their customer acquisition strategy changed from cold-calling customers to offering self-serving product trials.
I was tasked with the critical responsiblity of reimagining their trial experience, from scratch.
Breaking down problem
Designing a complete trial experience has wide scope, right from when user signs-up until he buys a subscription. To design a meaningful experience I broke it down into 3 segments. I met with product & executive leaders to understand team’s priorities and set expectations.
Breaking down problem statement helped me narrow down the problem scope, and bring clarity to what I should be focussing on during my internship.
Self-serving product trials can be the quickest way to show value proposition to a potential customer. However, often enterprise products are feature rich, complex and optimized for power use.
Project's high-level goals were to:
1. Help new users understand the product.
2. Show value proposition of the platform quickly.
3. Provide support to help them make a purchase decision.
I spearheaded this project with a senior designer. I collaborated with UX researcher, 2 PMs, Engineering team, Solution Architect to design the complete trial experience.
Starting with what exists
Existing trial experience
To understand what worked in existing trial, I conducted usability tests with 3 participants. I discovered major usability issues in the current experience.
Existing trial user journey
Users explored product randomly because there was no guidance. And important options like help were buried deep in navigation.
Benchmarked direct and indirect competitors across sign-up, in-product trial and purchase phase against the existing trial experience.
Openshift didn't require sign-up for trial while Platform9 had in-product help easily accessible
Openshift used tutorial with sample content to onboard users. Successsful deployment prompted users to explore product further.
Digging into data
Analysed last year's data to gather more insights into user behaviors in a trial.
On an average, users spent less than 11 minutes in a trial after they first logged in.
In such a limited time, how do we show users the value of the product in the first 10 minutes of the trial?
To probe deeper into needs of trial users, I collaborated with a UX researcher and interviewed 7 potential customers across 6 continents.
I interviewed customers across 6 continents to understand their needs during a product trial
Based on interviews I developed 2 personas to highlight the trends in the data.
In small orgs, users look for feature-set rather than UI. Their job responsiblities overlap. To learn more, they prefer documentation.
In organization with large teams, users look for simple UI so they don’t spend time training employees who administer the platform.
I mapped typical actions customers take in their buying journey from the interviews.
Users collaborate with colleagues to evaluate a product. Require buy-in from multiple teams. Often have other priority items on list.
Users are collaborate to evaluate a platform, they are distracted, they don't have much time, how do I optimise trial for these constraints?
Divergence and Evaluation
The goal for onboarding was to provide users meaningful context to help them get started as fast as possible.
I considered various options:
• Using user info like company or role upfront to customize the onboarding?
• Having a video shown up upfront or onboarding screens?
• Giving them 3 tutorials or providing them catalogue of tutorials?
I decided to ask role information so users can be taken to the relevant section in the product right away. This feature was shipped as part of MVP. I decided not to start a video, because it would delay users in getting started with the product. Instead, I used onboarding screens to provide context. I decided to highlight important workflows to get started because not finding a business use-case would risk dropping-out early in the onboarding. I decided to give users option to get started with customized tutorials instead of a catalogue of tutorials which would overwhelm them.
The goal for in-product guidance was to help users understand the product without hampering their exploration workflow.
• I considered having short tutorials.
• Showing them a progress card on dashboard with main actions like LinkedIn.
• Using a popup to introduce a section.
• Just opening up a new tab with documentation.
I decided to use self-paced tutorials as a way to educate trial users because I discovered sales team used the same approach in workshops to teach new customers about a product which was very effective.
- I zeroed-in on two options,
a floating panelwhich shows them tutorial instructions and a WalkMe bubblethat walks them by through the instructions. I figured that both approaches accomplish the required goals.And so, I was stuck.
To resolve the conflict, I prototyped a sample tutorial in both the approaches and conducted a within-subjects study with 7 users.
Participants found Panel approach more helpful because of it's flexiblity and ability to provide over-arching context...
Personalize and Onboard
Know the user coming to the platform, understand their goals and
Based on user's job profile we personalise the onboarding screens and tutorial
Guide and Delight
We guide the user through a short tutorial with pre-deployed setup and
We greet people with name, delight them rewards thereby increasing chances of engagement
Facilitate and Empower
For those who skip the tutorial, we provide them required actions in dashboard Intellicard. We provide them way to
Users can invite their collegues with one-click. This greatly supports them in decision making
Users can set a reminder for finishing up the tutorial based on their schedule
What I learned
- It starts out fuzzy, but keep at it and focus on the process: I was flustered initially because the problem space was technically challenging. However, as I started breaking down the problem, collect data, meeting PMs and leaders in the team to understand the business context, clarity started to emerge. One of the things that helped me throughout the internship was to stay laser-focussed on the user. Trying to understand their needs, pain-points, motivations helped me add tremendous value to the project.
- Get into field, validate assumptions: When I started out with the project, there were many unknowns. And to be able to make informed decisions, it is important to get into the field and speak with real people. I was skeptical about my decision to conduct user study initially, because of the tight internship timeline. However in retrospect, it was probably the best decision that added immense value to the quantitative data and defined future direction of the project.
- Involve stakeholders in the process: When I joined Nutanix, the product was being still being built. Over the course of my internship the business needs kept evolving as new factors of cost, feature, timeline came into consideration. One of the things that helped me to stay updated with the latest business decisions was to share my progress and findings with the stakeholders regularly. This not only helped me to figure where my findings make most sense but also create designs that accommodated evolving business needs.