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.

We decided that focussing on the in-product experience during a trial is of critical importance for the product launch.

Image: My internship focus
Breaking down problem statement helped me narrow down the problem scope, and bring clarity to what I should be focussing on during my internship.
Hero image for Nutanix

The Challenge

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.

How do we optimize the product experience of a feature rich, complex enterprise product for trial users?

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.

Image: Working from home remote

My Role

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.

Based on my research findings, I also drove convergence of different stakeholders for MVP trial designs to be shipped for product launch.

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Phase 1

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.


Xi Iot User Journey
Existing trial user journey


Insight icon Users explored product randomly because there was no guidance. And important options like help were buried deep in navigation.





Competitor Analysis

Benchmarked direct and indirect competitors across sign-up, in-product trial and purchase phase against the existing trial experience.


Competitor Analysis
Openshift didn't require sign-up for trial while Platform9 had in-product help easily accessible


Insight icon 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.


Image: Data analytics of Trial

Insight icon 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?
Phase 2

User Research


Interviews

To probe deeper into needs of trial users, I collaborated with a UX researcher and interviewed 7 potential customers across 6 continents.


Customer locations
I interviewed customers across 6 continents to understand their needs during a product trial



User Personas

Based on interviews I developed 2 personas to highlight the trends in the data.

Personas


Insight icon In small orgs, users look for feature-set rather than UI. Their job responsiblities overlap. To learn more, they prefer documentation.

Insight icon In organization with large teams, users look for simple UI so they don’t spend time training employees who administer the platform.


Buyer Journey

I mapped typical actions customers take in their buying journey from the interviews.

Images: Buyer actions

Insight icon 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?
Phase 3

Divergence and Evaluation


Onboarding

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?

Onboarding options
  • 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.

Onboarding options
  • 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.

Onboarding options
  • I decided to highlight important workflows to get started because not finding a business use-case would risk dropping-out early in the onboarding.

Onboarding options
  • I decided to give users option to get started with customized tutorials instead of a catalogue of tutorials which would overwhelm them.



In-product guidance

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.

Guidance options

  • 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.

Tutorial options

  • I zeroed-in on two options, a floating panel which shows them tutorial instructions and a WalkMe bubble that walks them by through the instructions. I figured that both approaches accomplish the required goals. And so, I was stuck.


Evaluation

To resolve the conflict, I prototyped a sample tutorial in both the approaches and conducted a within-subjects study with 7 users.


Image: User feedback

Feedback graph
Participants found Panel approach more helpful because of it's flexiblity and ability to provide over-arching context...
Phase 4

Final Designs


Personalize and Onboard

Know the user coming to the platform, understand their goals and personalize onboarding, so they see what's relevant to them right from the start.


Onboard

Onboarding flow
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 delight with rewards for accomplishing tasks to make them feel good about themselves.


Guide and delight

Tutorial flow
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 invite colleagues during product evaluation.

Inviting flow
Users can invite their collegues with one-click. This greatly supports them in decision making




Accomodating Distractions

Ability to resume tutorial or set a reminder for a later time when they have open schedule can increase their chances of engaging with the product.

Reminder flow
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.
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