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 product trial experience.


Hero image for Nutanix

The Challenge

Enterprise products are feature rich, complex and optimized for power use. This experience is not ideal for potential customers who want to try out the product before they buy it. Elaborate setup is required before they see the value proposition of the product.

How do we design an experience that eliminates initial set-up barriers and ensures customer's success in a product trial?

Image: Working from home remote


Breaking down problem

I broke down the trial experience into 3 segments: pre-trial, in-product, post-trial. I met with the product leaders to define scope, understand team’s priorities and set expectations.

We decided to focus on the in-product trial experience because as it was most critical for the upcoming product launch.

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: 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.

My Role

I spearheaded this project with a senior designer. I collaborated with UX researcher, 2 PMs, engineering team, solution Architect during the duration of my internship.

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





Digging into data

Last year's data revealed some interesting stats about user behavior 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.





Competitor Analysis

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


Competitor Analysis

Insight icon Openshift used short tutorial to onboard users, provided step-by-step instructions. Platform9 provided easily accessible in-product help.


Trial users were finding it hard to navigate the product. They were confused about how to get started. The product help wasn’t easily accessible.
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 user-actions and user-context at various stages in customer's buying journey based on the interview data.

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 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

I started with onboarding experience as one of the pain points was lack of guidance.

The goal for onboarding was twofold:
(1) Emphasize value proposition of the product relevant to the user.
(2) Provide meaningful context quickly, as I found, users don't have much time.

I considered various options:
• Customize onboarding based on company or role information.
• Using a video or onboarding to provide context.
• Providing a tutorial or a catalogue of tutorials to get started.

Onboarding options

  • When users started the trial, I asked their role info to customize onboarding. But I avoided company information as it wasn’t necessary for customization.

  • Videos are a good way to educate customers on website, but I preferred customized onboarding screens to communicate value proposition within product, as video would delay them in getting started.

  • Tutorials are great way of providing initial guidance to new users (reasons covered in next section). I decided to highlight a couple of relevant tutorials to get started instead of a tutorial catalogue, which would overwhelm new users.



In-product guidance

Next I looked at in-product guidance, as I had discovered during usability tests that users were finding it hard to navigate the product.

The goal for in-product guidance was to help users navigate the product without hampering their exploration workflow.

I considered various options:
• Having short tutorials.
• Showing progress card on dashboard with main actions like LinkedIn.
• Using a popup to introduce a new section.
• Just opening up a new tab with documentation.

Guidance options

  • I decided to use self-paced tutorials as a way to help trial users navigate a product because I discovered sales team used short tutorials in workshops to educate new customers about a product which were very effective.

Tutorial options

  • I zeroed-in on two options, a floating panel with tutorial instructions and a WalkMe bubble that walks them through instructions one-by-one. I figured that both options accomplished 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 trial user, understand their goals and personalize onboarding, so they see what's relevant to them right from the start. No setup required.


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

We provide trial users required actions in dashboard so they are easy to find. Invite colleagues supports them in decision making during product evaluation.

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




Accomodating Distractions

As users work in distracted environments, ability to resume tutorial or set a reminder for a later time increases their chance of engaging with the product.

Reminder flow
Users can set a reminder for finishing up the tutorial based on their schedule

Designer's Dilemma– Ideal vs Practical

Mid-point during the internship, business strategy pivoted from it’s decided path. I was shocked to find that my designs were no longer achievable in the available time and resource constraints.

I was faced with a tough choice:
1. Push for the ideal solution understanding it can’t be shipped within deadline.
2. Ditch my ideal solution and work on MVP solution which can be easily shipped.

To resolve the dilemma, I worked double hard to develop the ideal product trial experience based on the user research and evaluation data. But subsequently, utilized my learnings to create a MVP version which could be shipped for the product launch.

Thus, I was able to show my vision to the leadership team at the same time help the them meet critical launch deadlines.✨

What I learned

  • It starts out fuzzy, but keep at it and focus on the process: I was flustered initially because of complex problem space. However, as I focussed on user research, understanding business context, clarity emerged. Staying laser-focussed on the user, trying to understand their needs, pain-points, motivations helped me bring tremendous value to the project.

  • Get into field, validate assumptions: When I started out, there were many unknowns. To be able to make informed decisions and validate assumptions, it was important to speak with the users. But I wasn’t confident if interviews were a stretch due to project timeline. Nevertheless, I decided to conduct them. In retrospect, they helped craft first personas and define user journey.

  • Involve stakeholders in the process: The business needs kept evolving over the course of my internship as the product was WIP. Regularly sharing my work with the leadership helped me think more strategically. In the end, I designed an ideal product trial experience based on the user research and evaluation data. Subsequently, utilized my learnings to create a MVP version which was shipped for the product launch.
Final Design Hero image

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