You don’t get a second chance to make a good first impression. The same applies to the potential customers. Since you have done all the hard work to bring users to check out your application, why not make it a bit more sticky.

Here are a few learnings, tips based on my experiences in designing applications in the previous job and what we have been learning and implementing at ChargeBee.

Honestly, it is hard to get it right first time. It takes multiple iterations before you get the design right.

Here are some of the typical challenges & suggestions for design:

1. How do you remove barriers to entry into your app?

Remove the barriers for users to signup including verification of email id. Use the email id as login as much as possible without asking for a unique id for your app.Allow the user to experience the app immediately after signing up. Do not make the user to verify email and then login again.

Some apps do not even ask users to retype password while creating it. You can always allow them to reset password if they forget it. Stripe has implemented this very well. When you click signup link, they just take you inside the application without having to provide the email id and password. Later, you can save the account details before navigating out of the app. There is a risk of not capturing user info upfront here, but if you have a compelling product you may not have to worry about it.

Bottom line: Just make it as easy as possible for users to get into your app with minimal information.

2. How do you show all the features of your application to a first time user?

Populate your application with sample data to make all functionalities in your app work. For example, if you have reports as a key value proposition, ensure you have enough data to “wow” your customers when they sign up.

  • Generally some businesses create a separate demo account to show their product capabilities. Problem is, visitors end up filling it up lots of junk data. If you make it read-only, it defeats the purpose of letting the users to enter their own data and see it in action.
  • And have an option to clear the demo data for users and populate with their own data.

3. Have test data set for user entry forms, wherever possible.

We at chargebee, we provide a link along the side to populate test credit card details in single click. It has saved a lot of effort for our users to quickly try out in our admin interface.

By clicking on a link the form fields should be populated for easy submission. It saves many a keystrokes to quickly navigate & get a good impression of the app.

4. Use a getting started wizard for guided tour & setup.

Dropbox implementation of “getting started wizard” is a fantastic example of an app that guides users to set up their app. Getting to the shortest possible cycle to complete and get a feel of your app is the key.

In the case of ChargeBee, creating a price plan for the user to create a subscription is the key. Configuring a payment gateway is required but not absolutely essential to get a feel of our application. We have setup a default payment gateway to mock the behavior.

Depending on your application needs, you could use a wizard framework or a quick list of tasks for your users to get started with your application.

5. Use form inputs to guide users.

Users always want to input more data than what the app builders could think of. One customer asked us, whether he can configure the “Email Name” to show along the email address to be seen by his users.

ChargeBee takes in “from address” of our merchants to send emails to their customers on behalf of them.

Naturally you would like to send emails with from address as Your Company

Though these are just a minor things, I lets users to feel, wow! these guys have thought about this!