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K2. Introductory User Experience Product teams can envision how their application concepts could promote initial experiences that generate interest, instill confidence, clearly communicate essential information, and offer a direct foundation for committed adoption. Examples from three knowledge work domains:


Based on your team’s understanding of targeted workers’ current practices and background knowledge, what might they need to know in order to “get started” using your computing tool? What functionality concepts might your team envision to provide appropriate and dynamic instruction during these early user experiences?

It’s always daun�ng to open a new applica�on for the first �me, especially when it’s as complicated as new analysis so�ware...

A scientist launches her new analysis application for the first time and is presented with a set of interactive tutorials, each of which highlights one of several uses of the product. She selects an option that matches her clinical research goals and navigates through a well produced introductory tour (see illustration). An architect who has never used a building modeling application is anxious about making the switch from a more traditional CAD approach. The new tool presents a series of contextual training features, which allow her to learn about specific options at her own pace. A financial trader accesses a new version of his trading application and is presented with an option to view what has been updated in the latest release. From this quick, informative overview, he knows which new features he wants to try and which ongoing issues have been fixed. Many contemporary computing tools for knowledge work do not excel at introducing themselves. Even when workers have been exposed to marketing materials, have decided that a brand and value proposition are compelling, and have acquired a new or improved tool, introductions are not yet complete until potential users have explored an application in their own activity contexts. Individuals and organizations often do not have time to experiment with computing products (D3, K3). Knowledge workers may trust their early opinions about the desirability of an interactive application, especially when other product options are easily available. Product teams can envision concepts for introductory functionalities that appear on the first occasion that a worker accesses an application or are spread across several early uses of a new tool. While application concepts with highly directive interaction models (C2) may require less introduction, products centered around open workspaces or novel conceptual models (C1, K5) may be understood faster and more completely with a scaffolding of initial instruction and suggested first steps (C4, G1, K7). When product teams do not actively consider how their application concepts could drive meaningful early experiences, opportunities to make a product more desirable, to arm workers with useful understandings, and to prevent beginners’ errors (C9, G3) can be lost. People may need to spend more effort determining what practices they can accomplish within an application (A, D2), how to verify its operation (K4), how to get started with their activities, and other key factors for making a computing tool integral to their own work. Conversely, too much introduction can detract from direct engagement with the product functionality that workers will eventually use once they have chosen to fully adopt a tool. See also: B1, C, F10, F11, H, J7, K, L4, M

More specific questions for product teams to consider while envisioning applications for knowledge work: What domain knowledge, existing skills, learned interaction expectations, and other background will targeted individuals likely bring to their early interactions with your team’s product?

Clinical Scientist

What big picture gaps might exist — at the overall level of your envisioned application concepts — between what workers already know and what they may need to know in order to have positive user experiences with your offerings? So it’s giving me a list of ques�ons about how I want to use the tool in order to give me some sort of customized tour...

Ge�ng Started

What learning gaps might your team identify for each of your foundational functionality concepts? What larger design trends and advanced analogies to other products and domains could influence your ideas about “out of the box” instructional experiences? What conventional design patterns for early tutorials and topical “crash courses” might your team consider using? What initial instruction concepts might you envision to provide an overview of your product’s intended role in workers’ practices?

It feels pre�y slick, so I’m going to go ahead and enter what analysis tools I have used and what my research goals are...

What targeted concepts might you sketch with the goal of bridging specific, well characterized learning gaps? Ge�ng Started

What emotive and brand implications might your team focus on while exploring concepts for introductory experiences? What media formats and visual approaches could appropriately represent certain types of instructional content in clear and engaging ways? How might users’ experiences with initial instruction offerings generate interest and instill confidence in your computing tool? How might your concepts for initial instruction provide a foundation for, and potentially tie into, your other, more persistent user assistance options?

And it’s sugges�ng a list of video tutorials that I might be interested in, or I can skip all this and then check them out later...

Ge�ng Started

What interaction pathways could flow out of introductory experiences? How might users test new learnings through direct, constructive experimentation within your computing tool? Do you have enough information to usefully answer these and other envisioning questions? What additional research, problem space models, and design concepting could valuably inform your team’s application envisioning efforts?

Working through Screens (Tabloid Size)  
Working through Screens (Tabloid Size)  

Working through Screens: 100 Ideas for Envisioning Powerful, Engaging, and Productive User Experiences in Knowledge Work This heavily illus...