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Starting With Nothing: Solving Early Churn With Empty State Design

I recently stumbled on an article on TechCrunch about empty state designs – “The Most Overlooked Aspect of UX Design Could Be The Most Important”. It’s pretty good, and I won’t rehash the whole thing.

In gist, empty state design refers to the design and experience (UI/ UX) of an application when a new user opens an app or new feature. For example, if you just downloaded a photo sharing app, what would the app say and do to motivate you to use it? Poor empty state designs can lead to confusion, diminished interest, and the like which ultimately yields high churn early on.

Benjamin Brandall, the author, writes empty state designs should tell the user three things:
  1. What is this page/ platform for?
  2. Why are you, the user, seeing this?
  3. How can you fill out this page?
Body Boss was built quite feature heavy without clear call-to-actions upon new registration. We noticed this more apparently when we were signing up coaches on the spot at a trade show early on.

When coaches entered, there was an empty dashboard because no players had done any workouts yet. It was just a great-looking black screen. That’s not useful or sexy.
Our first design was a beautiful black screen. Not helpful, and not actually sexy
Similar to what the article suggests and what is common in successful apps today, we added a Getting Started Wizard walking coaches through setting up their organization.
We added a Getting Started Wizard walking the user through a simple set-up process when a coach first registers

The Getting Started Wizard walked through many different building blocks of Body Boss including adding players individually, or importing en masse
The result was more coaches knowing exactly what they needed to do to get started. We saw engagement rise especially in areas like inviting coaches, setting up groups, etc. The wizard was a great tool to complement our drip onboarding emails, too, to additionally provide structure in the onboarding process.

Check out Brandall’s article, and let me know your thoughts!

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