Lucidchart’s design space was to improve onboarding experience of it’s users. This would enable them to not only make their first time experience using the app better but also fascilitate long term retention to the software. We rethought the onboarding experience with learning as the main objective and created design strategies to implement the same.
(Sep 2019 - Dec 2019)
People feel overwhelmed with the extensive amount of features as well as complex usability. Beginners with no diagramming experience feel stressed and doubted their diagramming capabilities.
Lucidchart struggles with premium subscriptions conversions as well as lesser retention and adaptability of their software. They seek to improve onboarding experience as a way to increase usage and retention.
We analysed NPS data, and other data provided by Lucid to gather insights and formulate our initial hypotheses. Many of these reflected usability issues that we also faced during our own experiences with Lucidchart.
After analysing the NPS Data, we found that the most common feedback was about how difficult it was for people to learn and find information on Lucidchart.
NPS detractors poke about how the tool was difficult to use.
"Little training information has come to me", Computer Science Student
Most searched article in help section was Getting started guide in the first week of usage
Lucidchart has many useful features, but people struggle with finding them and knowing how to use them effectively.
So we thought of exploring the problem space of how people access information and how much assistance they need while they are still new to either diagramming or the software.
We then conducted interviews and observations to validate our hypotheses. We decided to recruit people for interviews based on three categories:
To better understand why people diagram and what leads them to choose certain programs over others.
To better understand why they chose Lucidchart and how they troubleshoot.
To better understand why they chose Lucidchart and how they troubleshoot.
People had a hard time upgrading to education accounts. They were unaware that they had this option and if they did, they were struggling to do it in the current UI.
People found it difficult to look for templates. There were way too many options and they were not recommended based on the information provided by users during sign up.
With help of our professor and Lucid, we soon realized that our design thinking was too focused on usability issues rather than the overall experience. This was a huge challenge for us as we struggled to draw the line between the two. After some brainstorming, we began to rethink our interviews and observations.
We realised that there were two main categories of people who had different objectives while trying to use Lucidchart.
By focusing on the learners, we can encourage and inspire people to create more diagrams. In the long run, this will also be beneficial for doers who get stuck while using the software.
1. The most difficult part of diagramming for many people is not using the tool, but is generating ideas from the information they have.
2. People get inspirations from templates, and people new to diagramming hope to learn through templates.
3. People get frustrated while understanding, choosing templates, and modifying them.
4. Lucid already provides information about diagramming and different templates, but the information is not always obvious and clear.
“I wanted to use a UML template to finish my assignment. But after I opened it I got confused and wondered how the diagram would be generated from raw data.", Computer Science student
“When I have no idea how to diagram, I might choose a template to see how others did it. I wish there was more tutorial information about diagramming.”,
We wanted to ensure that our designs was an intersection of three main components.
1. Empower and Inspire: Empower users to convey complicated ideas in a simple and creative manner.
2. Knowledge is power: Provide people knowledge about diagramming.
3. Support: Provide support for diagrammers with different levels of expertise.
While learning a new software, people access information in 4 main ways:
1. Google how to do something
2. Watch tutorial videos
3. Go through help documents
4. Ask help from someone who knows the software
Learning a tool fast and putting it to effective use is one of the major determinants of whether people will come back to it. We want to provide all information required to learn the software, easily accessible within the software so that people never have to go to other sources.
Observations informed us that whenever people looked for information on other sources, they would often get distracted by other information. This would be either in the form of recommendations panel on YouTube or other competitor ads on Google searches.
“Adding tutorial links in the template picker - is this the right time to show tutorials? When is the user the most confused or frustrated as they are picking a template or picking one and using it to no success? Also front loading experience might increase drop-off rate before entering the canvas? How does your design tackle that?” -UX Designer at Lucid
The Desirable Change
We conducted our own miniature A/B test to try out this idea with 10 people. They were equally divided into two groups and put into a learning simulation.
The test outcomes validated our assumptions but the confidence level of our test was low due to limited participants. For group A, four out of five participants ignored the description and tags, and none of them clicked the tutorial links. However, in group B, all of them noticed the description, and four clicked the links to watch the tutorials, and mentioned that the tags were clearer now.
The new design could be seen as a success if more users at least hover, if not interact, with the new learning panel than they did with the help panel next to the canvas.
We envision our learning panel concept being a good building block for future innovation. A good example of this is our idea for a long term opportunity in the education space.
Through our research and observations, we found significant evidence that many current Lucidchart users learned the software during school. Our long term concept of developing a lesson plan for teachers would allow the software to be shared with even more students.
Due to the controlled environment of teachers and students, it is easy for teachers to recommend Lucidchart to students. Since students have access to education accounts, they can access most of the premium features of Lucidchart. This will be a potential reason for them to hang on to the software. This can lead to habit formation which will possibly lead to them continuing to use Lucidchart in their professional careers, leading to retention and premium plans purchases.
1. Several interviewees learnt Lucidchart at school and used it because their professors recommended it to them.
“I learnt about Lucidchart at school from my Professor.” , Software Engineer
2. Most long term users keep using Lucidchart they formed a habit and didn’t want to switch.
“There are things that annoy me in the software but I don’t want to switch because I have been using it for years and my whole life is on it.”, Product Manager
3. People who have no experience in diagramming can learn diagramming concepts.
“I don’t know what swimlanes are, how do I use it?” Data Science Student
1. Where users can explore Lucidchart features or choose to learn using the lesson panel to the right.
2. The lessons is broken down into bite-sized chapters that have a checklist of tasks. The progress is visible to the user.
3. Lucidchart can allow teacher accounts to add student accounts, so as the teachers can keep track of students’ progress..
The Lesson plan idea is a long term plan and Lucid would need to pay a lot to set up those online lessons and lesson plans. Students have education accounts and use Lucidchart for free. If the brand loyalty is not such strong and students stop using Lucidchart after graduation, Lucid would lose money.
I feel like the biggest challenge for us was to detach ourselves from the usability issues and think bigger in terms of the user experience. The insights we got from the research always narrowed down to UI changes. After having discussion with our Professor and the Lucid team, we started to think in a different direction and started looking at bigger insights from the research.
We also struggled with formulating a coherent story and elaborating on our rationale. But eventually it all made sense and we figured that even if our ideas fail, they help us learn a lot more about the users as well as the software.