Pinterest on-boarding gets kudos, but I'm not so sure.
Adam Rifkin stashed this in Pinterest
Stashed in: Fixitfixitfixit!
This article says Pinterest's on-boarding should be copied: http://www.businessinsider.com/the-secret-to-pinterests-astounding-success-a-brilliant-sign-up-process-you-should-copy-2012-1?op=1
The big lessons are:
Make the sign-up process easy with a big Facebook button.
Teach people to be productive users others will want to follow.
Make signing up feel like a privilege.
Auto-follow so no one starts with a blank page.
Get users thinking about what kind of content s/he wants to add.
I'm not sure these are anything more than common sense.
Plus, Pinterest was not a hit at first, even with such on-boarding.
Anyone feel differently?
Have you ever thought about how people eat lobsters but not pandas?
Is it because pandas are not tasty?
Or is it because lobsters come in a convenient shell?
"Curve fitting" (or post-fact analysis) is one of the easiest things for the consultant types to do.
What they will never acknowledge is that they don't have the foggiest idea of what will become a hit, until it becomes a hit. And then they are super quick to attribute the success to all kinds of things a company did.
The real problem is that we generally have a good idea about the 'necessary' conditions for a product to become 'viral' but we have very little idea about the 'sufficient' conditions.
Pinterest has said that they A/B tested a hundred different UI designs to get the one that is currently so popular.
So perhaps they did the same with sign-up flows.
I usually don't pay too much attention to comments on posts like this since it's common to find a lot of haters with no real valuable feedback, but sometimes you find some gems. I think what I took away from this post (since what's listed is pretty obvious or as Vivek mentioned, can be attributed to "Curve Fitting") was what NOT to do:
"Don't forget to add a slide which shows how much they SPAM LinkedIn Groups in an attempt to build audience...."
"Just yesterday my wife was telling me that she tried to close/cancel her Pininterest account and they won't let her. She keeps getting spammed with emails and there is no way for her to completely disconnect everything."
"Pinterest is growing like digg and stumbleupon did. Although neither used "invites" both leveled off and are headed for a slow death. Pinerest will follow after its day in the sun."
"This site combines the worst of the stupid. Invites is such an annoying idiotic strategy, and anything that tries to spy on me more by integrating a facebook login is instantly ignored. This is a dumb fad company that will come and go, and steal millions of VC cash along the way."
Some of this is snarky and unhelpful, but some of it is a great reminder of how to treat your users once you have them :)
It's always a good idea to treat users well. :)
That's an interesting observation about Pinterest, Digg, and StumbleUpon. I was of the impression that Digg and StumbleUpon both still currently serve more than 10 million users apiece.
Which suggests that the Internet is a very big place...