Better product onboarding

Our most popular product, Ninja Forms, is extremely powerful and flexible. I firmly believe it is the most feature rich free WordPress form building plugin available. But it’s not perfect.

We’ve been thinking a lot about user experience over at the WP Ninjas and more specifically how it applies to users of Ninja Forms. I can’t remember where, but sometime ago I read where someone said that the first thing a user does in your product is NOT to name the thing they are creating. This made me laugh because it’s the very first thing you do when creating a Ninja Form.

This goes beyond the first thing a user does when they install your product. You also need to think about how your user will interact with your product from the beginning to the end of their goal.

Most WordPress plugins suck at onboarding new users

While it’s nice to know that it’s not just us, this is the sad truth.

Most plugins you install and you have to search for where they’ve decided you need to set them up. This could be under one of WordPress’ default menus or a new one they’ve added themselves. This in and of itself isn’t the problem, but it adds to the difficulty of a new user to be successful with the plugin.

Once you finally find the settings page you usually have to sift through a series of ill-explained options, many of which are meaningless to most users.

I believe we can do better and in all honesty, we should want to do better.

Ninja Forms 2.9 and some things we are implementing

As a kind of live example I’ll talk about Ninja Forms and some areas we are working on to onboard users to be able to use the plugin successfully.

Currently when you create a new form this is the screen you are presented with.

Ninja Forms version 2.8

Here you name your form and set up some options that generally don’t need to be changed.

The biggest problem is that I’m not sure it’s very intuitive as to what the users should do next. Do they go to the next tab? Is the name “field settings” clear enough that it’s where the form is actually built? These are perhaps not major issues but definitely are not making things any easier.

This is what we are working on changing it to in version 2.9.

Ninja Forms version 2.8

Notice that when creating a new form you are now taken directly to the form builder. The settings have been moved to a less prominent position in the tab structure. This way the user can immediately start building their form without any friction. Once they save a pop-up will ask them what they would like to name their form.

While it’s still not perfect it’s an example that just a small change can possibly have a huge impact on a users experience. We hope to make many more changes like this over the course of this year.

If you offer a product, what areas could you be doing better to board your user and make them more successful?