Generating Mobile Application Onboarding Insights Using Minimalist Instruction

Brendan Robert Strahm, Purdue University


In this study, I created and validated a research-informed protocol to answer the question, “How can user experience (UX) designers generate design insights for mobile application onboarding through the lens of minimalist instruction?” High first-day abandonment rates for mobile applications indicate an opportunity for improvement by adding onboarding, which encompasses design elements and principles that help new users successfully accomplish their goals. Engaging new users in meaningful interaction was a critical part of onboarding effectiveness. However, common methods for generating onboarding design insights were ineffective at eliciting and capturing meaningful onboarding interaction. I proposed a protocol that provides such insights. My protocol drew on minimalist instruction principles to engage twelve participants in an iterative set of design and evaluation activities using a physical prototype. The first six participants completed preset tasks, translated the experiences into card-based task flows, and optimized them. I generated onboarding design insights from the card task flows and recordings. Then, I made some minor protocol refinements and engaged the last six participants in semi-structured prototype exploration and reflection bookended by structured mini-interviews. This allowed me to capture participant meaning-making processes into a card-based task flow during interaction instead of after. I generated design insights in this round using the card task flows, session transcripts, and structured mini-interviews. The first approach generated some useful insights, but the insights of the second approach were more nuanced and incisive.




Vorvoreanu, Purdue University.

Subject Area


Off-Campus Purdue Users:
To access this dissertation, please log in to our
proxy server