select work: Acciyo Chrome Extension

How Usability testing helped increase weekly retention and remove barriers to onboarding.

Client

Acciyo (now known as Below The Fold) is a browser extension that provides a timeline of articles which were previously written on a topic so that readers could better understand the news they're reading.

Challenge

Prior to launching on the Chromestore, the Acciyo Timeline had usability issues along with barriers to signing-up, which negatively affected how users experienced the onboarding process.

role

Usability testing | qualitative research | interaction design

impact

After implementing our findings, we simplified the sign-up process and improved the onboarding experience by introducing an in-app tutorial. We saw the following results:

  • Increase in weekly retention to 29.9% from 11.1%

Now with a revamped product, we also achieved two milestone wins: 

  • Raised $147k on Republic
  • #5 Product of the Day on Product Hunt
  • Growth in Acciyo's newsletter to over 5k readers
  • 01. Usability findings
  • 02. Ideating Solutions
  • 03. Measuring impact
usability Findings_

What did I want to learn?

Before launching the extension on the Chromestore, our team needed to observe how our beta audience experienced the early prototype. In particular, I wanted to observe: how our users perceived its ease of use, the time it it took to accomplish certain tasks, and how successful our users were in accomplishing those tasks.

We decided to test for the following user tasks:

  • Get onboarded
  • Access the Acciyo Timeline
  • Navigate along the Timeline

These tasks were broad enough, which allowed us to follow up with specific questions as our testers experienced the prototype.

After 5 rounds of user-testing, we discovered the following issues:

01/04. Lack of an onboarding tutorial

Upon getting onboarded, our users were greeted with a generic landing page that directed them to the Chrome extension; however, the page was not perceived as useful as our users preferred an onboarding tutorial instead.

"Even here on this screen...Diving me straight to these 3 things that you're recommending is less useful than me having an overview of how to use this tool"

-Session 1

"I'm assuming it's going to take me to a relevant tutorial about how it adds value (onboarding articles)"

-Session 2

02/04. Significant barriers to onboarding

Our testers were not keen on sharing their email with an unknown product upon signing up. We learned that they would have preferred to experience the product firsthand as anonymous guests.

These observations were confirmed after conducting a Funnel Analysis on Amplitude that tracked how users moved along the onboarding process from signing up to interacting with the Timeline. We were surprised to see that no users continued with the sign up process and over 46% ended their session immediately.

"I'd expect to try the product for free first."

-Session 2

"If your product has something that I want and you're forcing me to sign up, I would use a temporary email as a test account.

-Session 3

03/04. Interaction painpoints

The Timeline posed a conflict to our users' mental model on scrolling vertically. Typically, a vertical scrolling gesture on a trackpad or mousewheel is associated with the intent of moving upwards or downwards. Instead, our users were surprised to see a "zoom and pinch" that stretched and expanded the Timeline instead of moving vertically.

🙂
Our users expected to move vertically along the Timeline when scrolling.
😕
Instead, users saw a zoom and pinch effect which stretched the Timeline.

"I'm scrolling down but it's not allowing me to continue down on the timeline."

-Session 3

"It took me a while to know how to interact with this."

-Session 3

04/04. Hidden browser extension icon due to Chrome update

In order to save real-estate on the extensions menu, Chrome unpins newly installed extensions by default, thereby hiding stateful signifiers that users would normally refer and interact with. Our users were confused most of the time and were not able to access important features because they couldn't access the extension icon on the menubar.

Acciyo is missing in the extension menu and users could not interact with the extension to perform tasks.

"If the acciyo extension were here, I would be able to click on it."

-Session 2

"Acciyo gets left behind, it's difficult. It's easy for people to forget what they've downloaded. It's easy to forget."

-Session 7
Designing solutions_

How we solved various UX and UI problems after our first round of user testing

Nearly all of the users whom we interviewed prior to the launch expressed that Acciyo was unique in the way it presented articles dynamically along a timeline- however they expressed confusion at its novelty. We hypothesized that a brief onboarding tutorial would have a positive impact on the overall experience and thereby positively impact retention.

01/04. Increasing weekly retention with an onboarding tutorial

Nearly all of the users whom we interviewed prior to the launch expressed that Acciyo was unique in the way it presented articles dynamically along a timeline- however they expressed confusion at its novelty. We hypothesized that a brief onboarding tutorial would have a positive impact on the overall experience and thereby positively impact retention.

The onboarding tutorial contains iconography for signifying the main-idea, a brief paragraph, and stateful buttons that allow users to start, skip, or replay the tour.

The data supports our hypothesis that an onboarding tutorial will positively impact retention. According to our Amplitude report, users who completed the tour were prone to be retained more than those who did not.

For example, our week-1 retention rate for our users who completed the tutorial was 29.1% compared to 11.7% for users who did not engage with the tutorial.
“Throughout 12 weeks, those users who completed the tutorial were more likely to remain on Acciyo.”

02/04. Introducing a one-click authentication process to remove barriers

The first sign up flow had too many social authentication options to choose from. Our users expressed sentiments of "analysis paralysis" at being forced to choose to sign up with Twitter, Linkedin, Google, or email. After a round of user-testing, we learned that Google is the preferred social authentication choice for a quick sign-up process.

Too many social-authentication options to choose from
One-click authentication with Google was the preferred choice by our users

03/04. Redesigning the timeline to fix previous interaction painpoints

The first sign up flow had too many social authentication options to choose from. Our users expressed sentiments of "analysis paralysis" at being forced to choose to sign up with Twitter, Linkedin, Google, or email. After a round of user-testing, we learned that Google is the preferred social authentication choice for a quick sign-up process.

Too many social-authentication options to choose from
One-click authentication with Google was the preferred choice by our users