Bonsai is a web product that helps designers and developers create contracts for freelance work. 

The good bits:

  • Bonsai doesn’t waste the user’s time with heavy videos or introductory tours explaining how its service works. Instead, it shows the new user 2 immediately actionable options upon first visiting the its home page. She can choose to have a sample contract emailed to her for perusal, or she can create a draft of her own design or development contract.
  • Bonsai embraces the free sample approach. The new user can go through the entire process of drafting, signing, and sending a contract all before creating an account. An email address is the only item required to move past step 1 (and it is logically requested to fill out the contact information section of the contract). The new user can even send the contract to the Bonsai team to get a sample signature. The Bonsai team clearly appreciates that a new user just wants to get a feel for the contracts created before committing to the platform as a business solution.
  • The contract creation process is constructed as a 4-step setup wizard. It gradually engages the new user through guided interaction in the form of inline cues, with unobtrusive education appearing in progressively to the right side as the user places input on the editable fields of the form.  Some of these hints are also interactive, such as one that offers access to a pricing calculator (which is unfortunately not yet available).
  • Bonsai prompts for conversion after delivering on value. One prompt for account registration occurs after the user sends her first contract, when she is naturally in a holding pattern until it is signed, and the other prompt appears after the signature is received.
  • The setup form includes a bit of personal focus, such as how the contract appears to autofill the new user’s state (based on her location) and, as she types in her name, automatically changing the name of the company LLC she may choose to associate it with to her last name.

To be improved:

  • There are 3 tooltips that appear once the user has finished drafting her contract. Unlike the progressively-disclosed, unobtrusive inline cues on the previous screens, these are more aggressive and appear in a rigid, linear order. Bonsai should consider making these user-guided, perhaps not pointing out the “Sign” button, for example, until the user has scrolled to the bottom of the contract.
  • The same tooltips reappeared on subsequent visits to the same contract when linked from the verification email and the signature success email, even when viewed during the same browser session. Bonsai should avoid repeating overlapping tooltips to make the user feel recognized.