WonderWoof Bow Tie and app first time user experience
(WonderWoof is an activity tracker for dogs)

The good bits

  • The packaging emulates a jewelry box. It is easy to open with only a 3-panel getting started guide. The Bow Tie requires minimal setup — it just needs to be charged and an app downloaded.  There are 2 additional color bands so that pet owners can customize to match their dog’s collar.
  • After downloading the app, the new user selects “New Registration.” Despite that label, the new user isn’t first funneled into a registration flow. Instead, she is engaged in a customization wizard to set up her dog’s profile. This involves declaring her dog’s name, gender and weight, and choosing a photo, before registration information like an email address is requested. This lends the onboarding experience a personal focus.
  • The app introduces a dog persona named “Dapper” during the setup wizard; he pops up with motivational notes that reinforce the task at hand.
  • No introductory slideshow is pushed upon the new user. The new user gets right into the app home screen after registration, and there is a clear affordance in the center for pairing a Bow Tie.
  • The pairing flow for the Bow Tie is easy and unique. The user sees her Bow Tie come into view within a pairing circle, taps it, and confirms the correct device was accepted by selecting the color that represents it.
  • For new users who entered the pairing flow but didn’t yet have a device, the pairing screen offers an entry point into product discovery.
  • Instead of bombarding the new user with permission requests for things like notifications and location upon entering the app, WonderWoof waits until the user selects relevant activities.  For example, the location permission dialog does not appear until the user first enters the “Maps” section.
  • Most sections of the app use inline cues in empty states to provide the new user with education even if content is not yet available. For example, the “Badges” screen shows all the empty slots for badges not yet earned, and tapping on one of those badges displays a information about how to earn that badge.
  • Dapper continues showing up through the onboarding experience as a guide and source of notifications. “He” will also weave in the new user’s dog’s name to some tips.

To be improved

  • Neither my order or shipping confirmation emails directed me to download the app. For products that involve shipping a physical device, onboarding emails can be a helpful way to bridge the time between purchase and delivery by getting the new user started with prerequisite setup steps.
  • The label “New Registration” on the start screen may worry the new user that she needs to create an account before she can do anything. As this is not entirely true—the new user can build her dog’s profile before signing up—it may be best to rename the button to something friendlier, like “Get started.”
  • For new users creating an account via email, the app is only authenticated via email verification, no password.  This is less secure than incorporating a password. It also makes it frustrating for existing users to re-log-in, as they have to exit to and verify via email every time.
  • There is no acknowledging the new user after she completes a new registration; she is just placed on the app home screen.
  • However, a product tour is offered to existing users that install the app and choose “Sign in via email” instead of “New Registration.“ I ran into a pairing issue that required me to re-install the app and log in as an existing user.  This time through, I was greeted with an offer to take the new user product tour. The app should offer this to new registrations and not to existing who have a history with the app.
  • The product tour is comprised of 10 steps and is linear. It cannot be exited once started and a user cannot stop and interact with the parts being pointed to. Important, less obvious information (like how colored bones show goal progress) may be lost among the many tips; often, people can’t retain this much information at once. Instead, I recommend a user-guided tutorial approach, where tips are revealed over time based on user exploration (instead of presented linearly).  Education about obvious UI elements like “Settings” could be removed entirely, as they’re often best learned as the result of exploration.
  • While the use of inline cues for blank slate education is great throughout most of the app, showing the empty state of the“Activity” panel could be confusing for new users as it’s not clear what is being measured and where goals are coming from.
  • There are some copy mistakes and inconsistencies in the setup flow, like “Let’s see how Handsome! Paul is!”  These kinds of errors and inconsistencies during onboarding can erode trust, so it’s best to catch any issues that might occur especially as the result of dynamically-inserted strings. Similarly, clear language on error messaging–which can be a secondary source of education–is another important way to build trust with new users.