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Sigma: Onboarding Experience


 Sigma: Onboarding Experience

Team: 4 | Duration: 16 weeks | Reading Time: 12 mins

Sigma provides a familiar visual interface for business experts to enable them to easily analyze cloud data. To fulfill this value proposition, the product onboarding must be quick, painless, and easy-to-navigate.

Role and Responsibilities

Being the sole Interaction Designer on the team, I worked closely with the product manager, engineers, and brand strategists to ensure that individual product goals are met. Some of my main responsibilities included Design Research, Content Strategy, Information Architecture, Interaction Design, Visual Design and Prototyping.


Onboarding new users is critically important to Sigma’s adoption in an organization. Previously, many users got into their Sigma environment and didn’t know what to do or how the product works, and they never returned to the product. Approx. 60% of people who signed up didn’t convert into active Sigma users.

I have omitted and obfuscated confidential information on this page to comply with my non-disclosure agreement, and the content does not necessarily reflect the views of Sigma Computing.

Defining the Target Audience

In order to meet user expectations, it’s important to identify your target audience. I collaborated with the product manager and marketing manager to discuss user characteristics and observed behaviors via analytics. I then worked with our customer support and sales team to conduct user interviews to validate our assumptions and developed the web personas, thus ensuring that both marketing as well as product needs were met. The following 2 were identified as primary personas:


Redesigned Overview Page

Original overview page layout

The overview page is the first interaction users have with the product after signing in. The original design had 4 static cards, each of which were taking the user out of the product and to the guide section.

From the initial feedback gathering sessions we heard users say that they almost never interacted with this page. Therefore, a big chunk of the onboarding project became redesigning the overview page to include more relevant and dynamic content.

System Mapping

I began by drawing a system map to understand the users overall journey to and from the overview page:

Information Architecture

The next step was to craft the information architecture and explore how the content would be laid out:

MVP and Beyond

With the media launch date less than a month away, it became crucial to avoid scope creep. I worked closely with my product manager to flesh out the product specs document, focussing on key features and their success metrics for v0 and v1.


For the initial release, we de-prioritized the static informational cards and introduced a personalized newsfeed of document updates so that users could see Sigma features in action, on data that is relevant to them. My designs also included responsive specifications as a starting point for the rest of the product.


For the next version, I designed a checklist of items for the user to complete based on the user’s role (Admin v. Member). The checklist was created to be a tutorial of relevant product features for the user to get familiarized with Sigma.

Additionally, we received requests from customers to allow them to set organization-level metrics for all their users to view. Since our dashboards were undergoing a design overhaul, I documented a future state feature of enabling dashboards to be set as the overview page.


Component Library Expansion

Two key principles for the onboarding project were transparency (clear communication of the product state) and relevancy (surfacing features based on the user’s behavior) which informed the design of new components.

Usage Rules and Interaction States

I laid out rules for when a component should be used, how it should be used and what are the interaction states for each component:

Interaction states and usage guidelines for Toast component

Anatomy and interaction states for Input Field component

Input Field active state animation

Input Field error state animation

Anatomy and usage guidelines for Banner component

Usage guidelines and visual specs for Tooltip component


I began by doing exploratory research on other product onboarding tours, both within and beyond the competitor landscape:

The next step was to design an in-app solution, leveraging the existing tooltip and modal components:


Feedback from User Testing

Once the flow was complete, it was time to test it and validate it with our users. We had a mix of new participants as well as those familiar with the old flow, in a variety of roles:

  • BI / Analytics Architect (admins)

  • Product managers (business expert)

  • Customer success managers (business expert)

We asked participants to sign in and open a worksheet (existing or new) and then asked them about their experience and feedback in a semi-structured interview. Here is some of the feedback we received:


The Impact

Onboarding was a very important project to understand users’ falloff points. Worksheets form the backbone of the product and this project increased user engagement with worksheets by 20% and overall product adoption by 25%. This was also one of the first projects where our design team conducted in-depth user research along with multiple usability tests, which influenced the design process every step of the way. It also helped our leadership see the value in allowing the design team with access to our end users to deliver better quality products.


Closing Thoughts

This project started small and straightforward but it was like an iceberg; I kept unearthing new UX issues because of associated technical debt. I learned a lot about how to gather requirements, work with Product Managers to be ahead of the scrum cycle and how Quality Engineers were my best friends in the entire process. I also learned how to prioritize requirements and tasks based on technical constraints. Since I was redesigning something that wasn't really ever designed in the first place, the process involved finding a lot of questions that didn't really have any logical answers. It took long hours to develop communication channels with all members of the team to create a project pipeline where UX was prioritized as much as development.