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I know there is advice (and very good advice at that) to generally not have startup/welcome screens in software.

Our software I think has a legitimate need for one, our free download is served from some external sites, and a lot of users will simply download it run it then be presented with a big grey empty screen which for our audience can be intimidating and overwhelming. I'm fairly confident we lose people because of this.

Our current welcome screen is functional, but is pretty badly designed and ugly.

Does anyone have any examples of beautiful and functional welcome/start screens they can share?

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4 Answers

Here you will find a very visual list of iPhone app splash screens.

Most of them are pretty, very few are functional. Unless you find eye-candy and branding functional. Functionality will depend on what your application is intended for.

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@Joey updated... it wasn't that difficult to find. –  Naoise Golden Feb 15 '13 at 9:09
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I've just implemented a 'getting started' screen. Sorry I can't show you the screen so I'l describe the look and feel. We knew we had two types of users and so presented three sections with the third being 'Customisation'. Under these header sections will showed the mostly likely actions. For customisation we displayed links such as 'Personalise' and 'Contribute'. Toggling an arrow adjacent to the header, folded out some contextual information regarding the action.

The above content takes up the main stage of the window, with a sidebar containing links to the user guides, popular questions and contact information for support.

What I didn't consider was the background. I like this idea of representing the application with some image or symbol.

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I know there is advice (and very good advice at that) to generally not have startup/welcome screens in software.

I'm not sure I agree with that advice.

Your website, application or game's initial state is one of the most important things to get right. And by initial state I'm talking about the first launch, where there may be no user data yet, or subsequent launches for returning users.

…a lot of users will simply download it run it then be presented with a big grey empty screen which for our audience can be intimidating and overwhelming.

Some coaching is usually required to assist the user in getting over any initial barriers before they feel at home in your app.

By coaching, I'm talking about hints or tips to guide them in the right direction, not a 90s wizard (awful!) or a help overlay with a lot of text (also bad, in my opinion).

However, I don't think it's essential. Sometimes it's possible to create a first launch experience that so obvious you don't need any additional information.

Sorry, I couldn't find any blog posts with pretty screenshots of welcome screens (there's a potential opportunity for someone to create one).

I'd recommend keeping the info on the welcome screen to a minimum, and try your best to direct the user to whatever first actions they're likely to want to take.

Do you have some great looking artwork as part of the application? A welcome screen is an ideal opportunity to extend on the app's icon or other design elements.

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Good answer thanks! I tend to talk to mostly programmers a lot so the general consensus not to have a startup screen is popular as those types generally hate them. We do have some great artwork on our homepage and I do want to extend this onto the welcome screen to create a common thread between them. Your post is great thanks! Still looking for some good example though, there isn't out much there online looking at it. Might write one myself. –  Tom Gullen Sep 27 '11 at 15:03
    
I'd love to see some good examples of welcome, splash screens and initial launch states as well. There has to be some great prior examples for web, desktop apps and mobile apps. Here's one we've recently built: Consume for iPhone We could have made the account creation easier for the first launch, but we wanted the user to go through the process by themselves, meaning they'd know what to do when adding a second and subsequent accounts. Also, there's only one button they can tap, so they have do to the right thing :) –  Marc Edwards Sep 29 '11 at 7:21
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The convention I've seen the most is a static page with some tips or interesting information about the application in question. A few minutes after reading your question, I came across the following in Team Fortress 2:

enter image description here

This splash page does a lot of things. It gives me targets for me to play against, it gives stats I would periodically report on, it gives me useful usage tips and it uses a background image that establishes the consistent visual style that's shot through both the game and its general interface.

I'll say more later, but for now I want to go play 2fort instead...

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