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Kind of a discussion based question, but bare with me anyway.

I am working on a web app that provides reporting. It makes reporting fun, honest!

I am struggling to design the Welcome page. It's a one off page that users will hit after they log in for the first time, and should explain the basics of the system.

My question: I can't find very many good examples of welcome pages, Facebook has a good one (which helps you set up the app). Does anyone know of any good examples?

Also: Do you have any suggestions on things to avoid? Things that you've tried in your own apps and had users scream about?

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closed as not constructive by JonW Mar 21 '12 at 9:45

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Could you elaborate on what you mean by "reporting"? Somebody says "reporting", I think "This is Sharyn Swaroop with breaking news: there is coal in Pennsylvania! Full story at 11." –  Will Martin Jul 5 '11 at 4:08
    
True, reporting as in taking mass amounts of data from multiple systems and combining them into PDF / HTML reports. (Kind of like Google Analytics but for more than just websites) –  jamie-wilson Jul 5 '11 at 22:19

4 Answers 4

up vote 3 down vote accepted

In an application i would consider a dashboard of sorts as a welcome page. The dashboard would contain widgets that display actionable items. For instance, in your case maybe reports recently completed or quick snapshot of what tasks have to be completed etc. The reasoning behind this is to enable a user to quickly navigate to his problem area from here to his tasks.

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+1 nobody reads welcome pages, just describe a current state to visitor(user): last news, warnings, new features. how to... –  igor Jul 5 '11 at 12:09
    
with this product, there is a large chance that if you don't read the welcome, you won't be able to use the app. the app itself is easy, but there's a 'getting your head around the reporting engine' step which is what i am struggling with –  jamie-wilson Jul 5 '11 at 22:22
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You want to work on the basis that people will try to skip through the welcome page; get to the app; and then realise that maybe they should have read the welcome page a bit more thoroughly. I'd make sure that there's a very obvious help link back to the welcome page which is always on screen. –  PhillipW Jul 6 '11 at 20:29

What to show after first log in? Great question. So many sites get you through the sign up form and then dump you right in the mix. Whatever you do, don't provide a blank screen, forcing the user to wonder what to do next.

Sign up can be an achievement in itself. (Ref. Luke Wroblewski - sign up forms must die http://www.lukew.com/presos/preso.asp?25 which also touches on some of the stuff below.)

So what does a user need to know on their first visit?

  • What the heck is all this?

  • What can I do here?

  • Where do I start?

[There's also the desirability factor - does the user care about this - but you've already got them through sign up - so well done!)

Don't bombard the user with content about content. Ease them in gently. It's tempting to try and explain what everything that's on the screen does, but really it can be too much. Information overload is out. Gradual engagement is in.

So the important things I see are as follows:

  • a) Transition from sign up - thank the user for signing up. Be nice.

  • b) Let them know what they could do now maybe a few (three or four) short bullet points about what they can do. Make them snappy and easy to understand.

  • c) Let them know help is available and where to find it.

  • d) Provide a call to action to 'get started'.

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Facebook games are actually full of examples of these, and of tutorials blended into the game as the user advances.

This presentation slides 144 & 145 might be useful: http://www.slideshare.net/amyjokim/gamification-workshop-2010?from=ss_embed

Consider what's useful for which users when. I'm not sure how your site works, but take google analytics as an example. The first thing you have to do is add a code to your site, so the first login you should tell them about the code. They go add the code, come back and tell google to check it. Google says we're gathering data now.

That's about all that's useful in the first visit, all the visualizations are useless because there's no data. So you can tell people great, come back later! and maybe send a reminder after a week saying remember us? we have awesome data for you now, come see!

That will be your second visit. You should direct people to the first useful visualization for brand new users. Find out what reports had the most impact early on for your existing users, and tell them about those first.

Later on, or maybe as certain things happen to make other reports more relevant, start directing them there. Tell them about advanced reporting features as they become more advanced, but also tell them about it in context if they happen to stumble across the advanced reporting page early on.

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initially, i am always like to tease the users in genius way .

-determine your persona kind. - don't tell the user all the story. tell him the some of it . - let him feel that if he waiting to load the start page he will be surprised when he get in . - let him be busy with look to some graphical things .

and there is more things depends on waht you want to make . but they are the main things i do every time . this is one example :

jeeran.com for places.

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