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The user signs up for a SAAS service and is then faced with a dashboard that enables them to initiate many different actions.

But they have only a limited idea of what to do next.

Q: What's the best way to refer to this generic problem, "The greenfield problem." "The blank paper problem." "The what do I do now? problem"

References would be appreciated. I couldn't find anything after a search.

The solution I'm looking into is offer a "tour" or "tips" -- that sort of thing.

  • It sound's like you're talking about the "Onboarding process" (not a user friendly term) Have you looked here: useronboard.com You could easily compare what other products do for this. – Andrew Martin Jan 31 '17 at 10:35
  • Are you asking for the term or recommendations on best practice? – Alvaro Jan 31 '17 at 23:35
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I would go for a walkthrough that step by step explains the possible actions and that clearly points to the control that will do this step, like you often see in apps.

Make sure one can skip this intro if he doesn't care, or already know the dashboard from a previous use.

Make sure the user doesn't get this information twice.

If you have the walkthrough guide developed, I would also suggest to make it available to redo it (for users who know a functionality is available, but can't find it immediately)

Example:

http://bootstraptour.com/

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I recommend this article with good examples and explanations:

https://blinkux.com/blog/up-running-3-tips-for-an-awesome-onboarding-ux/

In short, the three tips are (citing from the article above):

Avoid long up-front tutorials and screen-by-screen walkthroughs

I would bet that when presented with a series of screens that must be swiped through before actually using an app or web service, most of us barely pay attention or simply ignore the content (we have actually seen users do exactly this in various usability studies here at Blink). Swipe, swipe, swipe, swipe, swipe. Ah finally, here is the app I downloaded.

Make onboarding contextual and progressive

Rather than asking your users to remember everything up-front, why not provide guidance as they go? Surfacing helpful information at the point of action is always going to be more effective than a firehose-worth of instructions and explanations at the beginning.

Maximize empty states

Maybe a user hasn’t added friends or followed anyone yet, or maybe it’s a system that requires some user input data for content generation. These “blank slate” experiences are a key point in a user’s journey through your site or app and are a great onboarding opportunity to start demonstrating the value of your product. Empty states are also a very natural point to inject some onboarding to continue guiding users along.

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