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Our app allows users to create projects. After a user has signed up, they're dropped into the "select project" screen with a "Getting Started" project:

select a project

This "Getting Started" project is "content as the tutorial" (like Trello's "Welcome Board" or Basecamp's "Explore Basecamp!" project).

In addition to this, we want the user to be able to add sample projects that we've created that show real-world possibilities of projects (and can also act as a starting point for their own projects).

We have two competing designs:

  1. Put a link to the sample projects:

    with link

    With "sample projects" linking to:

    next screen

    The advantage with this approach is that it's progressive disclosure. We don't need to overload the user with options when onboarding. This disadvantage is that it may not directly encourage trying out the sample projects since they're hidden behind a link.

  2. Put some of the sample projects below the list of projects:

    inline sample projects

    The advantage with this approach is that it's very clear to see the real-world projects up front. The disadvantage is that it might be too distracting when they're first trying it out. With this approach we can also show a limited number of sample projects with a link to "view all" project samples.

We considered pre-loading their account with a few sample projects so that we don't need the user to do anything to get the samples in the project list but we have a technical constraint: when we copy a sample project it may take up to ~10 seconds to finish the copy (we have to copy things like images to their account). We want to drop the user into the app as quickly as possible without waiting for sample projects to pre-populate.

Which approach is more clear when onboarding new users and adding sample content?

  • I've always thought the approach used my Microsoft for Office (and Visual Studio, etc) works well. You get options to open recent content, create new content (based on a variety of templates) or take a tour. There likely isn't an option that suits everyone, so maybe just give those choices then get out of the way. Always creating sample projects is bad as they may be useful day one, but just clutter things after that. IMHO, YMMV, etc. – Steve Jones Mar 10 '18 at 12:36
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Choosing between your two options, #2 is better than the first, however, I would recommend considering a different layout for a few reasons:

1) "Getting Started" is not obviously a project, and is formatted like a link. My gut reaction when I saw this (without reading your text) was "that's a strange place for a getting started link, why's it under the Select a Project heading?"

2) Neither of your options show the user how to add a new project. Users can view the existing 'Getting Started' project, or add a different canned example project, but there is no clear way to get started on their own project.

Something more similar to trello might work for you:

mockup

download bmml source – Wireframes created with Balsamiq Mockups

  • Thanks for your answer. However, it doesn't completely answer the question about adding sample projects as a link vs putting the sample projects inline below the list of projects. – TheCloudlessSky Aug 11 '17 at 16:36
  • With the layout I showed here, I included a "Browse more example projects..." link underneath. Given that there would already be two content boxes representing (a) a sample project, and (b) "Create a new project..", I chose to use the link to prevent overwhelming the users with options. – Jonathan Aug 11 '17 at 17:25
  • Did you decide on a method? – Jonathan Aug 14 '17 at 21:59
  • No. I was hoping for more answers. – TheCloudlessSky Aug 15 '17 at 18:44

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