After 17+ years of development, our web app (CRM system) is packed with lots of features. Sophisticated filters, detailed reports, analytics tools,... We realized that the app may be a little bit intimidating for a new user (or a user who just registered for 30-day trial). Menu items with common features which are usable at day one are shown together with other items usable after a few months of app usage. E.g. you don’t need “Bulk e-mail” or “Top sales opportunities” if you have just 5 companies in the internal address book.
Some features just make no sense without certain amount of data in the system.
I feel that we should somehow reduce the amount of visual clutter for newbies. Our current approach is that we measure how much data (and what kind) is in the system and remove all features that makes no sense. For example: we have „Orders” tab in the main navigation which shows all customers’ orders in the system. If we detect that there is not a single one order in the database, we remove the tab from the navigation. Our approach can be described as a variation on „you’ve just unlocked new weapon” so popular in games. I see these pro/cons:
Advantage: newbies will see minimal UI, they will be (I hope) less confused, stuff that matters will pop out
Disadvantage: a user whose goal is to evaluate our software (30 day trial) can leave with impression that our software is „just a toy” and doesn’t offer important features for him („it looks like they can’t send bulk e-mails”). Maybe this is just my unjustified fear.
What I’m looking for is the best strategy how to make our complex software more approachable to newbies and increase conversions (we know that some customers chose „simpler solution” from competition, even if it wasn’t cheaper).
Is our current approach effective? What would you suggest?
I even thought about breaking our CRM into two versions (like „CRM Pro” + „CRM Lite”) to solve the problem, but it feels like too much hustle.