We offer a trial of our company's software and currently the path to usage is 1) Create an account with us 2) Download the software and 3) Download a feature library separately

Our goal is not to convert trial users to paying users, rather that potential users get to try out as many features as possible to get to know the product fully in the trial period. We want to have as few hoops to jump through as possible to get them using all the features.

What are some minimal-barrier methods for enabling a full feature set download in as few steps as possible? Are there any precedents out there for trials of softwares that require additional features be installed? What are some best practice ways to consolidate this process?

Anyone out there have experience with a similar UX workflow challenge?

1 Answer 1


I have an example of similar distribution practice. Distribution of my client's 30 days trial software includes some steps:

  1. Trial downloading and installing.
  2. Mandatory registration at first run.
  3. Obtaining patch for unlocking trial software via email, which was specified while registering.

After analysis it became clear, that all the steps worked like funnel. There was significiant reducing of users from first to last step. At the same time there were a lot of users' negative feedback conserning problems which occured even before first full featured run!

It was very demonstrative example of how bad UX transformed highly motivated users to the group of lucky men who managed to overcome all the barriers.

Currently my proposition is under upproval. The main idea was to remove any barriers (registration, etc.) so that highly motivated users could easily start to work with program. So first run executes without any distraction. Registration is proposed later for collecting feedback and getting online help. At least, users understand the purpose of registration.

On trial expiration those who are still interested and not registered yet will register. Again, at this point they understand value of registration, it is a next step for software purchasing. This is more natural and conscious funnel comparing to the old way, which contains artificial barriers.

It is a bit anecdotic case, I hope it helps or gives some insights for you.

  • This is great insight, thanks! I've been thinking along similar lines. Of course a UX dream would be to remove all barriers, as you say, and get the user playing with the product immediately. I've been fantasizing about proposing that users be able to either begin using the product directly on the site but I'm not sure there's precedent or back-end power possible to do so. My next best scenario would be to allow a full download without registry, but I understand that registering on the site makes it so users receive a specific set of messaging.
    – RubyTwos
    Aug 11, 2013 at 3:44
  • 1
    I didn't note, but I went the users' way myself with time fixation. Downloading and installing took 2 min, filling the registration form added 2 min more. All this time I was highly motivated to use software. Then I waited for patch on my email and 2 hours until I've received it were as eternity. My motivation was dissapeared and I was busy for another stuff. I almost forgot of my intentions and it was not a big pain for me, because I even haven't saw the program interface, I haven't have emotional connetion to it. Aug 11, 2013 at 4:03

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