By Elliot Soren
The History Of Designing User Funnels
Let’s dive into some web nostalgia, and reflect on past design guidelines so we can compare and contrast our old funnel model, with the modern one. Looking back allows you to truly see the progress you’ve made, and in turn understand the future better.
The Past • “How Can I Get The User To Click!”
In early 2000’s, the goal of the web developer was mostly focused on how can I get user to land on my homepage. Most of the design process was focused on Google, and search technology. Clients cared more about “Clicks” than “Signups”. This was because most of the time, websites were content driven vs. experience driven. The times of jQuery drop down menus, and skeuomorphic icons that would make the modern minimalist designer say “it’s all wrong, it needs to be clean lines and gradients, that’s design!”. I think the key to progressing in design is admitting our mistakes and moving past them.
“Sometimes when you innovate you make mistakes” • Steve Jobs
The Current • “How Can I Get The User To Signup!”
Designers currently focus on building funnels to optimize conversation rate, and to funnel the user to a sign up page or to create an account. The goal is about funneling the user into cohorts without taking into account the users current state of mind. If you’re a first time user on a site, you may be slightly apprehensive about creating an account. The goal should be less about how can I design to enable a user signup, and refocused to how can I make this user fall in love and build trust using an emotional framework.
I view designing products like dating. You need to make the user want you “the product”, and create the desire through connection. The current design frameworks focus on asking you on a date, and wanting to get you to the end goal as quick as possible. Where is the romance and courtship that makes dating so exciting! Make the user be so excited to see you that they become attached, not just an endless loop of “we are just together because I am too scared to leave or don’t want to find another app”.
“Good night, good night! Parting is such sweet sorrow, that I shall say good night till it be morrow.”• William Shakespeare
The Future • “How Can I Spend The Rest Of My Life With This User!”
I created a UX framework focused on designing products that are centered around emotion, and the feelings of the user. It’s not just about what I want, the key is to not make the user feel pressured into signing up when they don’t want to yet. When the user is ready then you can prompt the question of signup, or it will be spontaneous. Don’t make the user feel like the end objective is just signing up, and using the product. Once the user is done with the product, they will move onto the next best app or service. When you establish true love that bond with the user is unbreakable, and creates a product people want to spend the rest of their life with even when your app breaks occasionally. It’s part of love, and users understand that. The next step is understanding how to court the user with emotion and colors.
“The course of true love never did run smooth” • William Shakespeare
We are going to be using the Naive Bayes Machine Learning Algorithm throughout this post. If you aren’t familiar yet, I’m writing an article titled “TensorFlow For The Modern Designer” that will explain the algorithm in depth and how it can be applied to design.
Color + Emotion = The Key To Unlocking Your User
When I design products, I split the process into 2 separate halves. The right side of the product is the emotion side, and the left side is user logic. It’s modeled after the human brain. This creates a hemispherically balanced product that excites the user mentally. It connects to Quantum Physics, and I’ll talk about that later in the post. That’s the true breakthrough.
We are going to structure the user flow based on manipulating the users emotions vs how can I get the user to do this or that. This is how you truly have a conversation with the user. The best relationships are based on partners who put their significant other’s needs above their own needs. This framework truly puts the user first, and designs around their emotions.
1st Step • Getting The User To Notice You
Getting the attention of someone you want to date is process as old of the Earth itself. Animals use rituals to attract others they find attractive. This process is incredibly primal, and relates back to the core of our existence.
What incites someone to become interested in you? Sometimes it’s the mystery of the individual, or attractiveness of their physical vessel. It might be something they say that allows them to feel connected. They might feel a strong sentimental connection through an experience or a phrase you said.
Before the user lands on your website or downloads your app, they should already have a strong background about your product or service. This builds trust, and provides a feeling of comfort about the product. You don’t necessarily need a recommendation, but just talking about the product is enough to get the user interested.
This should be included inside the user funnel. The first parameter is trying to understand if the user has any background about your product. The way to check this is how the user found your product either through a direct link, social referral, or google search. Each portal to your site should curate a unique experience based on the user’s emotion. Coming on too strong might scare a hesitant user away, but if a friend talked about your product maybe it’s best to show strong interest, so the user doesn’t move on. Finding that natural balance is the key to courting the user.
When building a product you must put yourself inside the product and fall in love with it. Then someone else can fall in love with your product. If you don’t love your product, how can a user fall in love?
Logic + Emotional Parameters For Step 1
Direct Link: I like to think of this as “A Direct Link To The User”. Most likely a friend told the user about your product, and they entered it directly into the search bar. This is the most optimal approach, and requires the least amount of courtship. The goal is getting the user somewhere in the middle of an emotion, this creates desire for more. It’s less about what can I get the user to do on my website, and more about manipulating the user’s emotion with color and courtship.
Reference The Emotion Wheel Above
Current User Emotion: Trust/Joy About Product
Desired User Emotion: Love: “Connect With The User”
Social Referral: This is the middle ground for getting the interest of the user. It’s between a direct link, and Google Search. Most likely, a user stumbled upon a social link and clicked. This is similar to a friend posting pictures of you, and seeing the refined social version of self. There is genuine interest, but the courtship must be proven more than a direct link.
Current User Emotion: Interest/Serenity About Product
Desired User Emotion: Optimism: “Product Seems Interesting”
Google Search: Imagine a random person coming up to you, and wanting to go on a date. You seem genuine and interesting, but I really only know the information you give me. This is similar to Google. Right now, users are losing trust with Search Engines. If you found a company off Google, you will most likely turn down the opportunity to give your contact information. It’s unfamiliar, and you will have more success if the users comes back to your product. Forcing them to “sign up”, and give contact information is rather forward. Build trust from a distance, and court the user.
Current User Emotion: Acceptance/Apprehension About Product
Desired User Emotion: Submission: “Trust The Product”
2nd Step • Getting Their Contact Information
After you build initial interest with the user, it’s time to get their contact information and get to know them better. The guidelines for building sign up forms should include what you would ask someone when you are trying to date them. Anything more than this is invasive and awkward.
The first step in building a sign up form should always be someone’s name. Compliment the user on their name, and make them feel special. I truly care about making people feel awesome, and all designers should incorporate that principal into their products.
The next step is getting to know their specific contact information. The fundamental principal should be to only ask for 1 contact line, either their phone number or email. If you ask for both, it’s awkward and invasive. 1 social handle is acceptable, but asking for multiple social handles gives the impression you’re building up a profile of the user. Don’t make it feel like that. It should be a conversation with the user, not building a profile.
Enable the user to talk about themselves, don’t ask the questions. Extract the data through conversations using NLP or if your building an MVP then focus on prebuilt responses and have the user make selections.
Depending how long the user is on the website, the experience should change. We can use the Naive Bayes Machine Learning Algorithm to build a predictive model on what questions to ask. The longer the user is on the site, the more personal we can make the questions. This allows for advanced data extraction that would seem invasive before, but now seems normal because of the deepen engagement.
Logic + Emotional Parameters For Step 2
6+ Minutes On App Or Website: These questions should be philosophical based answers to understand how the user views the world. Questions about religion, politics, and background can begin to be asked with the utmost respect and caution. This truly begins to get inside the mind of the user, and with these responses you can design amazing curated experiences.
Reference The Emotion Wheel Above
Current User Emotion: Admiration/Serenity About Sign Up Process
Desired User Emotion: Submission: “Harvest As Much Data As Possible”
3+ Minutes On App Or Website: We want to limit these questions to lifestyle. Surprise them and wow them during this step in the funnel. Don’t get too personal, but get to know them. Figure out what they like and what superficially makes them happy. Appeal to their tangible desires, and enable your product to fill that void. This is the middle ground, and the most dangerous when designing conversational experiences.
Current User Emotion: Apprehension/Amazement About Sign Up Process
Desired User Emotion: Awe: “Trust The Product”
1+ Minutes On App Or Website: Limit these questions to mostly small talk, and keep it brief. The key is to not force anything the user doesn’t want to talk about. It’s better to focus on trust through natural communication then asking something the user doesn’t feel comfortable with!
Current User Emotion: Trust/Interest About Sign Up Process
Desired User Emotion: Optimism: “Desire To Get Know The Product More”
3rd Step • The First Product Experience!
This is your moment to wow the user with your product’s personality, and show the value of the product to the user. Most likely, a user will dedicate 30 minute to 1 hour to identify if your product is worthwhile.
The first date sets the tone of your entire relationship. Presentation, organization, chivalry, sophistication, and class should ooze from your existence. The key focus is having a solid well-devised plan that shows thought and effort. This allows both parties to feel comfortable, and creates a worthwhile experience. Now, let’s apply these same principals to building the first product interaction.
The most important aspect is a refined on-boarding process that makes the user feel comfortable. This is crucial to first impressions, and should put your product’s best foot forward. On-boarding is one of the most overlooked design experiences, yet it’s the most important. Failing to understand the product leads to disconnect, and awkwardness.
Make the experience memorable. Don’t take the user on an experience they’ve had before. It will lead to your users not returning back to your app for a second date.
The experience should dynamically change based on the emotional state of the user. Machine Learning plays a vital role in understanding how the user is feeling. A variety of cue and instance words should be built into the logic of your application that actively data mines their consciousness.
Logic + Emotional Parameters For Step 3
Maximum Level Of Data (Trust): This experience should be the most intimate and focus on deepening the user’s connection. Understand the user’s fears and primal desires. Ultimate knowledge of the user. The goal is to create a product they feel more comfortable with than their best friend. Technology should replace human interaction for maximum engagement.
Reference The Emotion Wheel Above
Current User Emotion: Admiration/Serenity About Using Product
Desired User Emotion: Submission: “I’m Falling In Love With This Product”
Medium Level Of Data (Acceptance): This should be more service based and less focused on self. Provide useful features the user finds helpful, and in time slowly they will begin to share more data. The goal should be to create a friend that’s always there for them, then over time you will start to have more intimate conversations.
Current User Emotion: Apprehension/Amazement About Product
Desired User Emotion: Awe: “This Product Is So Interesting”
Minimum Level Of Data (Apprehension): The initial stage should be focused on very minimal dialogue until you find how your product can connect to the user. Focus on creating situations that will allow the user to want to come to your product. Create instance cases that your product fills and slowly the user will advance a tier.
Current User Emotion: Trust/Interest About Sign Up Process
Desired User Emotion: Optimism: “Maybe This Product Might Be Cool”
How Quantum Physics Connects To It All
Understanding how the world connects on a subatomic level will allow you as a designer to begin to structure experiences based on the world around us. This will enable natural and primal experiences a user will truly fall in love with.
Limbic Resonance is a term in Quantum Physics that describes how humans are able to share deep emotional connections using their Limbic System inside their brain. What’s the Limbic System? It’s the system that combines higher mental functions and primitive emotion into one system.
The Limbic System controls emotional intelligence. So now you might start to understand the insane connection between conversational user interfaces, and the primal system of a human.
I don’t want to get too deep inside the Quantum Physics rabbit hole, I just wanted to try to spark a connection so you can begin to research on your own.
Concluding Thoughts About The New Framework
I gave you guys some exciting parameters to work with! Currently, I’m building 100+ parameters that control the human brain. Very soon, I will be releasing a wireframe kit for Artificial Intelligence.
Sketch, TensorFlow, ReactJS, + Quantum Physics = The AI Designer
2017 is the year everyone is going to say “wow AI got crazy good.”