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Mobile Apps & The First Time User Experience (FTUE): A Case Study of Brainscape
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Mobile Apps & The First Time User Experience (FTUE): A Case Study of Brainscape



Brainscape is a remarkable learning platform designed by cognitive science experts to help users learn faster. You can use Brainscape to study for the MCAT, or to create flashcards to learn all the ...

Brainscape is a remarkable learning platform designed by cognitive science experts to help users learn faster. You can use Brainscape to study for the MCAT, or to create flashcards to learn all the important people at work. Based on my experience as a management consultant, e-commerce entrepreneur, and a Zynga product manager I provided a diagnostic of Brainscape's current FTUE, and created a roadmap to make the app better retain users, drive viral installs, and improve new buyer conversion.



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Mobile Apps & The First Time User Experience (FTUE): A Case Study of Brainscape Presentation Transcript

  • 1. This document is confidential and is intended solely for the use and information of the client to whom it is addressed Brainscape First Time User Experience (FTUE) Assessment June 2013 John Asalone jasalone@gmail.com FOR BRAINSCAPE INTERNAL USE ONLY
  • 2. Purpose Purpose of this document: 1. Establish goals for FTUE 2. Assess current FTUE against goals 3. Make recommendations 4. Establish KPIs What this document DOES NOT do: 1. Spec/wireframe features 2. Estimate expected outcomes 3. Ranking features based on ROI What are recommendations based on: Experience as revenue Product Manager for a Facebook game with 35M monthly users Experience as a Lead PM for a mobile (Unity) action-strategy game in development Experience observing mobile launches/early releases of several mid-core games (Solstice Arena, War of the Fallen, Ayakashi) Product insights shared internally (e.g., game deconstructs, AppAnnie data) and PM working groups 1
  • 3. Agenda Current Understanding Goals of FTUE Analysis of FTUE Recommendations FTUE recommendations ranked by ROI Appendix 2
  • 4. Current Understanding Brainscape Today: 5M+ downloads User love with avg. 4.5+ ratings Synced web/mobile environment Majority of $ comes from single subject apps Assumptions: 1. Engineering time most scarce resource 2. No major social features possible before iOS 7 3. UX re-design underway 4. Growth/monetization/retention KPIs equally valued 3
  • 5. Goals for a FTUE 4 Teach System New Buyer Conversion Retention Monetization Virality/Growth Market Display / Spend Behavior  Teach System: Show users what makes Brainscape special, and how deep the experience can be  Personalize: Allow users to make the experience their own  Wins: Make users feel successful, accomplished  Start Return Mechanism: Require user to start action that will trigger a notif (or email) to return user to app  New Buyer Conversion: Convert non-payers into payers through previewing content  Market Display: Show premium marketplace and/or establish a spend behavior (if using a virtual currency/credit system)  Share w/ Friends: Give users an easy way to share/brag about their experience with friends  Word-of-mouth: Give users a reason (preferably based on science) to bring others into eco-system 1 2 3 Personal -ize Wins! Share w/ Friends Word-of-mouth A well-constructed FTUE should drive Retention, Monetization, and Virality Start Return Mech.
  • 6. Overview (Current FTUE, main app) Welcome! Do you have an account? (Yes, No) Purpose Statement (Skip) Select Subject (4 options, Login) Credibility Statement (Skip) Select sub- Subject (Random Mix option) Deck Summary (Start, Card List, How to Use) Flashcard (Show card, self-assess) Explanation of Rating System 5 more cards Win Statement (Mastery value) 20+ more cards You‘ve Seen X Cards (Buy Now, More Info, No Thanks) No Thanks (more cards shown) Master of Deck (card still shown) 5 Symbol Description (D): Direct Retention driver; (I): Indirect Retention driver Monetization driver Virality driver D $ Notes: App downloaded was the main ―Brainscape‖ app. App downloaded onto a 2nd generation iPad. iOS version 6.1.3 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 I V D I I I I I I I $ Current FTUE (main Brainscape app) Legend Account creation allows direct user contact; contributes to personalization (+1) Allowing choice here significantly reduces control over FTUE process (-1) Opportunity to brag about Brainscape‘s approach (+1) ‗Win‘ events can increase D1 retention; add visual effect (+1) I saw a $9.99 purchase; too high to generate new buyer conversion (- 1) FTUE never ends and no chance given to viral (-1)
  • 7. FTUE Assessment The current FTUE addresses several basic FTUE goals, and there are several opportunities for improvements. 6 Category Sub-category Evaluation Summary Comments Retention Teaching Good Screen tips address credibility, sources; more cognitive science info could be tested Personalize Fair Creating account is great, but benefits are not clear and this is the 1st FTUE step Wins Fair FTUE celebrates success; adding visual cues + ensuring mastery are easy wins Return Mechanism Poor No user action triggers return event; using repetition theory here could help Monetization New Buyer Conv. Fair $ opp in FTUE is good; but subject choice could lead to high prices shown Marketplace Poor FTUE does not provide sense of system depth (i.e., # of decks created) Virality Share w/ Friends Poor No friction-less way to share w/ friends Word of Mouth Poor No reason (science-based or otherwise) to tell friends Evaluation Criteria  Excellent: Utilizing best-practices; opportunity for novel improvements  Good: Utilizing several best practices; opportunity for improvement  Fair: Several best practices missing; significant opportunity for improvement  Poor: Few if any best practices; most opportunity for improvement
  • 8. Retention: Teaching 7 What’s great: Screen tips have proven to be a driver of user actions The current language makes some specific claims, explains the system, and clearly demonstrates the repetition system Areas of improvement 1. Claims: Consider stronger claims about the benefits to repetition (to generate return actions, bolster your IP) 2. Sources: Strengthen source of material (to add confidence and credibility to app) 3. Direct FTUE: Create a set of 3 (easy )cards that are part of your FTUE, then show marketplace. And have an end to the FTUE!
  • 9. Retention: Personalization What’s great: Ability to sync cards across devices. Candy Crush saga—the most successful mobile game today—users this synchronization to drive web-to-mobile installs Areas of improvement: 1. Identification: Allow users to self-select (Student, Life-long learner, Educator) to allow messages to be customized 2. Advertise: Explain benefits of creating account, such as making your own cards 3. Download reason: Identify download reason (e.g., memory, test prep, focus) to optimize future notifs 8 Why do I want to create an account? What‘s the benefit? This info helps target future ads, and potentially w/ matchmaking These questions make me a part of the studying process. Sources: "Why Millions Can’t Stop Matching Candy on Their Phone" Do you want users to have an account and play web & mobile? If so, surface that.
  • 10. Retention: Wins! / Level Up / Mastery What’s great: Current FTUE takes time to celebrate user that user ―got the hang of it.‖ Creating aspirational arc (x% mastery) Areas of improvement: 1. Visual Cue: Best practice is to combine visual cues + sounds with success (e.g., add a fireworks graphics and sound) 2. Lower-mastery bar: Creating a more guided FUTE with fewer cards, easier questions can generate higher mastery scores, which may translate to higher retention 3. Frequency of feedback (not for FTUE): Provide positive feedback more regularly (e.g., three ―5s‖ in a row). 9 Celebratory statements are great, but should be combined with visual cues. Mini-golf matchup has a distinct visual cue when a user makes a hole-in- one.
  • 11. Retention: Return Mechanism Problem: Completion of FTUE does not trigger a return mechanism (e.g., notif, reminder email, optimum study frequency) Areas of improvement: 1. Use Screen Tips for Return Mechanism: Instruct users on ideal study frequency to help with D1, D7 retention 2. Reminders: Establish a reminder system (notif, emails) so that users are reminded to return. Contextual notifs, whereby the return action is related to a user-action, can account for 10%+ of daily users 10 Studies show that memory improves with daily repetition Use screen tips to encourage retention. Subtle reminders can generate user returns. Notifications (contextual) can be extremely powerful. The Archer Tower started 2 days ago is now ready! Account creation can generate an email.
  • 12. Monetization: New Buyer Conversion / Marketplace What’s great: Revenue option is presented within the FTUE Areas of improvement: 1. Lower first-transaction cost: Without controlling the FTUE flashcards, you don‘t have control over the pricing shown. $9.99 is a very high first transaction price. 2. Virtual Currency: If you create a virtual currency, you can grant players some credits on install, and have them spend that credit during the FTUE. Spend behavior leads to conversion. 3. Open Marketplace: Show depth of subjects available after FTUE 11 Great showing how to purchase the deck. After guided FTUE return user to marketplace to discover other topics.
  • 13. Virality: Share w/ Friends + Word of Mouth What’s great: You already have ―Sharing‖ tech built out Areas of improvement: 1. Study w/Friends (invite): If there is a cognitive science reason around studying with friends, or having others hold you accountable, it would be great to build sharing into the FTUE. I‘ve seen FTUE‘s generating 30-50% of users inviting friends into the app. 2. Word of Mouth (screen tips): Based on app ratings people love your app. Similar to screen tips, I‘d like to communicate a rationale for why a user should want to tell others about the app. 12 Existing tech should be built into the FTUE with the goal of 25% of installs sending the app to friends.
  • 14. Summarized Recommendations / Feature Sizing 13 Category Sub-category Recommendation KPI UX DEV Feature Size ROI Retention Teaching Screen tip: methodology claim D1 retention  Small TBD Screen tip sources claim D1 retention  Small TBD Direct custom FTUE D1 retention   Large TBD Personalize Self-identification D7 retention   Medium TBD Advertise account syncing D7 retention  Small TBD Download reason D7 retention   Medium TBD Wins Visual, sound win cue D1 retention   Medium TBD Lower mastery bar D1 retention   Medium TBD Return Mechanism Screen tip: study frequency D3 retention  Small TBD Notifs/reminders/email D1-30 retention   Large TBD Monetization New Buyer Conv. Lower transaction $ New buyer conv.   Medium TBD Virtual currency New/repeat buyer   Large TBD Marketplace Open marketplace New buyer conv   Medium TBD Virality Share w/ Friends Share/invite friends Installs   Small TBD Word of Mouth Screen tip: give reason to share Installs   Small TBD Feature Sizing Assumptions  Large: Requires UX/Dev; 1 Dev @ 4+ weeks  Medium: Requires UX/Dev; 1 Dev @ 2-4 weeks  Small: Mostly UX; 1 Dev <1 week
  • 15. Agenda Current Understanding Goals of FTUE Analysis of FTUE Recommendations FTUE recommendations ranked by ROI Appendix 14
  • 16. Candy Crush Saga Quotes "The core thing with Candy Crush is that it is available on multiple platforms, and ... there is the social side. It's something you can do with friends and family – that's something we see a lot of," Tommy Palm, King's Mobile Guru, told ABC News. You can log in to the game with your Facebook account and not only does that sync your game progress across devices, but it allows you to see where your Facebook friends are in the plus-300 level game on a map. That's just the basic social integration, though. King has engineered the game to be all about social assistance. You get five lives per level. Once you run out you cannot advance to the next level unless you pay 99 cents or request extra lives from friends. That's where the mobile aspect comes in. Palm says the game has become a "mobile phenomena" with people checking and playing the game multiple times a day on their phones. Kahn, like 10 million others playing on their phones, says she plays multiple times a day whether it is on her commute or at home. "It's a very great time passer. It makes the time go by very quickly," she says. – http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/candy-crush-saga-millions-stop-crushing-candy-facebook/story?id=19314358#.Ucm9vD5ARXc The panel agreed that the standard 40 percent day 1 retention, 20 percent day 7 and 10 percent day 30 was a good rule of thumb. http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/candy-crush-saga-millions-stop-crushing-candy-facebook/story?id=19314358#.Ucm9vD5ARXc 15