Always be onboarding

This case study reimagines what onboarding could look like for Concept2’s SkiErg.

Once a customer buys your product – then what? The onboarding experience that follows should be as rich and engaging as everything that led up to that crucial vote of confidence. On its own, a standard sale is not the time to celebrate. Rather it’s a golden opportunity to stay focused on the much bigger prize that is still up for grabs: earning a repeat customer and product evangelist for life.


What could be.  Onboarding at Concept2.
What could be. Onboarding at Concept2.

Show them what you got

Whatever it is you do – show them in EVERYTHING you do.

Each customer communication is a chance to remind your audience what it is you do and reinforce the essence of your brand.  There is never a moment when the show is not on – never a minute when you want your audience to see that man with the crazy hair pulling levers behind a curtain.

Whether it’s answering the phone, checking a bag or printing out a ticket, every customer touchpoint is part of a larger story playing out.

When you join Seattle Art Museum, of course you get your membership card and a welcome letter.  At many places that might be all you get.  But at SAM you also get a little bit of what they do – which is art.

Simple but gorgeous onboarding materials let you know you’re in good hands.  As you handle the nicely printed paper and read the content, just like that – you’re taking in a private exhibit at your kitchen table.  The SAM brand has come to you.

Which makes it a lot more likely you’ll now go visit SAM.

Onboarding materials from Seattle Art Museum.

Better experience for The New Yorker’s Cartoon Caption Contest

In this case study I take a look at how playing the New Yorker cartoon caption contest could be improved to support wider participation and better overall experience.


To begin with the end – here’s my design:

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Designing cross-channel experience at Airbnb

Back in January I covered the first annual O’Reilly Design Conference in San Francisco for UX Booth.  Put on by the seminal tech publisher and force Tim O’Reilly, the gathering of designers did not disappoint.

Here’s my first article for UX Booth on the experience, recapping a great keynote by Airbnb’s Head of Experience Design, Katie Dill, on how to design for offline experiences.

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Katie Dill at the 2016 O’Reilly Design Conference.


From email to web | Cross-channel experience at REI

Seattle’s REI gets a lot of things right.  20 years ago, the Northwest icon had the foresight to build a new flagship headquarters in a rundown area next to I-5.  Today the building is in the center of a booming techlandia, surrounded by cranes and glass towers.  The store has become a model of enduring physical shopping experience and is not going away anytime soon.

REI also gets it right in the digital world.  Here’s an example from a recent email campaign.  Watch how REI moves the customer effortlessly from email to web.