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Help app users see value quickly
Keep time to value short
Ten-Pin Bowling plays with our emotions. On the one hand, knocking all 10 pins down, a strike, makes us feel great and, possibly, a little smug. On the other hand, when our ball ends up in a gutter, the walk of shame back to our seat, wearing those clown shoes, feels endless.
Bowling Alley Framework
In Ten-Pin Bowling, 10 pins (or skittles) stand in a triangle 30 metres away from the player. Between the player and the pins is a 1 meter wide wooden lane with gutters either side. The goal of the player is to roll a 6 kg ball down the lane and knock over as many pins as possible. New players can find it frustrating when their ball drops into a gutter, scoring no points. To avoid this, bumpers along the left and right side of the lane can be deployed. The bumpers bounce the ball back along the lane with the usual result of knocking some pins down.
Product-Led Growth is about helping your customers experience the ongoing value your product provides. It is a critical step in successful product design. - Nir Eyal
I’m talking about bowling because it’s a good analogy for explaining how to help users experience an app’s value quickly. Our Product Led Growth post considers when a try before you buy offering is appropriate for app users. If it is then the Bowling Alley Framework can help users stay focused on achieving a meaningful outcome. Users that do are more likely to convert to paying customers. The Bowling Alley Framework comprises: 1. Develop straight line to value, 2. Product bumper, 3. Conversational bumper.
Develop straight line to value
As you remove pain and friction from your user’s experience of attaining their valued objective, your total addressable market grows. - Richard Kipp
Pain and friction are minimised by establishing a straight line onboarding path in our app for users. To establish a straight line to value, minimise the number and complexity of steps to achieve a desired outcome. Once we have drafted our onboarding process, consider if each step is necessary for the user to get the first meaningful outcome. If not, remove it, e.g. if a user email is required, is email confirmation strictly necessary to onboard them?
When users get sidetracked or leave the product, it’s our duty to bump them back in the right direction. - Wes Bush
Product bumpers are mission critical. They help users adopt the product within the app itself and include:
Welcome message: Personalise, restate value proposition and set expectations.
Product tours: Limit to three to five critical steps. Ask users what they are trying to achieve and, if appropriate, catapult them into relevant parts of the app.
Progress bars: Shows user’s progress towards a goal.
Checklists: Break down big tasks into smaller achievable ones, e.g. relating to setup.
Onboarding tooltips: Help users learn how to achieve a meaningful outcome.
Empty states: Provide meaningful defaults and prompts for users to take the next steps.
Conversational bumpers educate users, bring them back into the app and encourage account upgrade. Communication can be via email, videos, notifications or text messages. The product bumpers include: Onboarding emails, e.g. welcome, usage tips, usage reviews, case studies, surveys, and expiry warnings, Push notifications, Explainer videos and Direct mail.
How to Create Product-Driven Growth talk by Kieran Flanagan
Measure What Matters book by John Doerr
Help Users Do Things post by Phil Martin
Next time you’re swaggering back to your seat after a strike in Ten-Pin Bowling, remember, you still look ridiculous in those clown shoes.