Mailbox for Android First Time User Experience

The good bits:

  • Mailbox has a very concise intro, skipping the typical multi-panel product tour. The first screen is a simple splash that auto-scrolls after a delay to bring the user as quickly as possible to an actionable state (a prompt to log in to DropBox).
  • If pre-authorized to the user’s Gmail account, no additional login prompt is needed. All the subsequent tutorial messaging uses “Gmail” words (I’m curious if the app swaps those words out with “Exchange” if the user signs in with a non-Gmail account).
  • After signing in, Mailbox presents a welcome screen as a lead-in to tutorial content (“Get Started”). A user can choose to skip out by tapping the “x” icon.
  • If the user taps the “Get Started” button, she is presented with a unique type of user-guided tutorial. At first, it seems that she is viewing static slides not too dissimilar from the 2nd slideshow of Google Sheets. Actually, each panel presents an interactive illustration of a sample inbox. The slides progress if the user completes the specified action on the sample illustration. Each action covers one of the four main product features. This is an interesting take on the user-guided tutorial because it allows the user to play with the app’s features with dummy content, without accidentally deleting her own mail items.
  • This user-guided tutorial can be dismissed at any time, and also can serve as a diversion while accounts are being synced. 

To be improved:

  • It’s unfortunate that the forced Dropbox sign-in prompt appears before the sample tutorial. The user-guided instruction could be leveraged to help upsell new users on creating an account.
  • The wireframe style of the illustrations can make it difficult to realize that they are interactive.  The bold headlines on each panel garner the most attention, but are title-cased and seem to be speaking about a feature in general. It’s only if the user reads to the last line (“Try [feature]”) that they understand that the instruction applies to that specific moment.
  • There are 5 icons at the top of the user-guided tutorial to indicate what feature is being covered. These don’t appear to be interactive (I was trying at points to tap one to go back to a previous step) and they also don’t work well as a progress indicator because they don’t highlight from left-to-right.

Love when the icon system is big in chunky-so important to understand the ease of clicking and finger size. This system does it well.