People bring technology to life – how to design better onboarding


In technology projects the technology may actually be the easiest part. More difficult part is getting users to use it once the project is closed.

When it comes to technology, you easily focus on the technology itself – does the tool have all the bells and whistles you need, is the UX as intuitive and simple as possible, how reliable is the vendor, where is the data stored, how attractive is the pricing. A lot of resources can be used to find out what kind of features users find particularly useful to reach the viable fit between complexity of features and simplicity of use. Comparing the license terms and pricing can take time. Once the solution has been carefully selected and all users are signed up and trained to use it, the project is successfully closed, right?

Only, this is just the halfway mark. Or even less. Technology itself has no value if the users are not using it. Every user is an individual, who has her/his own way of getting work done. Own routines, own preferences and also own fears and emotions towards new technologies. Every user probably has also their daily work to get done and it is difficult to find time for learning and change.

So how can you avoid technology of not becoming shelfware i.e. technology that someone in the organisation considered interesting but that no one uses.

You need to get people involved in the process.

Based on our experiences, feedback and discussions with our users, we have developed an onboarding process that originates from design thinking. An iterative process with small steps to start, improve and expand.

In the process we listen to learn about our users and their needs, we mutually define the targets for using Contract Mill and ideate a concrete plan to make sense of what we have learned. We prototype with the selected templates and bring them to test and thereafter the actual use is backed up with our user support. The process is iterative and is adjusted to the schedule and specific needs of each client. During the onboarding we can also find the right resources for making the automation work from our network, if that is preferred.

From client’s perspective, iterative and agile onboarding gives the possibility to start small and reduce risk of project choking to its massiveness. If you try to get all your templates automated and all your users onboard at the same time, it can get too huge a task and people who were hesitant even before about the new tool, are even more convinced that this is never going to happen. On the other hand, if you start experimenting with a pilot and expand it from there, you get instant gratification which encourages you to continue with the project to get more and more out of it. Our platform allows you to start with even just one automated variable without the need to fix the whole decision tree from the beginning and add variables and complexity as you learn more.

We think that onboarding is more than a technical process. We value onboarding greatly as it is our moment to interact directly with the users. We want our users to feel that they are taken care of throughout the process and they are not alone wondering whatever should be done or happen next. That is why a critical element in the onboarding process is the help and care we provide in every step of the way.

We see each client and user as unique and every onboarding process as opportunity to learn directly from the people we are designing for. By our onboarding we help our clients to design superpowers for their business.