USER ONBOARDING  |  Case study with Extempore

FTUE - NEW.png



My role


Extempore is an educational platform for foreign languages. Teachers can use it to create speaking assignments for their students.

Potential customers were dropping off during the onboarding flow. They also disengaged from the product during the free 30-day trial period.

To demonstrate a solution, the team designed a new user onboarding flow and first time site experience.

Leading effort to map and analyze entire existing user onboarding and first time experience flow.

Extensive competitive research and analysis of similar platforms to assess potential solutions.

Collaborating on cognitive walkthroughs, remote usability testing and synthesis of resulting data.

Aligning content strategy to support research findings and user tasks, particularly in first time site experience.


Partner | Extempore

Tools & Methods

  • Axure, Sketch, Trello

  • Stakeholder interview

  • Competitive research

  • Cognitive walkthroughs

  • Usability testing

  • Content strategy

  • Heuristic analysis

  • Interactive prototype

  • User personas



Stakeholder interview

The design team connected with one of Extempore's founders and learned:

  • The product has shown proof of concept with a 100% renewal rate on institutional accounts

  • Analytics show user drop-off at every step of onboarding

  • Business strategy is to organically grow the user base via web traffic and an email pipeline 


Heuristic analysis

Analysis flagged 18 heuristics issues during the user onboarding flow. Analysis helped determine areas of focus for cognitive walkthroughs.

Cognitive walkthroughs

 Walkthroughs with current users surfaced the following insights:

  • They used video tutorials and activity ebooks to get started using the product

  • Extempore is a flexible and customizable tool for instructors

  • Participants said getting started could be challenging, but were pleased with the product


User testing and rapid prototyping

Ten foreign language teachers were recruited for baseline usability testing. Rapid iterations and and testing of prototypes showed:

  • Participants accessed tutorial videos available in the onboarding flow

  • They had many questions about terminology used on forms

  • Students and their experience of the tool were their top priority


The existing onboarding flow created too much cognitive load for first time users and finished at the first time user experience ‘dashboard’ without a clear call to action.

The proposed design uses appropriate content labels, incorporates help along the way and a clear call to action upon arrival.

Design rationale - first time user experience

Previous first time user experience

Proposed first time user experience

  • There is no clear call to action on the classes page

  • Hierarchy and alignment do not guide the user

  • No further explanation on how to onboard students

  • Help videos shown earlier in flow are no longer accessible

  • Help materials are visible and always accessible from the bottom of the page and can be easily closed

  • The classes page (underneath the help overlay) has clear hierarchy and call to action

  • The call to action clearly states the best way to onboard students to Extempore

View demo video of prototype