Amazon First-Time User Experience

Dates: May 2018 to August 2018
Team: Scott Dombkowski
Work Type: Professional

While at Amazon, I was tasked with working with UX, development, and customers to create the first-time user experience (FTUE) for a new internal tool.

The New Tool

The new internal tool will serve as a central source for costs and be used by analysts to most effectively determine prices. With the new tool users will save time sourcing the data, have that data available at all time, and be able to create reports quickly to make better business decisions.

Early Research

To get a understanding of the new tool and how a FTUE could fit into that tool, I took part in 5 customer interviews, reviewed available SCT project documents, reviewed Amazon internal tools to better understand their FTUE, and reviewed my team's current wireframes and other UX deliverables.

Research Activities

From this research and meeting with customers firsthand I saw the need for a FTUE, elements that provide direction and a point of entry, so that users know what to do when first entering the tool and have a way to deepen their knowledge of the application.

"I'm not sure what to do. I'm not sure where to go. You make your own dashboard, and tailor it to your own needs that is what I assume."

"I feel a little like I was dropped into a white room and not sure what to do first, where should I go and so on."

Roles Identified in Research

Adding to the complexity, I came to know there were five different user roles in the new tool and each of the roles had their own unique needs.

I focused specifically on two roles, because the workflows for these two types of users had for the most part been worked out, while the other role flows were being developed.


Through my research, I saw that:

  • Users were not familiar with the new tool's purpose, functionality, or terminology.
  • Users have limited time. The value of new tool and the FTUE needs to be clear.
  • Across the organization, customers want transparency, controllership, and clear communication built into their tools.
  • Users want to know why they should use a tool.
  • Users want to know how to best use the tool.
Design Goals

By looking for patterns and customer needs from my early summer research, I was able to create a set of goals:

  • The FTUE needs to demonstrate the new tool's value
  • The FTUE needs to reduce a user's learning curve
  • The FTUE needs to convert new users into regular users
Design Considerations

I was also able to establish a number of design considerations:

  • Not overly prescriptiveThe FTUE should present itself when it is needed and not interfere with the user completing any activities
  • As contextual and relevant as possibleUsers will enter the tool from a variety of roles and experiences, the FTUE needs to provide the user the most pertinent information to their unique situation
  • Easy to buildThere were pre-existing challenges to get the development team to develop exactly what is designed. I also acknowledged that the FTUE will be at the bottom of the development team's storyboard, so I need to make it as easy as possible to build.
  • Reusable in other projectsMy team was also involved in a internal human interface guidelines (HIG) project. I attempted to make every component I designed usable in that HIG and other projects.
Design Direction

With this information, I designed 7 components that work together to create a FTUE. These components are broken into two phases with different purposes.

FTUE Phases

FTUE User Flow

Phase 1

Phase 1 and its components are designed for a user to understand what the new tool is, why they should use it, and how they should get started.

Welcome Email
Welcome Component

Early Welcome Component Mockup

Welcome Component Walkthroughs Framer Prototype

Welcome Component Help Dropdown Framer Prototype

Welcome Component Hint and Tips Framer Prototype

Phase 2

Phase 2 and its components are designed for a user to understand how to most effectively use the new tool.

Walkthrough Progress Component

Walkthrough Framer Prototype

Walkthrough Pause Framer Prototype

Tooltips and Popovers
Help Dropdown

Welcome Component Dismiss Framer Prototype

Tooltip Dismiss Framer Prototype

Additional In-App Informational Pages
Usability Testing

To see what worked and what did not work, I conducted usability testing by completing one hour interviews with seven participants from throughout the organization.

To conduct the interviews, I created a script, with a variety of questions, some more oriented towards usability and others more oriented towards a/b testing. I also created an InVision prototype to to be used during the interviews.

Results and Implications of Usability Testing
User Sentiments

Overall, the reception was positive to the FTUE.

"It's so much better [than other tools] that its not meaningful. Not a whole lot of tools I use have these intro elements that I have seen on here"

"I think it fits together. I am excited for it to launch."

"This is a lot better. Most other tools don't have any other training or have some very high level video that is outdated or not suited to my needs. This is ad hoc training. Training that comes up when needed."

Future Considerations

Outstanding questions I had when I left for the summer included:

  • How can the new tool's team know where users are having the most trouble?
  • What are the most relevant walkthroughs for each of the roles?
  • What is the most intuitive popover/welcome element dismiss functionality?