Final onboarding design


Polco is a platform that enables representatives to connect and gather actionable input and statistically relevant data to better serve their community.



At the time, Polco was onboarding customers with in-person meetings, a lot of patience, and much hand-holding after that. It’s pretty accurate if you imagine their customers as an older crowd that’s less tech-savvy. Customers struggled to learn how to use the platform and this was affecting Polco’s growth and user retention. Our goal was to create Polco’s first onboarding experience that cements their understanding of how to use the product and learn the value of the product along the way.



Project lead
Interaction design
Design research


Expert review, competitive analysis, secondary research, stakeholder interviews, synthesis, hand sketching, wireframing, rapid prototyping, moderated in-person usability testing

Working with Tiffany was a fantastic experience from end to end. Even in the relatively short duration of the project, she conducted user interviews and was able to quickly internalize many of the unique nuances of our target audience and incorporate that knowledge into the design.
— Alex Pedersen, COO at Polco

Design audit and problem space

We found that the platform wasn’t connecting customers to the value and instead the confusion distracted the user. The navigation, for example, was trying to do too many things and UI elements were used inconsistently.


ERAF diagram of Polco's platform

Users find value in tools enabled them to work faster because the nature of their work in public service already moves too slow. Additionally, users were looking for statistically relevant data to help city council understand the people they reach out to. These insights helped us to prioritize what features to call out.


Path to value inside the product

Onboarding is enabling our customers to set up a group, manage admins, integrate social media, and post a policy in the most simple way.

Retrofitting an ideal flow

Our biggest constraint was that the scope of work only included the onboarding experience regardless if the platform made sense. What? Despite that we were in a position to help users compartmentalize how to post a policy by defining relevant and valuable steps where it made most sense. From a growth perspective, we optimized for a short, concise journey to retain new users and turn them into long-term, engaged users.


Retrofitted onboarding flow for the existing Polco platform


Help users stay focused and motivated

Knowing that the product had a lot of things in the interface that were distracting and not easily discernible, we teach them how to use product and show the value it provides with contextual interactions, such as tooltips and state-specific interface elements. We also keep users informed of their progress throughout the onboarding process. Our strategy was to empower the users to take action by weaving the onboarding into the product.


Original Polco dashboard (left) and our first wireframe (right)


Copy Nuances

We wanted to guide the user through the platform but also wanted to give them freedom to skip it. Does it make more sense to let users skip that specific step or should we let them skip the whole onboarding? Does ‘skip’ and ‘next’ mean something different? 


Q: You want to navigate the next page. Which option do you prefer and why?

Polco_Preference Testing1
Polco_Preference Testing2

Preference test option 1

Preference test option 2

Skip make me think that I am skipping and going to the next step. With Next, I am not sure if I still have to do the step. —Participant A
Assuming I know how to add a group, I would choose skip because I want the pop up to go away. Next implies that there will be another tool tip regardless if I don’t want help. —Participant B
Skip feels like I’m being lazy or neglecting something I should do, while next feels like it’s okay for me to move on to the next page. —Participant C

9/10 participants preferred ‘Skip.’

Polco_Preference Testing Data

Design decisions

We learned from our testing that...
users were distracted by the content in the empty state.

We iterated the designs to...
keep the user focused with less prominent instructional text.


We learned...
users were clicking on the word 'here' in the tool tip, instead of the button.

We designed for...
clearer instructions by choosing words carefully to prevent similar errors.



In this project I understood the power of close collaboration with stakeholders can really help paint a clear design vision meant to balance user, business, and technology needs. Polco enjoyed collaborating with us and was very happy with the designs.

View prototype