New user onboarding – Purpose
We see about 200k sign-ups a month on Stack Overflow alone. These newly registered users (signed up within the year) contribute 30% of questions and 50% of question closures are for questions asked by low rep users (< 10). Asking and answering questions can be intimidating for even the most veteran of users and different system barriers make participation on the site difficult. By providing upfront guidance about site mechanics, community expectations, and content quality standards, we can help new users become confident contributors on Stack Overflow and the Stack Exchange sites.
As new users become more successful at crafting better questions and answers and ramping up on community standards themselves, we expect less work maintaining content quality for our curator community.
To put it simply, we want to create an onboarding experience that lowers the learning curve for new users and encourages them to participate in the community. We’re not bound to any solutions right now, but we would like the experience to include the following aspects:
- Focus on teaching new users – provide all they need to know to start off on the right foot
- Be action-oriented – help users successfully complete tasks
- Deliver value at each step – each completed task should feel like an accomplishment and motivate users to take the next action
- Introduce the Stack Overflow ecosystem – expose SO users to other aspects of our site (Stack Exchange sites, Teams)
At a minimum, a robust onboarding experience will help set expectations about community standards and, at best, help new users successfully engage on our platform.
We are in the early stages of user research. You may have seen questions related to new user onboarding in the site satisfaction survey. We will provide updates on Meta as we continue to plan out our discovery approach. If you are interested in participating in future research, please visit your email settings and opt-in to research.
As always, we are interested in the community’s thoughts and welcome discussion on this project.