A new user’s guide to value

Conceptual illustration of project management app


Aiven is a SaaS product which offers managed open-source cloud services to developers.

Developers can test the services with a free trial. Although the product can also be used through API and Terraform, the web app is the point of entrance for first-time visitors.

Aiming to help users get started quickly, grow conversions, and reduce customer support work, the team set out to create a new user onboarding experience.

The web app has a polished design and it keeps getting better as you use it. Yet time is of the essense with SaaS trials. The question was: how do we help first-time visitors get to value quickly?

My role

I worked as a project co-owner together with a growth specialist. We collaborated with teams in marketing, analytics, product, engineering , and customer support to deliver the experience.

I facilitated workshops to align priorities, collaborated with customer-facing teams to surface user insights, created onboarding flows, and helped set up user analytics.

What do we want to test?

In the discovery phase, I facilitated Lean UX workshops to define hypotheses for testing. The process helped connect the dots and align priorities across functions.

Personas: Liisa, color-blind climate activist; Antti, climate activist; Max, university student; Timo, school teacher; Anna, entrepreneur

The Lean UX approach helps teams move quickly from assumptions to hypotheses, with a shared understanding of priorities and desired outcomes.

One, two, three

Collaborating with customer-facing teams—sales, customer success, and customer support—helped surface user insights and identify areas of opportunity.

Based on what we learned there, I created onboarding flows through a couple of iterations, internal feedback and adjustments. This process helped find a balance between project goals and technical capabilities.

Personas: Liisa, color-blind climate activist; Antti, climate activist; Max, university student; Timo, school teacher; Anna, entrepreneur

Onboarding flows are goal-oriented—they revolve around performing actions that help users get the most of the offering

Learning by doing

An onboarding checklist shows key actions that help users get started. Clicking on an item launches a flow guided by tooltips. Tooltips focus users' attention on the task at hand.

Mobile mockups

Upon first login, the onboarding checklist and first flow launch automatically, encouraging users to take action.

Mobile mockups

Tooltips seemed a good UI element to use for light guidance because they are not intrusive and can be easily dismissed any time.

Mobile mockups

Checklist items are checked off once the user completes the flow, contributing to a sense of success.


The onboarding tour helps users get started quickly, learning by doing.

Launching this onboarding experience was a result of collaboration across teams. Continuously gathering and sharing knowledge helped teams build on each other's work.

Lessons learned

Wearing many hats in a fast-growing company was an exciting challenge. I learned to continuously share findings, iterate, and adjust workshop formats to adapt to the teams' needs and availability.

Designing for developers was exciting - there's always something to learn and understand about users whose interface of choice is usually the command line.

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