Design (Engaging First Impressions)

Please tell us about how you created an enterprise or business solution that keeps usability at its core while still effectively meeting business needs.: 
Empathy is at the core of Atlassian and readily apparent in our company values. One such value is “Don’t #@!% the Customer” which reminds us all to care first and foremost for our customer needs. We discovered that more than half of new customers tried our products for less than 30 minutes, far too short to be an engaging experience. That's a huge problem where we are clearly underserving customers and providing a poor onboarding experience. We need to ensure we stay true to our values, so we made onboarding a key focus area across all of our products. This initiative is led by the design team.
The aim is to delight through design. We have been on a transformative journey at Atlassian spreading design principles throughout the organisation. During this process we have come a long way in aligning our products from a design perspective, but didn't focus on enough on the welcome experience for our customers. It is so important to give a great first impression, otherwise customers will not see the true value in using our software.
Our applications are incredibly powerful, but we're currently failing in sharing this value with our customers. So in response to this we have set up a core, cross functional team to tackle the problem.  The team takes a user centric approach, working together to create a shared understanding of the problem space. Based on research and analytics we've been making early assumptions about our customer needs, sketching solutions, building minimum viable experiences, and then running usability tests & growth experiments to validate those assumptions.
We are running growth hacking experiments at scale, across our 5 key products; Confluence, JIRA, Service Desk, HipChat and Bitbucket, spanning tens of thousands of customers. Following a lean approach we ship experiments in just a few days. With each successful and unsuccessful experiment we are learning more and more about onboarding design patterns that work for our customers. We are centralising these patterns and incorporating them into our design guidelines and frontend library for our teams to use and scale across all of our products. 
In parallel to our growth experiments we run diary studies with potential customers during their first 10 days of using our products.
We have such a diverse customer base, and this is changing. In the past we designed primarily for developers who made up our core user base, but moving forwards our products are targeting every knowledge worker, and we are striving to deliver meaning to each and every one of these customers. Common themes and motivations taken from our research help us design relevant, appropriate onboarding experiences for everyone.
We then combine these diary studies with the results gained from our growth experiments to build an engaging onboarding experience. Our co-located team see first-hand each problem that our customers have in their early days of using our products, but we have had to raise awareness company wide. We have made our customer’s experiences visible on the office walls, where real quotes from our customer diary studies are displayed. We publish highlight videos of user testing sessions on our company blog and speak at each products weekly review sessions. We invite outside product teams to our design sparring sessions, to see first hand the problems we are solving.
It is an ongoing journey and we are constantly learning. We already have some excellent wins we've shipped in our products. We have increased engagement by 14% in our flagship product, JIRA. The same experiment that gave us this increase, with a single step added to the onboarding experience decreased engagement by 20%! We celebrate and embrace each success and failure, so long as we are learning and moving forwards. We have spoken to customers who have been through our new onboarding flows and have received excellent feedback.
However, the biggest change has been the cultural shift to focus on making our products easy to learn. By publicising and centralising our learnings, documenting and building winning experiments as patterns in our guidelines and front end library, we are ensuring that this is not a one off project, but an ongoing initiative that is used on a day to day basis by all of our internal teams to improve our customers onboarding experience.