Research Interests:
HCI, User Experience, Onboarding process, First-time User Experience, User Retention, Motivation, Crowdsourcing Platforms.



The Onboarding Effect: leveraging user engagement and retention in crowdsourcing platforms

ACM DL Author-ize serviceThe Onboarding Effect: Leveraging User Engagement and Retention in Crowdsourcing Platforms
Marina Cascaes Cardoso
CHI EA '17 Proceedings of the 2017 CHI Conference Extended Abstracts on Human Factors in Computing Systems, 2017

CHI'17 Doctoral Consortium

Advisor: Jennifer Preece   |    iSchool @ UMD

Onboarding is essential for any online service or platform interested in acquiring more users, members or customers. The beginning of a relationship between the user and a platform is the moment where motivations take part and the overall strategy– the flow, messages, interactions and UI design elements – should be carefully planned, so the experience as a whole can support new users’ engagement. Such an important strategy still lacks systematic investigation. Most of what is employed by the industry result from empirical testing that turns out to serve a particular product in a certain instance. This research aims to provide scientific evidence regarding the effect of each onboarding element on user engagement and experience, in addition to solid guidelines that support decision making for future designs.


Designing an Onboarding Process for a complex first-time user experience

Project developed at Neverware during 2016 Summer Internship  |   Case Study Paper

CloudReady is an operating system based on Chromium OS. By installing CloudReady on nearly any computer, brand new or a decade old, it allows converting these machines into “new” Chromebooks, running entirely on the web, utilizing Google's online apps. This is particularly attractive for schools where a high volume of machines is outdated quickly, making it hard to use in classrooms as they waste the teachers’ and students’ time with chronic technical problems and low reliability. 

Case Study Paper Abstract: Onboarding design encompasses users’ initial interests and motivations, addresses guidance, and engagement. During this project, we found that we were facing an even bigger and unusual challenge outside of the normal onboarding process. Besides convincing our visitors that our product was worth trying, we had to guide them through a series of installation steps before they could finally experience the product's benefits. After conducting user research and generating alternatives, we elaborated a new onboarding flow to alleviate users’ main pain points. As we encountered some unsurpassable friction points, we concluded we were dealing with a spectrum of possible solutions that reach different groups of users, and a compromise between engineering and design was vital for deciding upon the overall design direction of the product. From this case study, we learned that designing onboarding for systems that are complex tends to be more challenging than for typical e-commerce sites. 

Methods employed: User Research - Interviews, survey, user testing, user journey, prototyping.


Advancing Informal Science Learning (AISL) through Community-Driven Projects that Adapt Technology.

AISL Project and NatureNet Platform  |  NSF Grant #1423207. University of Maryland, University of North Carolina, and University of Colorado  |  2015-2016

As part of the research project team building a Community-Driven Environmental Project at the Anacostia Watershed in D.C., participated in data collection with the local community around the Anacostia River, analyzing raw data, coding, extracting big ideas (grounded theory) and identifying design goals for the development of an online community platform.
Also participated in the design team of a NatureNet Platform, creating wireframes, prototypes, and mockups. The main challenge addressed by our designs was how to incentivize and motivate users to contribute with design ideas, suggestions or new features about the platform through the website itself. 

Methods employed: User Research - Interviews, focus group, prototyping.