Recently I've been thinking about how best to onboard new userfox users. An issue is that we have a very sophisticated templating system, that allows users to insert dynamic data into emails (eg: the user's name) but I wanted to communicate that this feature exists without having yet another lightbox.

We think that often lightboxes can become an excuse for sloppy design. Shout out to Libby Brittain over at Potluck/Branch for tweeting this recently:

(also note that Bjoern is named in the social tab of the lightbox, userfox is everywhere.)


Previously when you signed up for userfox, you were given some templated emails like this:

This was okay, but the name of the product wasn't templated, we just copied the data from our rails application, and inserted it as a string.

There was a minor problem with this, and a major communication problem with this. Firstly, if you changed your product name, you'd have to edit all your emails to change the product name. Very minor but an issue for some. Secondly however, we could do this with our templating engine, but didn't – we didn't want to scare the user with scary !

Ultimately, I decided to make the change and insert the scary handlebar templating language:

Bjoern had complaints: (I didn't disagree)

Here is what we came up with, a good middleground to introduce our templating language, without scaring the user. In the first email, the welcome email, that we automatically create for every user that signs up, we added this block of content into the email:

Literally every one of our users that signs up and visits the dashboard, clicks this message. This way, when you're seeing our application, our editor, the welcome message we've added for you, you also see a block of content that explains the change.

Eventually we'll further improve the introduction of templating, but this first step is so delightfully simple, we couldn't help but share it with you.