Dropbox Business Onboarding Reimagined

We increased completion of onboarding by almost 50% by reducing friction, encouraging user momentum, and connecting Dropbox Business users to value on their first day. Resulting in a $6.88M increase in annual recurring revenue.

Laptop mockup showing the New Dropbox Business Onboarding UI


4 designers, 4 PMs, 11 Engineers, 2 Analysts, 2 QA Engineers, 1 User Researcher, 1 UX Writer, 1 Product Marketing Manager, 1 Internationalization Specialist

My role

Lead Product Designer


Sept 2019 - April 2020

Website mockup - animation showing the smooth transitions flow loading in

The Challenge

Of roughly 200,000 new monthly trials, only 9%, of them complete onboarding.

Research showed that users felt like they were doing actions that benefited Dropbox more than themselves, or like they were being held hostage. We set out to increase user momentum and activity in the product.

The Solution

We burned the existing setup and onboarding strategy to the ground and holistically built it anew focusing on user goals.

I worked with my Revenue Analytics partner to gather a quantitative picture of the entire flow. We learned that the total onboarding flow amounted to almost 36 steps, which blocked most users from ever getting to value. This resulted in very few people converting at the end of their trial.

Flow diagram showing the previous Dropbox Business Onboarding flow

The previous onboarding flow

The Approach

We streamlined UI from one flow to another to reduce cognitive load. We built in user tracking to cut down redundant education. We removed dead-ends, helping users get into the product. We created pathways for core repeatable actions that helped users get work done.

Strategy kickoff

I kicked off the project by proposing and orchestrating a series of workshops that lead the team to highlight key problem area: The varying UI from one flow to another adds cognitive load. Little tracking is embedded, so users often receive redundant education. Some steps direct users to dead-ends, introducing friction and slowing momentum. These workshops informed the goals of the overall project.

Asset for alignment - New Dropbox Business Onboarding strategy

Diagram created for strategy kickoff

We came out of the workshop with a set of actionable goals:

  • Build user momentum
  • Add elements of progress and delight
  • Set users up for success
  • Daylight the necessary repeatable actions
  • Promoting the desktop app
  • Muli-account management

Building user momentum

By working with a UX Writer, we made sure copy was succinct and user value props were highlighted, with clear actions to progress the user forward.

Website mockup - showing the old email confirmation screen

Old experience - confusing main CTA creating dead end

Website mockup - showing the new email confirmation screen

New Experience -  CTAs drive users forward

Adding elements of progress and delight

I created a motion language for the transitions from one step to the next to celebrate the completion of each step in a delightful way. User testing proved that this made the process easier because it matched user’s mental model for progress.

Animation showing the initial concept for the Smooth Transitions motion language

Early motion comp created to align the team

Animation showing the final motion language for the Smooth Transitions setup flow for Dropbox Business onboarding

Final Motion Language

I designed a visual system throughout the setup process that responds to user data and actions to build a stronger connection with the user as they set up their account. This personal touch resonated with users because it helped build trust and understanding. In addition to adding delight, this allowed the business to have translatable text increasing scalability, accessibility, and accuracy in all languages.

Animation showing user naming their team

Users' team name shows in the preview UI

Animation showing user selecting team size

Users' initials show up in the avatar

Increasing user success after setup

We enabled users to take immediate core actions, such as adding content and setting team permissions, by dropping users directly into the product with actionable empty states. We removed over a dozen steps between setup completion and using the app freely, rather than forcing them to take actions in a predetermined order.

Website mockup - showing the old landing experience after setup

Old landing page - blocked users

Website mockup - showing the new landing experience after setup

New landing page - drives repeatable actions

Daylighting the necessary repeatable actions

We surfaced valuable actions that were previously buried in hard to find places. This encouraged healthy repeatable behaviors and drastically reduced the number of CX tickets around onboarding.

Website mockup - showing the new first time experience for inviting team members

First time inviting

Website mockup -  Showing the experience for inviting and managing team members

Returning to inviting

We added supporting education to the first time experience of inviting. We saw in testing that this approach built the necessary confidence around who will have access to content once users invite team members.

Helping users get to the desktop app

We created a persistent affordance that appears after a user adds content, allowing them to open their files in desktop. I worked with my UX Writer to create an experience for users to better understand the value of the desktop app.

Website mockup - showing the desktop value tooltip after user adds content

Desktop value - After adding content

Website mockup - showing the desktop value tooltip after a user add members

Desktop value - After adding team members

To set users up for success, we took the opinionated approach of moving the download moment to the beginning of the setup flow increasing desktop downloads and usage by 47%. I worked with my PM and two engineers to adjust this flow to avoid ping-ponging users between platforms during the setup flow.

Users are able to finish setup in desktop

Users are met with actionable empty states in desktop

Navigating multi-account management

Data showed that 75%+ of people setting up a new account had previous experience with Dropbox. I designed a flow that automated the pairing of multiple accounts at the same time. This resulted in 50% more users pairing their business and personal accounts — making it easier to toggle between accounts on all Dropbox apps.

Users are seamlessly able to use both accounts


User engagement metrics showed such clear wins, we concluded the experiment early and decided to ship the experience to all Dropbox Business users.


team setup completion


annual recurring revenue


desktop usage


multi-account pairing

We ran a final round of user testing with the new Business onboarding experience. Users unanimously called out how thrilled they were to be done with setup and into the product so quickly. They showed an immediate understanding of where to start; adding content and inviting team members — calling out how uncluttered the interface is, with no “pop-up or ads”.

Our team came out of this experience with a new strategy for activating users by focusing their value and building their momentum. We now have a cohesive experience that establishes a new baseline to experiment on, that continues to bring users value.