Product DesignLiz Cormack

Grove Onboarding Experience

Product DesignLiz Cormack
Grove Onboarding Experience


In free-to-play mobile gaming, the best practice is to spend 33% of your development time on the rst time user experience (FTUE). If the first interaction with the game sucks, your user is gone for good.

I’ve taken that to heart with all design work since working at a game studio. In what could have been a daunting experience (setting up a living ecosystem in your home), I knew it was crucial to oversimplify installation.

Pulling from our beta product research, aquaponic science and best practices from gardening, we worked with the ecology team to develop a v1 onboarding plan.

Then we screened, recruited & scheduled user test participants from multiple user segments.


In the first few user tests, onboarding took almost three hours. Over the course of a month, many prototypes, and UN-worthy negotiations with the ecology and hardware teams, onboarding became an enjoyable 30 minute process.

More importantly, we extended onboarding through the first three months to achieve very high 90-day user satisfaction.


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To set up any aquaponic system, a customer must install a growing media, add water, and begin the process of establishing bene cial bacteria in the ecosystem.

In terms of tasks for the user to perform, what the team assumed was ‘absolutely required’ for successful plant growth was extremely complicated. The first step was to learn the constraints, so I could work against them.


Graduated with a B.A. in Communication Design from Emerson College. Studied Product Design in Startup Insitute Boston's inaugural class. Marketing Manager at The Tap Lab, a mobile gaming startup focused on location & augmented reality. Founder of Colab Boston, an AIGA Design for Good partner. Raised overseas, uncomfortable with familiarity, lover of live music, skiing, Bourbon Ales, black coffee and weird food. Current favorite topics: The Internet of Things, serious games, data visualization and epic burgers.