Home Experience + Onboarding

Designing an home experience that promotes learning and engagement

What is StormForge?

StormForge is platform that combines performance testing and automated resource tuning to deliver Kubernetes application performance at lowest possible cost.

The optimization tool uses machine learning to optimize application configurations to have quicker load times or reduce cost for running your cloud-native applications. It is used specifically on your clusters and can be integrated into existing automation workflows.


When I first joined the company, the design team was tasked to redesign the entire product in 6 months. We broke it out to three parts: the core optimize tool, design systems, and home.

I was responsible for the home experience, it took a total of 2 month from start to finish. I met with Product, Engineering, Data Science, and prospective customers to understand the product, its capabilities, and our users needs. Through these chats, I found that our product's home page does not provide a great onboarding experience. It is detached from the UI and that there is little to no handholding for a very complex product.


Lead Product Designer. Responsible for the end-to-end user experience and coordinations with team members


Optimization Tool Team


2 month

Understand the Problem

For every new user, this is their experience when they first land into the product: the home experience takes our users outside of the UI to the documentation site or the relevant Github pages.

There is no clear action for first steps, which makes onboarding less straightforward. Also, once they arrive to the actual onboarding guide, it takes more than 30 minutes to navigate through the documentation and get things to start running.

Understanding Our Users

DevOps / SRE Engineers

Their role is is to automate and optimize their deployment pipeline to ensure their applications are performing well while reducing manual engineering effort and cost. They are generally extremely tech savvy individuals. From our user interviews, we learned that every thing is mostly done on command lines. They rarely will they use the UI. Therefore, if they come into the UI, it is important to determine why they use us and what they expect to see. For advanced users, what they mainly want to see is the experiments they have just ran. If they are a new user, the product has a high learning curve, so they need guidance on how to use our product.

We documented our research and mapped out the current user journey and IA

Setting the Goal & Desired Outcome

We want our users to feel confident enough to create their first experiment.

We believe that centering the home experience around getting users to create their first experiment will increase engagement. This will teach them to use StormForge, rather than abandoning the product due to difficulty.


In our explorations, we discovered that removing the concept of a home page and the need for a dashboard would be the most optimal design choice. This was largely decided based on our understanding of what our customers actually do when they come into our UI. The majority will go directly into the experiment page to view and analyze their experiments.

Initial explorations: launch pad, dashboard concept, direct onboarding to the product

“Dashboards are often what customers ask for. They are rarely what customers need. If you’re building a dashboard, it’s likely your use research wasn’t finished.” - Jared Spool

Since we decided that Experiments will be home, there are 2 requirement necessary for it to become a proper home page:

  1. An accessible guide on how to get started whether it's your first time here or not

  2. A sample experiment for users to explore. We believe that this will help users with expectations of the product

Writing is a part of design

During this time, onboarding can only be done in the terminal via command lines. The UI serves as a central location to analyze your experiments, as well as an entry point for all new users. Developing a simulation of the terminal in the UI is likely to be dismissed by users, as it already dissociates from a developer's workspace. As a designer, the best way that I can guide a user through a complex process is through writing instructional guidance.

To iterate, our goal is for out customer to feel confident in creating an experiment. The onboarding is based off the original Quick Start documentation of creating an experiment. The guiding principal I followed was that the product copy must be functional and not act as a documentation site. To integrate this copy into the UI, it is important to identify exactly what's needed to create an experiment.

Final Design


This was launched one month after the new design system was applied. We got feedback from our customer panel and non-technical users during this design process to identify any issue. We have reduced the time of setting up your environment and running your first experiment to under 15 minute.

Since the launch, we have made more changes in the product and to the home experience. I'd be happy to talk about it in more detail and improvements that aren't covered here.