2018  |  Contentful 

Continuous onboarding of new content editors

Content editors that join Contentful for the first time typically take 4-6 weeks to onboard into the product, and how their company is using the product. Product owners that are responsible for implementing Contentful and onboarding new team members often feel the burden of creating their own onboarding materials for their teams to get them up to speed on using Contentful. In some cases, they are also asked by other business units in their organization to help implement Contentful.

Onboarding into Contentful not only takes customer time, but may also affect the efficiency and satisfaction of content editors and product owners with using Contentful over time.

A Contentful primer:
Contentful is an API-based content infrastructure for enterprise teams

The platform lets you create, manage and distribute content to any platform so you can deliver your content across multiple channels.
Contentful is the leader in the headless CMS market, and this timeline below gives an idea of the change in market positioning over time. When I joined in 2018, Contentful was moving beyond a developer tool into a full-fledged enterprise-ready service. 


Onboarding new content editors into Contentful is a bottleneck for customers in product owner roles. It can take 4-6 for new editors to learn how to use Contentful. Often times, product owners are tasked with creating their own onboarding materials to help their teams get up to speed with Contentful.

These pain points were gathered by learning from Contentful team members in customer-facing roles.

Discovery Process

I started by digging deeper into customer pain points through interviews with customers. A product manage and I identified the most fitting product owners for this research study by talking with Contentful customer success managers to learn which customers were facing the problem.

I also looked through customer onboarding materials that product owners from several organizations created to train their teams.

I synthesized learnings from research and the provided materials and identified patterns.

Research Synthesis

We validated that for many customers, onboarding new team members is indeed a bottleneck in their process. However, because all customers use the Contentful content management service for different use cases, not all patterns we learned about from customers can be solved with a one-size-fits-all solution.

Two patterns we found that we could provide a solution to all customers were:

  1. Many customer product owners were explaining the Contentful UI to their teams and how to navigate through the web app.
  2. Many customer product owners explained the concept of reusable content and why Contentful was chosen for their team.
Solution Definition: Design studio

To find solutions to our initial customer challenge, I got the team involved by organizing a design studio with my team and some stakeholders. This was a great activity to start to include developers in the process. After a few sessions of rapid ideation, we landed on several new ideas and approaches to solve ease this pain point for customers.

From here, we evaluated the solutions ideas as a team using the NUF method. We decided on a few directions based on the results of the NUF method.

Example of an solution we decided not to move forward with after talking with customers.

Early feedback from customers

Before investing development time in solutions, we wanted to validate if these potential solutions would be useful for customers and their teams.

I created simple prototypes of the ideas, and we shared the prototypes with the customers we initially talked to. This helped us pass on some solution ideas, and more sure about what solutions we wanted to move forward.

The solution

We evaluated developer and design effort more closely on the final solutions and came up with an implementation plan.

For our initial releases of a solution to the customer pain points of continuous onboarding, we decided to introduce a “space home” onboarding area to a new set of users that were previously dropped straight into the editing experience. All pioneer users had a similar onboarding space home with technical content.

To make the space home useful for editor users, we’d have an optional UI tour to explain the web app, as well as a simple product video to explain the benefits of reusable content.

Usability Testing

I made prototypes and tested did usability testing on the solutions. We found that some design solutions in the prototypes worked better than others, and I refined the prototypes. I shared the prototypes with the customer success managers and gathered further feedback to refine the prototypes.

Solution Implementation

At this stage, engineering started to implement the UI tour while I worked with stakeholders in learning services and customer success managers to develop and validate ideas for a simple product video to explain reusable content. I created the storyboard and gathered more feedback before starting implementation on illustration, animation, and searching for a voiceover artist to narrate the video.

We finished the content and implemented the video, walkthrough UI tour, and new space home layout. After a long discovery process, we released!

Final Reusable Content video. I wrote the script, created the animations, animated this video, and sourced and worked with the voiceover artist to bring this video to life.

Privacy Settings
We use cookies to enhance your experience while using our website. If you are using our Services via a browser you can restrict, block or remove cookies through your web browser settings. We also use content and scripts from third parties that may use tracking technologies. You can selectively provide your consent below to allow such third party embeds. For complete information about the cookies we use, data we collect and how we process them, please check our Privacy Policy
Consent to display content from Youtube
Consent to display content from Vimeo
Google Maps
Consent to display content from Google