Miro's onboarding evolution—from zero to 50 million users

Kate Syuma dives into Miro's onboarding evolution, focusing on experimentation, user feedback, and balancing simplicity while showcasing the product's core value.

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Meet Kate Syuma, Miro's former Head of Growth Product Design, where she spent 6 years shaping their onboarding. She walks us through how she approached 3 distinct phases in Miro's onboarding evolution: the early years, hyper-growth, and growth-at-scale.

We've got a full recap of her journey down below, but we've pulled out some of our favorite bits from her product experience.

Keep the first session focused 🔎

It's natural to want to introduce all your bells and whistles of your product in that first session, but that's not how you provide value. As Kate shows off in Miro's onboarding experience, it's critical to your activation funnel to introduce what's most important and interesting to your users. The last thing you want to do is bombard users with notifications. So be thoughtful in what you introduce in that first session.

Jump-start activation with personalized templates 🛠️

Templates are a great way to help new users experience your product's value. They get a head start. You get to guide them towards a desired action. Win win! 

That's why Kate suggests serving up relevant templates based on the users’ profiling data you collect during signup. This way, users can get started immediately with an experience that's personalized to their needs.

Screenshot of Miro's template library

The “Say Hi” experience for Joiners 👋

Kate doubled down on elevating the onboarding experience for a specific segment of new board users, "Joiners". Why?

“Our hypothesis was: If we break the ice for new board joiners, nudging them to perform an easy, simple, and delightful collaborative action that removes their fear of engaging with a new tool, we’ll increase the aha moment.”

Based on that insight, the team created a new experience where Joiners were prompted to “Say Hi” on a board using their Reactions feature. After they said hi, board collaborators received a notification, which encouraged them to return to the board.

Miro's onboarding first session board

Personalized experiences for the win 🏆

Kate's work developing tailored onboarding for Joiners versus Creators had a big impact. Conversion rates for both groups increased as new users were set up for success based on their needs.

That's why profiling users upfront and personalizing their first experience is so powerful. As Kate advises, every product team should regularly revisit their onboarding to ensure it guides different segments into realizing the product's core value as quickly as possible.

Screenshot of Miro's personalized onboarding flow


What advice do you have for folks working on their product experience? 

  1. Review your onboarding experience regularly—at least once a quarter. Sit down with your friend, product manager, product designer, your team, and just review the end-to-end onboarding flow. Uncover bugs. Uncover UX improvements. Uncover big bets. Uncover everything you can.
  2. Really think about the profiling information you gather. How will you use it. Are there questions you’re not asking? Can you replace a question with something that will better help you define your ICP? Better personalize the experience. Try it out and keep experimenting. 
  3. Try to define your activation metric early. (Yes, she knows it’s difficult—at one company it took her a year and a half!). But the more you can benchmark against your activation metric, the easier everything else becomes. 

What did the onboarding experience look like when you joined Miro? 

When Kate started at Miro, there was no real user onboarding experience in place—just a v1 version of a sign-up flow. She spent 6 years building Miro's first Design Growth team dedicated to building the onboarding foundation, sign-up flows, and first sessions.

In the early years, they innovated and iterated *a lot*.

And one of the big lessons Kate picked up early on was to keep visuals in check. They found out the hard way that too many visuals made things messy and distracting. Cleaner and simpler flows performed better.

How did your onboarding change in your hyper-growth phase?

For context, Miro’s hyper-growth phase happened during COVID when a lot of non-technical users started using Miro—so setting them up for success was extremely important. And to Kate, that extended far beyond the sign-up flow: it’s the first experience with the product and what happens outside of the product with lifecycle communication.

So, they revisited all of it. 

One of the most innovative things Kate did during this phase was experiment with AI-generated video to add a human touch. Kate wanted to blend self-serve onboarding with the success of the more traditional approach of having a customer success manager introduce the product.

(Keep in mind this was pre-chat GPT before AI *really* became a thing, so it wasn’t scalable). But with where we are now with the power of AI, Kate would love to see more folks experiment with this direction.

Can you share your thoughts on gathering profile information upon sign-up? 

Kate believes you should start asking for profiling information early to personalize the product experience. 

And she doesn't think you shouldn’t sweat adding extra questions to your sign-up flow. Kate’s found that it doesn’t really hurt conversion significantly, and even if fewer people sign up, there’s no negative effect on the activation funnel. Asking more questions increases activation because you’re personalizing the experience so users can be more intentional in your product.  

But the thing most people forget is that profiling information can change over time because your product’s ICP also evolves. That’s why it’s important to revisit and not treat it as static.

In the “growth-at-scale” phase, how did you approach onboarding? 

At this stage, Kate thought a lot less about big bets and became a lot more intentional about what moved the needle. The cost of big bets was too high and the learning curve was too long. That’s why continuous iteration became the approach.

The big focus for Miro during the growth-at-scale phase was the aha moment for different segments. Her team doubled down on the small and delightful features that they could send to users early (like the say hi experiment). At this phase, redesigns are too costly and can be too jarring for users. So Kate’s team really leaned into small improvements and quick wins.