From Social Patterns
A user registers for a new service and needs to have a sense of what can be done at the site and how to get started.
- Use this pattern when a new user first accesses the site.
- Use this pattern to acquaint the user with important or useful features.
- Provide the new user with a warm and gracious welcome to your site and services. This can be a special welcome screen right after registering for the service or a special email highlighting features. Consider sending a welcome email in addition to the start screen so the user has a quick reference of features.
- Allow the user to easily move off of the welcome area and into the full features of the site.
- Treat your new users as you would guests in your home. If possible, welcome them personally and check in periodically (without being annoying).
Providing a welcome area or start space is akin to Orientation for a new job or college or giving your friends a tour of your home the first time they visit. The more welcoming in a light-handed fashion, the more your users will feel comfortable and WANT to spend time on your site.