Mystery Onboarding


Using a data-driven approach, I redesigned Mystery's native app onboarding and increased adoption by 10%.

My role

Lead Product Designer

The team

1 x PM 2 x engineers

Timing / Duration

2020 / 1 month


Mystery is a Series A-funded entertainment startup that sends users on personalized adventures in their city.聽The best part? Customers don't know where they鈥檙e going until they get there.

A Managed Marketplace

Mystery has normal supply-side dynamics, yet the demand-side is managed and hidden to the end user.

Note:聽During the pandemic, Mystery pivoted to virtual events.

So, how does it work?

  1. A user signs up and enters preferences (showcased in detail below)
  2. Users book a Mystery for a time and date
  3. When the time comes, Mystery automatically calls a ride using Lyft Concierge
  4. Users get in without knowing where they were going -- pretty fun, right?!
  5. Mystery matches the user to a pre-selected supply (e.g. events, restaurants, etc.)
  6. Users show up with other Mystery-goers who have similar preferences, for a discounted rate
Mystery programmatically arranged rides via Lyft Concierge

Value Props

Mystery-goers are typically couples who wanted to try something new in their city. Discovery was a big value prop. Others included novelty and adventure, by pushing themselves out of their comfort zone. Lastly, ease of scheduling date nights was another value proposition for couples with busy work lives and/or balancing kids.

The Problem

We saw a 16% dropoff during the account creation &聽preferences onboarding flow.

Like most early-stage startups, Mystery's native app onboarding flow had been built hastily at the outset of the company. The new user flow needed to be rethought to...

  • Reduce friction to increase signups
  • Clearly communicate our value props &聽updated branding

My Process

Diving into the data

I compared the # of unique native app downloads to the # of unique accounts created. I found that, of the 16% that churned before completing onboarding, 12% fell off before entering their phone number.

12% of all new users bailed during the first 5 screens of their onboarding

UX Audit

Then, I analyzed what was going on in these screens. It was quite apparent that the user was dumped into a flow that felt like a shakedown.

To further connect-the-dots, we had heard feedback about the tone of the app. One user said, "For promising to be such a fun experience, this app is too straightforward. It has no personality."


While analyzing the flow, I thought to apply a few onboarding principles:

  • Use welcome screens to reiterate value props
  • Ask only the bare minimum of the user at the outset

The team agreed and decided to initially create a 'shell profile' with just the phone number. If the user were to skip at any other time in the flow, we'd take them to the capture their name, birthdate, and email. If they skipped those, at least we had their number and could try to re-engage with SMS聽reactivation.

Also, we ended up moving the steps where the users can enrich their profile to the very end. That way the user was already invested in adding their preferences -- which was always the most fun part for users.

Profile Enrichment questions moved to the end of the flow


We moved super quick. The team made these changes in less than a week. No time for user testing unfortunately -- such is startup life, amirite?

Immediately we saw results. Over the course of the next month, we saw adoption increase by 10%.


Signups increased by 10% over the next month and profile completeness went up by 15% 馃帀

My Learnings

Data informs Design

Data can tell you what is happening and where it's happening. Qualitative analysis can tell you why. The funnel analysis was the perfect way to point me in the right direction.

Every user onboards

This product work wasn't on our team's radar until we rebranded. It should have been an active convo and measured more often, earlier.

It seems that we tend to forget about the onboarding experience. Yet, its the ONLY feature that 100% of your users will experience!

Young brands need great onboarding

When there isn't much brand awareness of your product, onboarding matters even more. The app must reinforce the value it provides, since users won't know.