Designing the Out of the Box Experience (OOBE): Strategies and Tactics

Session Title

Designing the Out of the Box Experience (OOBE): Strategies and Tactics


Uday Gajendar

Session Type: Presentation

The OOBE (Out of the Box Experience) is one of the definitive user experience problems, encompassing brand, content strategy, wizard-style models, varieties of IT hurdles, and lots of edge cases! Based upon my experience as the former lead designer for Adobe Creative Suite 3′s Installer and Activation interface as well as for McAfee AntiVirus Installer and Netflix Device Activation, this talk generically describes the major problems addressed and tactics for handling OOBE, as well as specific core user experience principles. In particular, we’ll look at the following:

* Object Modeling and Flow Mapping: The complexities of seemingly benign process of installing software need to be explicitly visualized for effective discussion with a range of stakeholders, from product management to quality control to customer service and doc support. There is a total life-cycle to be captured. How is this dissected and presented?

* Scenario-driven Design: Because of all the various possible use cases of installation options, upgrading licenses, registration (or not), and trial expiration dates, scenarios are critical. How is this done and how does it fit within the designer’s activities?

* Comps and Wireframes: Layouts are needed to suggest how to organize the content and prioritize the language and buttons. The core UX principles of lightness, direct focus, easy text, and clear steps are key.

* Project Management: Perhaps the most critical is making sure all the players are properly informed and engaged. Coordination and decision-making for something as complex as OOBE is vital towards success. Lessons from Adobe, McAfee, and Netflix will be shared.

The ultimate takeaway is showing how interaction design can be applied to a somewhat banal yet fundamentally critical software design problem, with lessons learned and specific artifacts showcased, as well as approaches of how to create and leverage them well.


Uday Gajendar is a prolific UI designer with almost a decade of experience. His work has spanned enterprise software, creative tools, Web and mobile apps, and VOIP devices at Oracle, Adobe, Cisco, and other Silicon Valley firms like Netflix. A graduate of Carnegie Mellon’s IxD Program, Gajendar advances the design field with discussions about beauty, leadership, and strategy, for venues like IDSA World Design Congress 2007, IA Summit 2004/2005, and Silicon Valley Codecamp 2007/2008. He has also taught interaction design at San Jose State University, Fall 2007-08. For further musings on design, visit his blog at