15 Top Professionals in User Onboarding & Related Fields

15 Top Professionals in User Onboarding & Related Fields

While SaaS products have been around for a while now, things have changed a lot in the past three to four years. User onboarding is a relatively new aspect that’s sprung up from nowhere and conversion rate optimization (CRO) has reached dizzying new heights of complexity in SaaS areas.

How do you keep up with the bleeding edge of all the relevant fields? Simple.

Make sure you’ve got the best ideas from the brightest minds appearing in your Twitter feed, RSS and email inbox.

We’ve put together a complete list of the best professionals in the world to help you achieve precisely that.

Professionals to follow for onboarding

1. Samuel Hulick

Samuel HulickThe list starts with Samuel Hulick. Following him means you’ll gain information and insights not just about user onboarding, but also user experience design and even SaaS copywriting, both of which are inextricably linked to onboarding success. He’s written a hugely successful book on the subject and also has a software-based tool in the works. Hulick comes up with the kinds of great insights you’ll be glad you didn’t miss out on.

Where can you find this person?

Website: www.samuelhulick.com
Blog: www.useronboard.com
Book: www.useronboard.com/training
First article to read: User Boarding Interview: Samuel Hulick
Twitter: @SamuelHulick

2. Josh Elman

Josh ElmanJosh Elman was previously the head of growth at Twitter and became particularly well known for defining Twitter’s “aha moment” which we discussed in our article here. Consequently, he was directly responsible for growing the company significantly and regularly publishes insightful and excellent work on multiple top industry websites around the web. Implementing just one of his ideas could make a huge impact on your company, so it’s well worth getting Elman in your social media feeds.

Where can you find this person?

Website: www.greylock.com/team
Blog: www.medium.com/@joshelman
First article to read: Reading Josh Elman on Growth
Twitter: @joshelman

3. Andrew Johns

Andy JohnsWhen you’re looking for inspiration on how to grow your SaaS, it’s a good idea to look to the major social media companies, so here’s another one. Andrew Johns was previously in the growth over at Facebook, in addition to contributing to the growth of both Quora and Twitter. He’s been involved at venture capital fund, Greylock, before becoming the director of growth at Wealthfront. You never want to miss one tip published by this guy.

Where can you find this person?

Website: www.wealthfront.com
Blog: www.andyjohns.org
First article to read: Meet the Growth-Hacking Wizard Behind Facebook & Twitter
Twitter: @ibringtraffic

Professionals to follow for UX

4. Jared Spool

Jared SpoolJared Spool is a user experience (UX) aficionado who’s really been around the block. He is a speaker, educator, writer and researcher on the subject and practically founded the concept of user interface design. There are a lot of interviews, podcasts and blog posts written by or involving Spool, so be sure to add him to your Twitter feed for a deep education.

Where can you find this person?

Website: www.uie.com/brainsparks
Blog: www.centercentre.com/blog
Book: Where Anatomy Interaction Framework Design
First article to read: Developing a Right Feeling for Designing with Type
Twitter: @jmspool
Wikipedia page: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jared_Spool

5. Joshua Porter

Joshua PorterJoshua Porter was the head of user experience at Hubspot for three years; a fact that amounts to a pretty serious testimonial. Joshua Porter has been designing interfaces for almost 20 years and is behind the excellent 52 Weeks of UX website (link below). Josh has authored books on the subject and regularly publishes excellent and insightful content that can help you build better products.

Where can you find this person?

Website: www.bokardo.com
Blog: www.rocketinsights.com
Book: Designing or the Social Web
First article to read: Testing the Three-click Rule
Twitter: @bokardo

6. Nick Finck

Nick FinckNick has over 10 years’ specialized experience in working with interaction design, information architecture, user and usability research for both web and mobile. He boasts a particularly impressive client list that includes Intel, Adobe, Boeing, Google, and Oprah.com and also works as Amazon’s senior manager of user experience. So you can bet he knows a thing or two…

Where can you find this person?

Website: www.nickfinck.com
Blog: www.nickfinck.com/blog
First article to read: Nick’s Top User Experience Books for 2014
Twitter: @nickf

Professionals to follow for growth

7. James Currier

James CurrierJames Currier is a Jedi master growth hacker who’s helped many companies grow their user counts to over 10 million. He regularly gives incredible talks at events such as the Growth Hacker Conference and is perhaps most renowned for unusual advice such as how the first user experience (FUE) should get up to 50% of the budget for a new start-up. Currier’s impressive resume includes being a growth adviser to PayPal and he’s an absolutely must-follow for all SaaS companies serious about growing their businesses

Where can you find this person?

Blog: www.blog.oogalabs.com/
First article to read: Video: Unlocking the Secrets of Growth in 20 Minutes
Twitter: @JamesCurrier

8. Andrew Chen

Andrew ChenAndrew Chen is a writer, entrepreneur and investor with stakes and advisory positions in many SaaS products including AngelList, AppSumo and Barkbox. He’s invited regularly to speak at conferences and his blog is one of the best SaaS resources on the Internet. That’s not surprising considering he was an entrepreneur-in-residence at Mohr Davidow Ventures, a Silicon Valley-based fund with some $2 billion in management. Follow his blog for excellent financial advice and much more besides.

Where can you find this person?

Blog: www.andrewchen.co
First article to read: The critical metrics for each stage of your SaaS business
Twitter: @andrewchen

9. Sean Ellis

Sean EllisSean Ellis is another technical and experienced conversion rate optimizer and he’s also a founder of growthhackers.com. He’s contributed content to start-up-marketing.com, the Wall Street Journal’s blog and many other top sites discussing CRO strategy and he’s the CEO and founder of the invaluable qualitative research, Qualroo. Consequently, you get a whole bunch of value and following this guy.

Where can you find this person?

Website: www.startup-marketing.com
Blog: www.growthhackers.com/member/sean
Book: Startup Growth Engines
First article to read: User Growth Vs Revenue (Why “Free Only” May Limit Growth)
Twitter: @SeanEllis

Professionals to follow for CRO

10. Peep Laja

Peep LajaAfter launching just a few short years ago, Peep Laja’s no-nonsense ConversionXL blog gives some of the best conversion rate optimization advice in the world. His direct approach led both to the blog’s considerable success and the excellent ConversionXL conference launching some years later. In addition, the blog often publishes SaaS industry-specific content that can help you develop better methodology for your A/B testing, whether it’s in marketing material, user onboarding or other facets of your business.

Where can you find this person?

Website: www.peeplaja.com
Blog: www.conversionxl.com
Book: How to Build Websites that Sell: The Scientific Approach
First article to read: 9 Case Studies That’ll Help You Reduce SaaS Churn
Twitter: @peeplaja

11. Oli Gardener

Oli GardnerFor those familiar with conversion rate optimization, it should come as no surprise that somebody from the Unbounce team is on the list and founder, Oli Gardner, is the man to follow. Working at a SaaS product like Unbounce gives Gardner some unique insights into the conversion rate optimizing process. Follow this man, sit back and watch your landing page conversion improvements speak for themselves. Meanwhile, if you want to eye candy, check out his personal website for an incredible photographic essay. It’s a little off-topic, but amazing nonetheless.

Website: www.oligardner.com
Blog: www.unbounce.com/blog
Book: Noob Guide to Online Marketing
First article to read: 26 Beautiful Landing Page Designs Critiqued with A/B Testing Tips
Twitter: @oligardner

Where can you find this person?

12. Alex Harris

Alex HarrisFor the past 15 years, Alex Harris has focused on CRO and web design. If you follow this person, you can find some incredibly insightful advice and educational material on these subjects and also about digital marketing on his blog. Harris also has an excellent podcast so you can get stuck into his material while commuting to work or putting in the miles on the treadmill. He was named one of the top CRO experts in 2014 is and has worked for major companies including Bridgestone.

Where can you find this person?

Website: ww.alexdesigns.comw
Book: Small Business Big Money Online: A Proven System
First article to read: The 5 step marketing optimization system: An overview
Twitter: @alexdesigns

Professionals to follow for SaaS

13. David Skok

David SkokDavid Skok is a man with venture capitalism and SaaS optimization running deep in his blood. He’s particularly well-known for his work on the forentrepreneurs.com blog and creates content in thesis-levels of detail on how to improve SaaS metrics, develop financial strategies for your funding and much, much more. Truly he’s an asset to the industry well worth following.

Where can you find this person?

Website: www.matrixpartners.com/team
Blog: www.forentrepreneurs.com
First article to read: SaaS Metrics 2.0: A Guide to Measuring and Improving what Matters
Twitter: @BostonVC

14 Lincoln Murphy

Lincoln MurphyLincoln Murphy became known for his high success rate helping SaaS companies optimize all aspects of their business. In the past 10 years or so, he’s helped over 300 businesses accelerate growth and his report titled “The Seven SaaS Revenue Streams Received” has enjoyed widespread praise. His write-ups strike just the right balance between technically detailed and being reader-friendly, so you can learn a lot, but won’t get lost in the nitty-gritty.

Where can you find this person?

Website: www.lincolnmurphy.com
Blog: www.sixteenventures.com
First article to read: SaaS Churn Rate: What’s Acceptable?
Twitter: @linconlmurphy

15. Christopher Janz

Christoph JanzChristopher Janz is a managing partner at Point Nine Capital, another Silicon Valley-based VC fund. The team has over 40 years combined experience in helping SaaS businesses succeed. Janz’s blog is full of excellent write-ups and is the source of well-known resources such as the cohort analysis spreadsheet that we used to base our article on the subject. It’s a good example of the kind of technical resource that can really make a difference.

Where can you find this person?

Website: www.pointninecap.com
Blog: christophjanz.blogspot.com
First article to read: Key Revenue Metrics for SaaS Companies
Twitter: @chrija

Your turn

If you follow these guys on Twitter, sign up to their mailing lists and otherwise pay attention to them, you’ll get some of the best user onboarding, UX design, SaaS strategy and conversion rate optimization advice in the world in front of your eyes each week.

That done, you can pick and choose the articles most relevant to you and ensure you stay ahead of the curve with the latest tactics.

If you’ve got any recommendations of your own you think should have been included in the list, don’t keep them to yourselves; share them in the comments below.