Product Designer • Project Owner @ Nuwa Robotics

Robot Onboarding Redesign

    my contributions

    UX Research
    VUI Design
    Multimodal Design
    Product Strategy
    Prototyping with TTS
    User Testing


    1 month
    (2018 Summer)
    1 Sound Specialist
    1 Animator
    1 Android Developer
    1 Content Creator
    Design an engaging companion robot onboarding experience for family 


    Kebbi is a social robot for children.

    Kebbi can play, chat, tell stories or dance, and much more. Kebbi has facial recognition and object recognition features to make interactions more playful.


    Our research found the onboarding tutorial was not engaging. The problems included:

    • Flat and boring settings
    • A lengthy process
    • Frustrating conversation for kids
    • Like a tablet with hands

    Solution Brief

    Attract people by telling a background story of a robot world through an interesting interaction:

    • Situational storytelling
    • Keep it concise
    • Children-friendly conversation
    • A robot instead of a tablet

    How did this project contribute to the company?

    Helped structure the orchestrating experience, including the robot onboarding, app onboarding, and the following games

    The first example of successful small project team collaboration

    Facilitated and documented multimodal design process

    Problem analysis 

    So, why weren't users satisfied with the previous onboarding process?

    Issue 1

    The setup process did not express the fun robot characteristics

    Based on the survey results of previous customer satisfaction, we analyzed the data that was related to onboarding and tutorial. Furthermore, I searched the forums and unboxing articles/videos of users. 

    Key problems:

      Flat and boring settings

      • Just wake a sleeping robot up without a deeper Meaning
      • Users feel confused about the meaning of sleeping

      Screen first; like a tablet

      • Show the instructions and the wake-up word on the screen
      • Few dialogues, sound, or movement feedback during the process
      Issue 2

      The tutorial was incredibly long, directive, and not kid-friendly

      Tutorials include 7 sections: Sensor Tutorial, Listening Tutorial, Wake up Tutorial, Recap, Object Recognition Tutorial, Accessory Tutorial, and Menu Tutorial. I would like to take the Wake up Tutorial as an example.

      Key problems:

        Teach too many things

        • Continuously teach 7 features/functions
        • Including setting up, it can be longer than 15 minutes

        Frustrating interaction for children

        • Talk like a teacher
        • Explain with long sentences but children want to try immediately
        • Use difficult words
        • Force the user to repeat the wake word if not detected
        Interviews & Observations

        How could I find out solutions?  ➡️  Discussion with “experts” and observations of children

        We conducted 3 semi-structured interviews with teachers and parents to understand the conversational habits of children. Also, we visited an elementary school to observe how children interact with the robot.

        Identified key insights from the research activities with affinity diagramming

        Children like stories 

        Sound, light, and moving object are appealing to children

        Children’s attention span is short

        Use simple words when talking to children

        Aha! Design opportunities came up!

        Based on the results of the secondary studies, observations, and interviews, we identified 4 key takeaways for our onboarding redesign:

          Tell a story throughout the onboarding 

          Be short: communicate the key features

          Be simple; avoid frustrating tasks

          Create an engaging experience with sounds, lights, and movements


          How might we provide an engaging multimodel experience for children with a story?

          Story creation

          Built the story worldview and the robot character with a screenwriter and the animation team

          As the project owner, I was involved in the story workshop with the screenwriter and the animation to built a robot world and Kebbi’s persona. With the persona, we, the onboarding team, started to brainstorm how Kebbi meets with humans for the first time and how Kebbi may behave in this situation.

          Storyboard of how Kebbi meets the human 
          Sections & Flow

          Identified required interaction sections

          I mapped out the original settings and onboarding process and decided on the key interactions. Other functions in the previous rituals will be teached separately in each app’s onboarding.


            • Learn all the important interactions so that users won’t have problems interacting with the robot
            • The users would be impressed by the ability of the robot through the abundant onboarding


            • The most fundamental interactions
            • Those required for the system settings
            Multimodal Design

            Designed with various modal channels of the robot

            Based on the storyboard, we discussed how the robot presents itself. Quickly drawing the interaction on papers and conducting the Wizard of Oz testing on the utterance, we took into account all the interfaces of the robot, including screen, sound, dialogue, body movement, and light.

            The example of the multimodal design document
            Dialogue Design

            Make the wake word practice fun for children


              • Like a teacher
              • Explain for too long
              • Force the user to say the wake word, causing them to get frustrated or annoyed


              • Like a friend
              • Try saying the wake word right immediately
              • Propose an alternative if the user fails twice

              "Next, let’s learn how to wake me up. You can say “Hello Kebbi” to me to wake me up. After waking me up, my body will show yellow lights, and I will pay attention to your words. “Hello Kebbi”, try it!"

              When Kebbi successfully waken up
              "Well done, you make it!"

              When Kebbi fails to wake up
              Please say “Hello Kebbi” to wake me up. (keep repeating if not detected)

              "Hey, I want to tell you one of my robot secrets. Come closer! When you want to talk to me, you need to say a “secret word” first. It opens my superpower system so that I can reply to you! The “secret word” is “Hello Kebbi”. Let’s try it."

              When Kebbi successfully waken up
              "Awesome! You know the secret word. I’m so happy!"

              When Kebbi fails to wake up
              "Oops! Could you please say “Hello Kebbi” again? (If the user fails again, suggest touching the belly instead)

              Call to action at the end of the onboarding


                • Like a instruction on a tablet

                “If you want to know more about what I can do, you can open the function list to guide you.”


                • More engaging and interactive

                “I'm good at many things. Let me perform them for you. For example, I can tell you stories! WOOOOO~ I can also sing and dance with you. I also have a lot of games. Now, let's play together!”

                Development Issues

                Collaborated with the engineering team to ensure the feasibility

                The engineer provided ideas based on his technical background and help us make the design implementable. Here are some examples:

                  Adjust the section order 

                  The wifi set should be prior to software updates. Story animation couldn’t be shown when updating. We adjusted the design accordingly. 

                  Design UI with limitation 

                  We were only about to replace some UI to match our background story without changing the functions. It was due to the limited time for development.

                  Create the wake-up practice’s flow

                  I listed out all the possibilities of the success/fail user flows and provide flow charts for the developers.


                  Communicated, iterated, and tested fast!

                  Throughout the process, we discussed how the robot presents itself from large pictures to specific performances. Quickly drawing the interaction on papers, conducting the Wizard of Oz testing on the utterance, and building the high-fi prototypes.

                  Final design

                  Demo video of Nuwa CEO

                  English subtitles available!


                  What I have learned?

                  If I had more time, I would have…


                  Participatory design with children

                  Children are creative and imaginative, which would have helped us come up with more interesting stories. Furthermore, Participatory design using different techniques, such as workshops and interviews, could have helped users understand the needs and involve them in the design.


                  User testing with children of different ages

                  Due to the limitation of time to meet the date of product release, we only had about 3 weeks for the interaction design. Therefore, I only tested the process internally and asked for feedback from an elementary school teacher. However, children’s interests and cognitive skills varied in different stages. Testing with child users would allow us to discover how they interact with the robot.

                  I learned how to...


                  Lead a cross-functional team and moved fast!

                  I involved members from different functions in the decision-making processes, broke the project into manageable tasks, and assigned them based on members’ strengths. Therefore, we coordinated but conducted defined tasks independently of each other with crystal-clear goals and expectations. It also gave us a mutual understanding of each other.


                  Wear multiple hats; work flexibly and wisely

                  As the researcher, conversation designer, and project owner, I needed to quickly switch between the different roles. Collaborating with stakeholders of the animation team and engineering team, I identified the story settings and development feasibility then brought the takeaways back to the onboarding team. These experiences strongly improved my task management, time management, and communication skills. 

                  🔆  I'm Ya-ching, a product designer with 2 years of work experience! Let's get to know each other!

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