The Six Universal Experiences

During a Woo design meetup in Lisbon, we spent some time diving into some of our product experiences on WooCommerce (and a bit of Jetpack😉) . Before we dove in, Todd Wilkens (Head of WooCommerce) shared a UX framework called “The Six Universal Experiences”. Though it’s something we all feel we have an understanding of, it was nice hearing there was a process out there that helps put it into words.

What are the Six Universal Experiences?

The gist: No matter the product, there are six universal stages that govern all experiences. By focusing on these stages you can think ahead, and create valuable interactions that leads to positive impacts for your users.

What are the stages?


1. Discover, Try and buy Discover

This step focuses on the discovery of your product. People prefer to discover solutions to a problem they have, they don’t enjoy being sold to. Ideally the goal with discovery is understanding where your users are, going to them, and showing up when they need a solution.

Think of how you “discover” things online. You don’t magically go to a product page when you’re looking for something. You most likely start at google, reddit, or a trusted website you use to “discover” solutions.


Think of your experience when buying a car. You don’t buy a car solely based on the looks, no, you want to get in it, and give it a spin; same goes for digital products, and services. The best “try” experience is showing, not talking about it. Give users the chance to try out your product, to get a feel of the interior, the speed, the handling; if they love it, they’ll most likely move to the next step.


The user has tried the product, and loves it. The buy stage is straight forward, make it seamless. Don’t obfuscate with clickbait, upsells, or any pyrotechnics that will derail them from walking away with product in hand. Remove all barriers, and make checkout as simple as possible.



2. Get Started

First impression is everything. The red carpet doesn’t end after a person buys, no, that’s when it truly begins. A person purchasing your product means they see value, and believe you’re the right company to help them. “Get Started” focuses on first-time use. During the first use of your product, you want to hold the customers hand, and help them catch their bearings. Walking them through things to know, and set up helps them move into the everyday use stage faster.



3. Everyday Use

Whether once a day, week, or year, users should be able to use your product with ease. By understanding who your user is, you should account for all the things required to make them successful. Your product should be forgiving, understanding, and informative when needed. It should create a comfortable space where your customer feels in control, and has a sense of ownership.



4. Manage and Upgrade Manage

It’s easy to forget that products may have multiple user groups (front-end user’s, admin user’s, maintenance), all these groups still have one thing in common; they want a simple experience that helps them accomplish their tasks. Management of a system should follow the same simplicity rules as everyday use. It should be simple to manage a system.


Upgrades should be invisible when possible, and explanatory when not. The less user engagement the better, the more user engagement is required, the more hand holding, and criteria setting should occur. For major user experience changes, give users context on what’s changed, and how to use the new experience.



5. Leverage and Extend Leverage

APIs (application programming interfaces) and SDKs(software developer kits). Developers looking to build applications around your product are also user’s, so focusing on improving their experience is also important. “Get started” for them should also be seamless, informative, and digestible. APIs should be few to help reduce optionality overload, and SDKs should be well written, and designed for easy adoption.


Give developers the ability to customize your products for different segments. These users serve your other users. Extensibility opens the infinite allowing for the adjacent possible.

Leverage, and extend focuses on the developmental side of digital products, acknowledging builders are also potential user’s, so the experience needs to be thought through.



6. Get Support

Support crosses all experience stages, and is the one omnipresent lever. Support should always be ready to assist, and improve the users experience. When in need, support should be there. Before an error occurs, support should have been thought through to catch the impending mistake. Support is human, friendly, conversational. It should help users feel more knowledgeable, confident, and make users feel like experts. Support should also be listening, taking in feedback to help improve the UX. Forums, and/or communities tools where your user’s can interact and share ideas are great ways to facilitate community learning, empowering them to support themselves.

By Ola Bodera

Theme Wrangler, photographer, food blogger, and science-fiction fun.