Particle First time user Onboarding Experiences!

Hey all,
I’m a new product manager at Particle & I’m diving into the Developer experience for our products. One of the areas I’m particularly looking at now is the new customer onboarding experience.

Today I see customers sign up for developer accounts, go to our store and buy hardware, setup the product & then use our Web IDE or Workbench to write code against it.

As a newer user of Particle myself, I personally looked to the documentation, youtube tutorials and community for help to get my Argon device up and running. Once I got to flash the device over the internet & blink an LED - I had my first Aha moment :)…and then got to coding my next iteration.

I’d love to hear from other folks, understand your experiences, things that went well and what we could make better! Look forward to hearing from everyone…

Shaykat Chaudhuri

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While BLE is a nice feature the Argon has over the Photon, I still miss the possibility to setup the device entirely over WiFi via SoftAP - the NCP would support it.
This way it would not be required to have any mobile app or CLI in order to get me going. Any WiFi enabled device with a browser would suffice.
In the same direction - but not in connection with onboarding tho’ - it would be nice to have the a mixed STA + AP mode (this was something “promised” for the Photon/P1/P0 but never materialised although still sought after: e.g. here)


Noted. thanks for the feedback ScruffR!

I’d also question the need for a mobile app to setup a Boron.

It may have made sense while mesh was a thing and the factory image was only half-backed, but since that’s all history a pure web based setup like we had with the Electron should be doable and may be preferred by some (e.g. myself).

For that to work that (obscure) “Setup-Done” flag should get ditched (or be set in factory) as its purpose was also closely tied to mesh (AFAICT - if it’s used of other purposes too, I’d be interested to learn).

BTW, the reference to mesh network at may also want removing as it’s not supported anymore.


@schaud, I just ran into another onboarding kink.
I just claimed a new TrackerOne which went fine but did not recognize the fact that it already has a GNSS fix but the spinner just won’t stop and the process does not move on.
Finally it even “failed”


it’s possible that you lost your lock during / right before you went through the setup process and due to your publishing settings, a new location event was not emitted before the setup check completed. here’s how to troubleshoot:

  1. place your tracker device nearby but where it can get a strong GNSS signal
  2. verify the GPS LED turns solid blue
  3. fetch your latest location data from the API - see docs
  4. verify that you see "gps_lock" : true in the location data returned by the API
  5. run through the setup flow

i just followed these steps and was able to complete the setup process in < 1m

Sure possible, but the blue GPS lock LED stayed permanently lit during the whole process.
In that case it’s maybe not an issue with the process but rather with the lock indication.
Either way, not the best UX :wink:

Not easily done with a device that won’t turn up in your account tho’

BTW, after multiple fruitless attempts it sometime decided to work and I didn’t have that same issue with the other four devices.

Agreeded. I was setting up some prototype B SOM devices a few months back and was shocked that I had to use the mobile app and scan the QR code, instead of using the CLI. That’s not a mass-manufacturing friendly feature.

Agreed. Great with an App when it works, but with EtherSIM, you should now just be able to turn the device on, and type in the device ID in console. Simple.


My boron lte kit says I am using a 3rd party sim and will not let me activate it using the app. It is new out of the box.

How does it do that?
Got a screenshot?

I did not get a screenshot but I got it activated with the CLI method.

We have had the situation with several B523 in a row, when setting up with the App, when the device is connecting, the App times out before the device is connected.

You can not start over because the device does not blink blue anymore - even after restart (sim is activated), and since the device is in fact not claimed yet, it can not be “unclaimed” to start over that way.

A new user can maybe think to “add device” in the console, but then there is nothing under “Owner” (not claimed). Others will try and find out what the LED pattern means and there learn about how to bring the device into “listening mode” manually and try again.

Advanced users will know that unclaimed devices is bad, and you can install CLI and claim the device there. But the point here, is that it is a bad user experience for first time users.