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Introducing Bento’s Air Traffic Control system

Emily Wang
5 min read

Table of Contents

When we talk about in-product activation experiences, it’s just as easy to picture delightful onboarding as it is to picture chaos.

For every inspiring "onboarding examples" Figma is a tale of a customer complaning about endless distracting pop-ups.

Worst of all are the collisions.

You know, the one where there’s a system maintenance banner showing up on the same screen as an NPS survey and a tooltip announcing a new feature 😱

Our mission for an activation system 

In order to add more components, we needed a scalable system to wrangle a growing set of activation moments.

One of the main reasons we set out to build a new kind of activation platform is to give companies a scalable way to create “everboarding” moments.

We started with inline experiences because they are experiences that coexist with your UI – augmenting it as opposed to bandaiding it. And they perform 4-7x better!

However, our customers kept asking for more overlay components, and we realized that our mission needed to expand. Yet in order to deliver those well, we had to come up with a scalable system to wrangle a growing set of activation moments.

Introducing: Bento Air Traffic Control

To handle all of this, we took inspiration from our love of travel and flying, coming up with an Air Traffic Control system for your product.

The idea is to be able to control all the in-app experiences that can be injected into your product (guides, surveys, and calls to action), and make sure that they can be experienced in an orderly manner – never overwhelming the user, and certainly never colliding with one another. 

How we designed Bento ATC

Here’s a peek at the 3 core design principles that we relied on:


To the admin user, there's just a simple stack-rank of live guides to prioritize your experience against.

Most Bento customers have multiple teams contributing to activation and guidance experiences. While there's a lot of nuance to each experience’s targeting rules, we wanted to ensure that ATC was first and foremost, simple. Here, we’ve taken a simple linear stack rank system that’s used across all disruptive guides. 


The Bento command center helps users understand how targeting rules and prioritization ranking contribute to users getting (or not getting) an expect experience.

Not every user who comes to build experiences in Bento are familiar with everything else being launched. So, we created a command center to allow users to troubleshoot and understand why a user might not be seeing a guide (for example, if there’s another higher ranked experience that’s blocking). 

Holistic in nature

Guide priority enforces that all experiences that are disruptive, will be stack ranked

ATC controls guides, surveys, and is designed to handle any other experiences Bento may support in the future. After all, it doesn’t matter if all your modals and tooltips are nicely regulated if there’s an errant survey from another tool that interrupts or collides!

We also guarantee that every guide and survey has a priority rank so nothing can go rogue and circumvent the system. 

Looking ahead

It's a necessity to ensure activation systems enhance your product’s journey towards self-serve and not detract from it. 

As we look forward, we expect to continue to evolve this system. For example:

  • By adding finer grained throttling controls (e.g. how many overall disruptive experiences should a user get per session? What about just modals?)
  • By suggesting priorities based on best practices
  • And finally, by modifying priorities per user based on how they’ve interacted with various modalities before. If a user just hates tours, perhaps we deprioritize or even throttle those more heavily, to avoid annoying them without any positive outcome.

Building a system like ATC has not been easy or quick. However, it's a necessity to ensure these activation systems enhance your product’s journey towards self-serve and not detract from it. 

In order to deliver a system you can count on as you grow, we’re committed to ensuring that these experiences aren’t just easy to build, but are simple to manage.

After all, that’s the only way we earn our co-pilot wings ✈️

BentoAI - Auto-create guides from existing articles and recordings | Product Hunt