user onboarding

A good first impression is half the battle in the digital world. That’s why companies pay more and more attention to user onboarding, understanding that it’s crucial to a product’s success. What is user onboarding, and how to maximize your chances of succeeding on the market with its use?

As you may have noticed observing the market, the demand for user experience designers has been exponentially growing in recent years. That’s because the digital market went through a little revolution, becoming much more user-oriented. The competition is tough these days — with so much diversity, the clients are likely to switch to another product after one bad experience. And if it doesn’t feel user-friendly and intuitive from the start, the chances that they will delete the app right after one use are very high.

Therefore, designers are putting more and more emphasis on user onboarding since it is critical to the product’s success. Let’s break down this term and take a look at the best app onboarding experiences to identify the best practices that may pave your app’s way to the top.

What is user onboarding?

In a nutshell, user onboarding is a process designed to introduce the users to the product in the most seamless way and adjust it to their needs. It aims at maximizing customer retention and activating the user at first exposure to the product. After going through all the steps of your user onboarding process, the customers should be able to navigate through the app independently (although it’s worth planning some support elements that will help them after finalizing it). They should know all the main features of the app, its structure, and highlights.

What are the elements of user onboarding?

The elements of user onboarding come down to three components: feature introduction, instructions, and customization (in the respective order). The third component is not always included since not all the products enable or need customizing. However, there is a noticeable tendency to expand customization options since it’s another way to stand out in the application crowd.

The most typical user onboarding process starts with a confirmation e-mail, continuing through product setup (including customization of notifications, language, features, interface preferences, etc.), feature presentation, interactive tour, and routine check-ins. We can use automated webinar software to start building your business and creating relationships by generating leads & sales.

Depending on the app’s architecture and purpose, the composition of onboarding may differ, but usually, it consists of such elements like:

  •  welcome e-mail/welcome message/welcome video 
  •  signup form
  •  checkup call
  •  notifications
  •  data import
  •  authentication
  •  webinar invitation

How to maximize user retention with your user onboarding?

There is no universal formula since each product is different and deals with different challenges — for instance, the user onboarding process for the stock exchange app will most likely be much more complex than for the step counting app. However, the designers should always aim at keeping it as brief as possible to avoid discouraging the user.

How to saturate each step with information while keeping things clear, brief, and intuitive? First, it’s essential to prioritize the data, limiting it to the elements that are absolutely essential.

To do so, you’ll need to get to know your user as well as possible, possibly using such tools as personas. Then, it’s time to plan the user flow and combine the visual guidance with great UX writing to make the retention peak. And add some action! The most successful user onboarding designs are very engaging due to motion and interactive elements. Consider implementing customized videos – a secret power of many products with high retention rates.

Read more about user onboarding itself and about best practices for implementing new,
user friendly products and technologies, with examples and proven strategies.

Are you searching for inspiration for designing your process? Check out the strategies of:

  •  Duolingo
  •  Slack
  •  Airbnb
  •  TooGoodToGo
  •  Canva

We recommend going through them to see which elements could work for your product. If learning, learn from the best!


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