How to Create a Perfect Onboarding Experience?

Most UI/UX designers will be surprised to find out how fast digital products lose their audience. The statistics show that an average app loses up to 70% of new users after the first use. For the majority of apps, this number rises to almost 93% within the first month! At the same time, some of the top applications lose only about half of the new users over several months. But how come that this difference in user retention rate occurred? The answer is simple: the level of user experience (UX), and the effectiveness of user onboarding experience.

Any new app has a short period of grace in which it must impress the users, or they will be lost to the competition. You need them to build up a strong habit of using your product just like they have known it for centuries. But taking them by the hand around your digital product is far not enough. Smooth user onboarding is not just about a walkthrough of your website/app. In this posting, we have decided to talk about user onboarding experience as well as some of the best tips and practices to onboard the users and help them get the ball rolling. 


What Is User Onboarding?

Any user needs help when using your website/app for the very first time. At this stage, you need to show how your product can be useful for him or her, and how he or she can get the most of it. This is when you should begin the onboarding process. Onboarding users refer to the initial stage of getting them to understand the key features of your website/app (a free trial is the simplest example of onboarding). At the same time, designing a perfect user onboarding experience goes beyond showing off the main advantages of your digital product. It is more about the beginning of a long-lasting relationship between users and your brand. And this is where the true magic begins.


How to Design Excellent User Onboarding Experience?

Keeping users coming back means captivating them from the first use. You need to bring the product and user closer. Here are some of the best practices of how to do that:

  1. Celebrating user’s achievements

Any worker must be paid for his or her hard work. Similarly, your users love to see that you recognize their achievements. Even small successes like sending a message, writing a post, or uploading an image worth celebrating (for example, Mailchimp’s saluting ape hand when a newsletter is created).

  1. Testing

Building a good user onboarding may come with several scenarios, which the UI/UX designers have to take into account. Proper UX testing allows us to narrow down what is truly significant in creating a perfect onboarding experience. We have already discussed it here.

  1. Asking about push notifications

Sending push notifications is a perfect idea to get a user to finish the onboarding flow. At the same time, the wrong timing can have a highly negative impact on this case. Allow your users to get familiar with your app before asking their permission to send notifications.

  1. Sending more information

If your product is somewhat complex, you may want to consider helping your users get better informed with reminders. But it is important to know boundaries! Do not overflow their inboxes with follow-up emails.

  1. Avoid overloading your customers

Your user onboarding experience must be very picky in terms of what it displays to the user. Ensure each screen has no more than one key message, and limit your flow to 4-5 popups or screens in order not to overload your users with information.

  1. Putting your users in the driver’s seat

Give your users full control over the process. Provide them the option to control what gets shown or/and to skip a few steps in the flow.

  1. Be predictable in the user onboarding experience

Aside from having an outstanding web design that ensures high learnability and discoverability, you should always keep the users informed of where they are and how long they have to go. Consider adding indicators showing how many steps there are to take in the onboarding flow.

  1. Be consistent 

Consider using your brand identity to introduce the personality of your product from the start. This includes visual components, tone and language you use, and elements of color psychology. Besides, storytelling also works great for user onboarding.

  1. Know your audience

For tech-savvy users, consider focusing on how your product’s main features can be used/found. People who do not know tech terminology, include simplest things, such as the meanings of icons, and basic functions.

  1. Keep the balance between how-to and product advantages 

Users have downloaded your product for a reason. This means they just want to solve a specific issue, nothing more. These people do not want to see the upsides of your product. So it is important to keep the right balance between the walkthrough and educational side when it comes to onboarding. Users must know your product’s advantages without getting massively bored.


Onboarding vs. Offboarding Experience

Onboarding refers to the start of a relationship between a business and its users. In its turn, offboarding is somewhat similar only with the much lower lever of publicity. It is more about service provided at the end of a user journey, something users come into contact with after every completed online transaction. These two concepts go hand in hand; they both are the most crucial interactions between your product and its users.

Key Takeaways

The effectiveness of user onboarding is a significant indicator of your digital product. It requires introducing the product to the user, providing recommendations on how they can use it, and leaving them feeling both invested and familiar for its use. Sounds difficult, huh? At Loonar Studios, we know how to design meaningful user experiences that add great value to your product in the eyes of users. Interested? Contact us and get designing!