As a designer, you want your users to gain as much as possible from your product. However, when faced with an interface that is completely new users can feel lost and overwhelmed. Even if the app can solve all of their problems it will not matter if the people using the platform do not know, how to use it. That problems can be solved with mobile app onboarding.
A process called user onboarding is often used to show how the app works. It is crucial if you want to help your users maximize the value they can get from your app.
User onboarding is a term borrowed from human resources. In UX design, it is a process of getting users familiar with a new interface. It often begins when the app is opened for the first time. Onboarding uses dedicated flows and UI elements that are not a part of the regular app interface.
Three main aspects of the onboarding process are:
User onboarding is an essential process in every mobile app. It sets the foundation for app success. It introduces new users to the app’s main features. Moreover, it provides them with valuable information on how the application functions.
Additionally, user onboarding allows individuals to customize their experience. This process can be used to tailor the app to users’ needs. It helps them to gain as much as possible from the app. In this article, we will explore some of the best user onboarding practices by examining successful examples from popular apps such as Duolingo, Blinkist, Slack, and Headspace. By understanding these practices app creators can optimize their onboarding process and enhance user satisfaction.
The onboarding process begins when users open an app. Because of that the process needs to take under consideration both new users and those experienced with the app. It is a good strategy to allow everyone to skip instructional and customization parts of the onboarding. Trust the users and let them experience the application first-hand right away.
Obviously, you don’t want your onboarding to take too long. According to Miller’s Law people can hold only about five to seven items in their short-term working memory, so you want to keep your onboarding process to 7 steps maximum. It is also a good practice to give your users a way to monitor their progress in the form of page indicators.
The Blinkist app acknowledges that and allows users to skip the most lengthy parts of their onboarding process.
Your application or platform probably has a large amount of features and functionalities. As a designer, you certainly do not want to overwhelm your users by demonstrating all of them right away.
Designers must consider what are the main goals and needs of their users. While designing the onboarding process it needs to focus on demonstrating the app’s features that meet those needs.
Duolingo, a popular language-learning app, provides a great example of the onboarding process. It leverages an approach called progressive disclosure.
The app introduces users to its features gradually. Slowly features are becoming more complex. It creates a sense of accomplishment when users are learning something new about the app. At the same time, Duolingo avoids overwhelming users with information.
The progressive disclosure approach creates a certain problem.
On the one hand, you don’t want to overwhelm your users with information about the application’s features. On the other hand, you want to show all the functionalities and instruct users how to use the product.
A solution to that are contextual instructions, that appear when the probability of them being useful is the highest.
Slack is a popular communication and collaboration platform. It uses contextual tips and tooltips to help users navigate its interface. While offering timely hints and explanations, Slack ensures that users quickly understand key features.
Instructions appear in the proximity of relevant UI elements. They show how users can create channels, join groups, and integrate Slack with third-party apps. These contextual cues save users time and reduce frustration by providing information when needed.
Apps mentioned above — Blinkist, Duolingo, Headspace—prioritize personalization and customization in their onboarding process. Each asks a series of questions designed to learn more about a singular user.
All of the data is then used to personalize the app. It allows to create more engaging and worthwhile experience. The impact of personalization becomes evident as soon as the onboarding process ends.
It is a good strategy to showcase the app first. Only afterward ask users to create an account. This way users can make an informed decision. They can choose whether they want to continue using the app or not. Additionally, it builds trust in the brand.
As mentioned before, an important part of Duolingo onboarding is the language fluency test. It is done in the same form that is later found in the app’s lessons.
This part of the onboarding process has several purposes. At the same time, it teaches how Duolingo functions, demonstrates its value, customizes the experience, and creates in users a sense of ownership of the process they made so far. Only then users are asked to create their profile. This makes users more likely to set up an account.
Another example of this approach is Headspace, a meditation and mindfulness app. It incorporates basic breathing exercises in their onboarding process, letting users know what they can expect from their app.
Effective user onboarding is crucial for driving user engagement. It ensures long-term success for applications and platforms. A lot depends on the app’s first impression users have.
By adopting best practices from apps like Blinkist, Duolingo, Headspace, and Slack, we can learn valuable lessons. it teaches us about the importance of clear and concise onboarding flows. Incorporating these practices into your onboarding process can significantly enhance your user’s satisfaction, retention, and overall user experience.
If you are currently working on onboarding flow yourself Talebook is a helpful resource to simplify your task.
This article was based on research conducted at Talebook. Here you can access the report based on that research. It was made using Talebook.io, an online research repository.
Furthermore, you can access the link to explore onboarding flow wireframes that are conveniently available for download. Wireframes are fully customizable and offered free of charge, so go on and start designing your user onboarding process today!
Best Practices for Onboarding by Nick Babich
Progressive Disclosure by Raluca Budiu
How To Design An Effective User Onboarding Flow by Suzanne Scacca
10 Steps for better Onboarding Experience by Grzegorz Oksiuta