My First Approach on Designing Onboarding Flows

Right off the bat, I am going to say that I am no expert on designing onboarding flows.


While I have seen many beautiful onboarding flows, I have never designed one before… that is, not until now. I have been interning at Cooleaf this summer, a startup that focuses on employee engagement, as a designer. My main focus was the design of their mobile application and other UI related things, like web (more on that later). One of the tasks I was given was to create an onboarding flow for their app. Yikes, I don’t know how to do that! However, I know how to approach problems and I would like to think that I also know a thing or two about design. Here was my approach:

I did a ton of research. If you don’t have the solution, look at others who do. The first thing I did was google ‘best onboarding flows’, ‘tips on designing onboarding flows’, ‘apps with great onboarding flows’ and other things like that. Yeah, it’s basic, but you gotta start somewhere. Eventually I moved onto researching more indepth topics on onboarding, from ‘what kinds of features should be included’ to ‘onboarding conventions’, which brings me to my next step.

I asked other designers and developers. I flipped through all of the designers and developers I knew and shot out a few messages.

I wrote down what I already knew about onboarding flows. Most apps have onboarding flows, so you might know more about them than you may think. Writing down what you already know gives you a foundation to work off of, and lets you see if you have any misinformation.

I downloaded lots of apps with onboarding… like, a lot of apps. After researching other apps with awesome onboarding flows, I downloaded a lot of the ones I read about.

While this many not be a popular piece of advice, I suggest that you look into and download apps with bad flows. This way, you can compare the good with the bad and understand why one is better than the other.

So, what does it take to create an amazing onboarding flow? Check it out.