The Best 67 Mobile Onboarding Tips that I have found on the Internet

Hey guys!

When I was working on Mobile Onboarding process of our app, I explored a lot of blogs and articles about it to find out the most useful and interesting tips.

While I was searching for that information, I made notes with the best tips. Here is the full list of 67 tips that you can also use while working user onboarding process for your web or mobile app.

In the end of the article you can also find links to full original articles, where I have found all this information. I appreciate all people that created it. It’s really amazing and very useful.

I hope it will be also useful for you. And if you find it valuable, don’t forget to share it with friends and colleagues :)


1. Don’t use welcome screens to tell users about the app.

When it comes to onboarding, too many apps open for the first time to a series of sliding screens that do nothing more than look pretty and provide more reading about what the product does. The users who installed your app already took a set of high-friction actions to find it in the App Store, install it and open it after download,” says Asatryan. “They didn’t do all that just to learn more about your product. When you look at user tests, no one pauses to read this text. And the very few who do immediately forget what they read when they have to take an action like filling out a signup form.”

Instead, you want to replace these opening screens with “tool tips” layered on top of UI elements. Learning by doing is much more effective because the user gets the context about an action, takes the action and sees immediate feedback within the span of a few seconds.

Case: “Every time we’ve replaced traditional welcome screens with an in-line tutorial with tool tips, we’ve seen a 30% to 50% increase in conversion from install to user activation,” says Asatryan. “This is one of the easiest, highest-impact changes that you can implement right now.”

2. You have to make sure there is only one clear, dominating action on every screen of your app.

Don’t present equal choices or the possibility of accidental taps on the wrong button. You can’t make assumptions that users will read any of the copy you provide.

Design every dominant call to action to move users forward consistently with all previous calls to action they chose beforehand. All of these CTAs should look and feel the same in terms of superficial traits like color, font, wording, placement.

“How much text is on a screen? Did the user really need to know all of that in order to find their way to the next screen? Consider all the elements you’re requiring people to think consciously about and remove as many as you can.”

3. Find opportunities for positive reinforcement.

Getting users to make even a small effort in your app is a tall order. So you need to reward them for every tiny, marginal action. This can range from in-line validation with green checkmarks inside account creation form fields (or turning fields where they need to input info green once they do) to transition animations between screens dedicated to thanking users for taking high-friction actions like making a purchase.

You need to orient people in a way that makes them aware and accepting of how much work you need them to do to use your product.

People feel compelled to finish something when they know they’re almost done. Adding a progress bar can increase conversions up to 40%.

4. What are the obvious and implicit reasons users come back to your app again and again? If you can think of some clear reasons, build them explicitly into your app.

For example, maybe users are returning to obsessively check their newsfeed, and you observe that they mostly click on updates related to their favorite sports team. The best thing to do would be to build a way for them to opt-in to push notifications about that team. That will pull them back to your app even more frequently while also personalizing the experience. (For Libertex it can be push-notifications about profit more than 10% from sum of deal)

5. “The key is to really define ONE MAIN METRIC — and it really needs to be an action that users can take in your product,”

How do you find this one Main Metric? Fill in the blanks with the same word in the following two sentences:

“If we only grew our volume of _____ and everything else stalled, our company would still be doing really well.”

“Every user who takes a _____ action is going to basically use our product forever.”

Example #1: Deposits = [Installs] x [Signups/Installs] x [Deposites/Signups] x [Secondary Deposites/Users who funded account]

  1. Installs
  2. Conversion rate to Lead
  3. Conversion rate to Funded account
  4. Conversion rate to Secondary deposit

“First, we get a benchmark for each of these component parts. Then, we determine which of these components can easily be improved the most. We continue to maximize them all until the easiest one left to improve is ‘installs.’

Example #2: Posts = [installs] x [Signups/Installs] x [Content Posters/Signups] x [Posts/Content Posters]

The same signup benchmarks apply in both examples. Once you move into maximizing [content posters/signups], you want to consider creating a more directed flow that teaches users the UI of your app and how to make their first post. After that, maximizing [posts/content posters] again becomes a question of retention.

6. What a Great Onboarding Flow Looks Like

It provides your user with value they want and need within their first session. It allows them to set up the app in a way that ensures their continued engagement. And finally, it makes users feel like they’ve made the app their own by the end of your onboarding process.

“This is why Pinterest’s onboarding asks people to follow boards,” says Asatryan. “It’s why Snapchat asks you to send a photo to friends right away. Instagram is very aggressive about asking you to follow people.”

7. “How does your app look when it being used outside of its hours of operation?” (Blank states)

It’s vital that you remember that many new users will run into these scenarios all the time. How can you limit their negative impact and make your app look less like a ghost town?

8. That first screen you show people should be all about signing up

Many app makers make their login and signup buttons the same size and shape. But most users never log out of apps, so it’s unlikely that they’ll need to log in again. “That first screen you show people should be all about signing up. The log in button or link should be tiny in one of the corners. It should be there for anyone who looks for it, but otherwise it’s out of the way.

9. There should never be more than two options to sign up.

Another error in this category is adding every possible signup option: Facebook, Google, Email, Phone Number, etc. When you make users choose, you add cognitive load and friction. Because users have a finite amount of mental energy they are willing to expend using your app for the first time before dropping off, it’s vital to help them conserve as much energy as possible. You want them to reserve that energy for the actions that activate and engage them for the long-term. Don’t waste it on them choosing which signup option to go with.

“Just see which option users are choosing most and get rid of the rest of the options,” says Asatryan. If two options are close, consider having one be dominant and the other secondary.

10. Every screen should look good when the keyboard is up

In many cases, half of the screen will be obscured. Is the keyboard covering some vital piece of information or a link people need to progress through your app? Is it covering an important call to action? Never let this happen.

11. Improve error states

What message do users see when they mistype their credit card number? Or don’t provide an accurate zipcode or formatted email address? There are countless things that could go wrong in one form. How do you alert your users to these facts? How do you make it easy for them to return to what they were doing? Sometimes these messages appear and they’re very technical and confusing, which can be terrifying and alienating to a non-tech savvy user.

12. The best way to test your most critical hypotheses is to make big noticeable changes to your product.

That will give you a clear, decisive answer about what’s better in most cases. So let’s say that you’re not quibbling with button color, but rather rethinking the order of screens you present to people. You want to make a drastic change (at least for a percentage of your users, like users coming from a particular traffic source like ads or referrals) to get a sense of what’s truly important to them

13. Think about what the most successful customers did when they first joined Buffer

At Buffer we focused on taking a step back and think about what the most successful customers did when they first joined Buffer. And the results were quite striking. It wasn’t to share on social media — which is Buffer’s main focus in terms of helping you with publishing and scheduling. Instead it was to optimize posting times, set timezones, connect all accounts, check if everything is ok and ready to go. Only then did they feel comfortable to share. So we rebuilt our onboarding process to focus on those items first and not push sharing and all other features instead. It made a huge difference in our activation!”

Interesting things in Buffer’s onboarding:

  • it’s required steps in onboarding. You can’t continue without finishing onboarding
  • there is positive copies on all CTA-buttons within onboarding
  • you don’t register, you just add social media accounts for posting (it’s very good approach)
  • if you add twitter account, there is proposal to subscribe to Buffer’s twitter accounts on the last step of onboarding
  • after onboarding in Buffer’s dashboard they show big pop-up about ‘2 weeks of Awesome plan to my account’. It’s good first interaction with new user.

14. Determine if you need to design for multiple user/role types.

#1: For example, if you’re building a holiday rental app, only onboard renters with what they need to achieve their goal of finding a place to stay. Create a different onboarding sequence for users looking to advertise their space.

#2: For example, you might need to onboard a developer vs. an average user. In that case, the flow will look very different. As Sascha Konietzke said, “Onboarding for API-centric products is very different. Developers don’t want a forced click-through tutorial, they want to use your API right away. Support them with quick start documentation as well as example code and get out of their way as soon as you can.”

15. Pace your onboarding and create milestones — it doesn’t all have to happen upfront.

Continuing with the holiday rental app example, if a user rents 3 places within a certain period of time, only then message them about advertising their own place.” (It’s applicable for those features that are not crucial for the 1st time experience)

16. Planning past the first session matches your funnel to your buyer’s decision making process.

Early on, I wish someone had told us to plan past the first session. Let’s say you have a SaaS application and know that new users who take actions X, Y, and Z end up being really successful.

It’s tempting to build a linear new user flow that encourages them to take these 3 actions then call it a day. But that’s just not how humans evaluate software — most of them will hardly complete one of the three actions in their first session. So what happens when they come back 5 days later and they have completed Y but not X or Z?

Planning past the first session matches your funnel to your buyer’s decision making process. It means aligning your in-product experiences, email campaigns and sales/customer success outreach to reinforce the user’s success path.”

17. Anything not related to the user finally saying “Aha!” about the benefit of your product (which onboarding unlocks) is friction. It’s in the way and it will drag your onboarding down to fail.”

“The #1 tip I have is to have the least amount of friction as possible. If you have an engine of growth in the onboarding, remove it. If you have a request for social shares in the onboarding, remove it. If you have an email opt-in or a “special offer” in the onboarding, remove it.

18. Convert customers based on behavior instead of an arbitrary X-day trial. This is easier than it sounds:

#1: Offer early conversion incentives for customers who get value sooner.

#2: “Think about what it would mean to fully activate your software — what steps must the user complete? For example, we have 5 steps (run a search, create a list, create a template, integrate your email, send an email). If you do all those 5, then you’re more or less onboarded.

Now, target your emails based on where the user is regarding these activation steps, regardless of what day of the trial it might be. It’s much more targeted that way. The result is that you will have different possible emails that can go out on Day 5, for example, depending on what the user has and has not done.”

19. One of the most important things you can do when a customer signs up is provide immediate value.

While it might take a while to fully onboard a client, it is possible to allow them to succeed with the software quickly. This can be in the form of a minor feature that is easy or fun to use like generating a report, creating an invoice or sending a text message. If the customer is successfully using some part of the software within the first few minutes of the onboarding process, they will be more likely to spend the time needed to learn the full solution. For some products, this will be in the form of a setup wizard or a walk through tutorial.

What is most important is not the ultimate value of the specific feature but the ability for the customer to feel successful and establish some confidence that they can use the tool.

20. There are three stages of user onboarding…

  1. Before: The sign up / registration phase. How friendly is your form?
  2. During: The initial user onboarding flow that most people consider “user onboarding”.
  3. After: All other stages of the customer lifecycle. How can you help existing users understand new features?

21. Action-oriented, not instructive:

Rather than throwing up a bunch of tooltips that I have to remember later, have me learn by doing. Let’s user do it and don’t teach all at once. Don’t tell. Show in action.

22. User-centric, not product-centric:

Onboarding tends to fall down when it’s just about the software pointing itself out.

23. Continued onboarding within the next sessions:

  • Recommendations
  • Suggestions

24. Let the user know how long your onboarding process is

Via any type of progress-bar or additional information about how much time it can take for the user.

25. Show early wins. Help users achieve more frequent wins as they progress.

After each action user should get positive reinforcement to make him happy and convince him in idea that he understands how it works.

26. Add references to your valuable features at relevant places without disturbing the flow of already enabled features.

27. When in doubt, I recommend asking for only the information that’s useful/relevant to the user at that particular time.

If you can’t come up with a good reason to look them in the eye and tell them why it’s in their best interest to provide it, it’s probably a very good candidate for leaving on the cutting room floor.”

28. ‘Getting started’ like on Linkedin and Inbound much better than tooltips/walkthroughs, for 3 primary reasons:

  1. They’re non-interruptive. I’m not at all a fan of throwing up a barrier to the user’s immediate progress in the form of a tooltip or splash screen, but progress trackers just sit there, helpfully abiding.
  2. They’re persistent. Unlike other onboarding design patterns that only show up upon signup and are never seen again, these dudes hang around until the job is actually done. Onboarding doesn’t happen in a single visit, after all.
  3. They’re progress-y. The whole point of onboarding is to get people to take meaningful actions that lead to value, not to click “next, next, next, next” on a tour of how confusing your interface is. Progress trackers, by definition, are naturally predisposed to the former.”

29. Example by Clash Royale with achievement and incentive to return to the app.

It’s important that a new user wins and experiences that feeling of achievement. It’s also important they receive the “Wooden Chest” reward…

Chests are another core function of the game. You collect chests, which take upwards of three hours to unlock. You can pay with in-app currency (which is limited, but available for purchase with actual currency) to open the chests earlier, though. Inside the chests are new cards, gold, gems, etc.

Pros of this feature:

  • HOOK model: Take action — Get reward
  • Help to return user to the app, because he have some reward that would be active after a few hours (1st day retention)
  • Help to increase conversion rate to in-app purchase to open reward right now

30. To explain some hard features you can use video-explainers along with text tips (for continued onboarding)

Especially we can implement it to our features (Multiplier, Stop loss, Take profit), because we have already finished videos.

31. Combine email and on-site user onboarding flows for the best results.

The two should work together and complement one another, always pushing users towards experiencing the core value.

32. How do I find out what makes people stick around with so little traffic? Do I judge on gut feeling alone?

Answer by Samuel Hulick

If I were you, I would be personally reaching out to every single signup and being as helpful as possible. I guarantee this will yield great insights into what people think they’re signing up for, what they’re trying to accomplish, and what in your UX is preventing them from doing that. “Be” your onboarding before “designing” it.

Full question: 
I have a very basic onboarding experience set up for LinksSpy: online onboarding (the cool little bubbles that tell you what to do) and a drip email campaign for new signups. During the first 4 days in our 7 day trial they receive 2 emails: one that tells new customers what to do with the data they receive and one that tells them more about a feature of the app.

I do not personally reach out to every new signup.

After signup new customers spend about 5–10 minutes to set up the application and then they have to wait for 2–8 hours (servers crunching in the meantime) before they see actual results.

I have <50 customers and not much data on how successful the onboarding is. I know that ideally you want to bring your customers to the point where they feel awesome for using your product ASAP.

33. Informed, not reactionary:

Are the things you’re having me do highly correlated with me getting value out of the product, or are you just offloading busywork because your design is broken?

34. Progress bar should starts with a filled out percentage

Progress bars that play best to our bias starts with a substantial percentage of the bar filled out. This helps a user feel like they are already underway instead of starting from scratch, and it increases a person’s desire to complete the task at hand.

If it’s weighing on your conscience that you’re tricking your users, you can attribute the initial progress to completing the form on your landing page.

Examples: Disqus, GoDaddy

35. Reiterate your value proposition on welcome screen of onboarding

Humans have a cognitive bias towards consistency. When someone has agreed with the messaging you’ve displayed on your landing page enough to sign up for your product, reiterating that same value proposition can help them stay in accordance with their initial journey.

Let’s face it, there’s often a drastic jump in experience for a user when they go from your landing page to inside of your application. That jump can land them in an awkward place if the copy and design of the welcome page greatly differs.

By keeping the language to describe your product’s value proposition consistent, you may harness their momentum enough to keep them clicking around in your app.

36. Follow the rule of 3 when personalizing new users’ experience. Don’t provide too much options

Many welcome screens prompt users to choose their own destiny. They offer options that lead into different first-run experiences, and almost every time we’ve seen this kind of experience branching, three options are provided.

Perhaps this is a coincidence. Perhaps three is arbitrary. Or perhaps three options is tested and proven to be successful.

Examples: SurveyMonkey, Canva, Codeacademy, Godaddy

37. When customizing news feeds, images are essential (Visual also can be used for questions when personalizing new users’ experience)

Many apps have discovery at their core value proposition. Sites like Quora, Tumblr, andDisqus are not only interesting to users for the purpose of creating questions, content or comments, they’re also interesting for content discovery.

In each case, their initial welcome screens are focused on creating a feed of information for personalized discovery. Furthermore, each service uses visuals to help a new user identify their topical content preferences.

38. Appropriate Paywalls for Upgrades

Typeform has a number of well placed paywalls to take users from free to paid subscriptions. By putting paywalls around sensitive but non-essential features, Typeform probably gets a lot of upgrades without sacrificing too much of the usability of their freemium plan.

One such paywall appears when users customize the thank-you message, which appears when someone completes a survey or other Typeform. The thank-you message is not an essential data collection point, so the timing for this paywall is strategic, utilizing an upgrade technique that’s not going to aggravate too many users and send them scurrying.

Another well placed paywall is around branding. If users want to remove the viral loop CTAs at the end of their typeforms — as mentioned above — they can do so on a paid plan.

One last effective paywall appears when adding a field to set up payment processing.

39. Eliminate email verification

One of the goals of onboarding is to get users to the aha moment as soon as possible. Asking users to check their email AND text for verification means two opportunities for users to exit out of the app and get distracted, by two competing means of communications no less.

40. Ramp up complexity progressively, over time, when users themselves discover the value for it.

B-Dash in World 1–1 is a nice to have, but World 4–3 is impossible without it. A progressive ramp up in difficulty that corresponds with a progressive ramp in complexity is a common game mechanic, and it’s something you should understand in designing feature discovery in your app. Teach users advanced features with tooltips, coach marks, and modal windows when they’re ready to get more power out of your app.

41. Reinforce the incomplete tasks throughout your app.

In-app, make the progress bar and the uncompleted steps a visible part of the experience. Use tooltips and checklists with Appcues to remind users of their progress and what’s left to accomplish.

More and more apps are creating ongoing progress meters that extend beyond the user onboarding period. This provides a way to perpetually inspire re-enagement via incomplete tasks.

42. The single most important thing we’ve done to improve user onboarding is to split our onboarding up into more bite-sized smaller steps.

As Ian Main, product designer at Quick Sprout says:

There are very few, if not just a single option for people to fill out or enter in information at each step. This has enabled us to measure our user onboarding funnel more granularly and has made it easier to move the steps around when we are trying to optimize the funnel.”

43. Get a backup contact method.

Google, Facebook and other big companies are famous for constantly pestering their users for backup contact methods.

But there’s a reasonable explanation behind it, and it’s that even email is not an entirely reliable mode of communication.

Something like 30% of HubSpot’s long-term churn was at one point related to one factor: people getting new jobs and losing the email addresses they used before. That’s it. They were perfectly happy with the product, but they no longer had access to that email account.

This is why you need to ask your users for backup means of contact — because just one email address is not enough.

It’s pretty cool way to get another one channel to deliver marketing stuff (if it’s needed). Especially it can be helpful if you sell your stuff via phone, but don’t want to requst it within registration process.

44. Add texts and visuals that tell users why

on the redesign, Slack replaced this visual with one of a more meaningful purpose. The image of the product with a sample company name users see how this decision will manifest later, thus allowing users to complete this step more thoughtfully.

As humans we’re conditioned to avoid effortful processes. So when asking users to volunteer information (effort), it’s important not only to convey what information you’re asking for but also why you’re asking for it.

This is commonly done with microcopy, and Slack has always been great at using microcopy to contextualize asks. But adding the visual gives a real glimpse of why.

45. Eliminate password creation if it’s possible

Slack no longer requires new users to create a password during their signup process. Instead, they send an email shortly after signing up notifying the user of the need to create a password.

One of the core tenets of user onboarding is to remove all unnecessary friction that stands between a new user signing up and her WOW moment. While passwords are certainly foundational and necessary for ongoing product usage, they aren’t necessary for a user to realize how Slack is going to improve one’s life in the next 10 minutes.

46. Removed distractions to keep users focused

When previously arriving at the welcome screen in Slack’s application, the left hand navigation bar and the search field were already exposed. In addition, Slack already prompted you for desktop notification permissioning.

In the updated onboarding experience, Slack replaced the channels and search field with visual representations and hold off on permissioning until a few steps later.

The most engaging products keep new users very focused on the path to success.

Take the search field, for instance. How would a brand new user with no message history benefit from knowing about the search functionality of Slack? It could be far more compelling if it’s emphasized when the user can actually get value out of it.

The result of hiding this complexity is a much cleaner, more focused flow.

47. Behavorial triggers for email onboarding

Our old email drip was “standard,” in that every single user got the same 14-day sequence.

A user who logs in three times per day and is highly engaged from day one would get the same exact emails as a user who never logged in after their first session.

Startups stress over hyper-targeted marketing, but once a user signs up, we treat them all the same. Two people using your product can still have very different needs, and your onboarding emails should reflect that.

In our 14-day sequence that, for most users, includes six total emails, we have 22 different messages that go out based on user behavior.

Another comment from GrowthHackers:

The next obstacle you might be hitting is that you’re building your flow on a generic “Day 1 …. Day X” basis, so every user is getting the same emails no matter their experience.

I, for example had just barely kicked the tyres on my first signup and hadn’t logged in a second time. 3 or 4 days later I got an email with the subject “How to Use Template Variables”.

This type of email and any other quickstart guides, tutorials, tips and tricks etc. are all product focused onboarding.

Instead of that, what you could do is ask why a guy like me would have signed up, but 3 days later I still haven’t created my first template (if creating a first template is the first step you want me to take).

Maybe I liked the idea of sending postcards to users, but I couldn’t think of how it’d apply to my business. Well if that’s the case, you should try an email that shows me 5 awesome examples of how businesses are using your service.

If, another 3 days later I’m still stuck at step 1, maybe I just don’t see the value. So send me a motivational email with a case study on the SaaS company that doubled conversions when they added postcards to their onboarding flow.

48. Make onboarding contextual and progressive

A contextual, just-in-time onboarding approach is a good way to avoid those pesky information-loaded screen-by-screen tutorials. Rather than asking your users to remember everything up-front, why not provide guidance as they go? Surfacing helpful information at the point of action is always going to be more effective than a firehose-worth of instructions and explanations at the beginning. By implementing a more contextual approach to onboarding, you reduce the friction on a user’s journey through your site or app, and you ask for less up-front commitment (reduced friction + less up-front commitment = onboarding bonus points!).

Another benefit of contextual assistance is that it allows for a more progressive approach to guiding users as they branch out and learn to use more features or functions. Useful information about more advanced or deeper features can be presented as users encounter them, whether it’s the first day of use or three weeks later. If you had presented the same information in a screen-by-screen tutorial up front, how many users are likely to remember it weeks later when they finally are ready to use the feature you were referencing?

49. Generate excitement about using the product in the future.

Even if people get fully setup, you have to leave them excited enough to come back. This is one place instagram excels — it immediately shows me beautiful pictures that make me want to take my own.

50. Repeat to create a habit

After you’ve figured out what your ‘wow moment’ is and you’ve made sure that your users are exposed to it as soon as possible you can let them experience it again. This mechanic is often used in games to get players into a habit, a fun behavioral loop that sucks users in.

51. Avoid the Obvious

Good app onboarding is efficient and to the point. You want to keep the onboarding process as quick and streamlined as possible, which means trimming off any unnecessary fat.

Don’t waste time stating the obvious. App users know that a camera icon will bring up their native camera, and most users will naturally understand the kind of icons associated with liking, favoriting, and sharing, so long as your icons aren’t far off the mark.

In many cases, explaining an app’s navigation structure is largely unnecessary, so long as you aren’t deviating from a standard design.

52. Don’t overuse videos in onboarding flow

Videos can be really enjoyable and informative to watch, but the issue I have with them is that they’re a “lean back” activity, rather than an action-oriented one.

As fun as videos are, I put them in the category of other flow-blockers like tooltip tours and *shudder* email confirmation that break up the flow of the experience rather than directly progress it.

Videos are also risky because if they feature the interface in any way, they will have to be constantly updated, and they’re relatively expensive to make, as contrasted with simple copy, images, etc.

I’d much rather design an innately intuitive experience that requires as little explanation and introduction as possible, and experiment with “cheaper” forms of intro content.

by Samuel Hulick

53. Multiple steps signup / onboarding for products that need a lot of information from user

I lean way towards multi-step. Whenever asking for information from a user, I filter every decision through a lens of “can this credibly be represented as being to the user’s benefit in providing this?” That takes time and explanation to communicate the relevance, and huge forms just can’t do that.

Regarding the “feels like it will never end” part, you can tackle that problem independently by setting expectations at the beginning (“This will take N minutes to complete”), demonstrating progress (“page 2 of 5”, “60% complete”, etc.), and allowing convenient exit points where people can pick things up in a follow-up visit.

by Samuel Hulick

54. Matching onboarding (Lifecycle) Emails to Activities

Since the purpose is to bring people back into your product to continue their march toward victory, I’m a huge proponent of identifying what your onboarding flow’s most crucial steps are and then creating a series of emails that speak directly to those activities (as opposed to first trying to think up interesting emails and then sprinkling links inside them afterward).

For example, if your product is a dating website and you know that if someone doesn’t upload their photo they stand a very poor chance of generating any romantic inquiries, then crafting an email (or, even better, a series of emails — more on that later!) around getting people to do that one particular step is a very, very good idea.

55. Define success milestones that drive new user to conversion

Let’s say you have an e-commerce store builder, what does initial success look like for your customer? The first time they sell an item? Sure… we’ll go with that.

What are the things the need to do to achieve success?

Customer centric success milestones

  1. Decide to open an online store <== the required step 0
  2. Create the Store
  3. Make the store their own
  4. Figure out how to get paid
  5. Stock the virtual shelves
  6. Get feedback on the design
  7. Open for Business
  8. Get customers? (Potential Success Gap here, BTW)
  9. Make their First Sale! <== success (at least at first)

What might that look like in the product?

  1. Sign-up for the Trial <== the required step 0
  2. Create the Store
  3. Customize the Store <== The “Wow!” moment is here maybe
  4. Setup Payment Method <== gotta get paid!
  5. Add & Configure Items
  6. Soft-launch Store w/ Friends and Family
  7. Incorporate Feedback and Refactor
  8. Publish Store and Promote
  9. Their First Sale! <== this is actual success, right?

The cool part of breaking down the onboarding process like this is that while you must keep the overall goal of success in mind, you only have to solve for the next success milestone with your lifecycle messaging, app design, etc.

Once they reach that milestone, onto the next one and so on. This makes creating those email or in-app lifecycle messages easier and results in them being much more effective.

56. Personalization for content-related products

For content-related products like yours, the value a user gets is far more dependent on the preferences of that user than the features of the product. When this is the case, it’s important to personalize a user’s onboarding experience to ensure she quickly finds exactly what she values most.

57. Connect “Functional On-boarding” with “Emotional Engagement.”

Engagement requires functional on-boarding, but you don’t necessarily get emotional engagement simply by completing the steps required to “use” the product.

And emotional engagement is what we need to change behaviors and make conversion the most logical step at the end of the trial.

58. Mention further help or guidance tools within onboarding

Once user done with the tutorial, he is on your own. Don’t leave him without clear support and understanding where to find it.

59. Be human with copy on welcome screens and greetings

No more marketing mumbo jumbo! Talk to people using your app like they’re people, even a friend. Not a robot trying to sell them something.

You need to understand who your users are and use language they’ll respond to. An app designed for younger users needs to talk in a different way to an app for professionals to trade stocks and shares.

With this in mind, the importance of clear, concise copywriting can not be overstated. This is your first chance to talk to your users, so talk to them like a human, not like a piece of software.

60. Progressive Profiling

Another way to increase the success of onboarding is to reduce friction in account creation. To do this, Janrain Consumer Research suggests sites allow users to progressively build their profiles. You do this by requesting only the most important and necessary information during registration. It’s an important balance. Ask too much of new users and they may not complete the process. Don’t ask enough and users are less likely to get value out of your product and churn. Requiring just enough increases the odds of retention.

Just enough does not necessarily mean enough to result in the most complete experience from your web app. You can see this tactic in the way LinkedIn, Facebook and Tumblr give users easy opportunities to build their profiles over time.

61. Automagical Registration

What if you didn’t need to register before you used an application? Well, do you believe in automagic? This rare, 100% friction-free account creation process is used by Typeform, Duolingo, Tripit and Square Cash. The only onboarding friction here might be the time you spend trying to wrap your head around how these services work.

TripIt organizes travel plans into an itinerary that has all of your trip details in one place. All one has to do to create an account is forward travel confirmation emails to Using these emails, TripIt automatically builds an itinerary for your trip that you can access online. Your account is created for you with the email you sent your trip details from, and a confirmation email is sent in reply to complete the login.

62. Early win-states

Remember how easy the first level of games used to be? To use World of Warcraft as an example, you go from level 1 to level 2 within the first 5 minutes of playing the game. This instant gratification makes users feel good, and encourages them to stick around and keep paying that subscription money even when it might take a whole day (or 5) to level up later on down the line.

Software uses early win-states to train you to use it and condition you into repeating what makes you feel good and what ensures you get the best use out of their product.

63. Identity creation

When you start playing a video game for the first time, one of the first steps is usually character creation. At the most basic level, it’s naming the save file, at the most complex you’ll get to customize every aspect of your character’s appearance, voice and even history.

The same goes for software, especially those with social aspects. The whole point of Slackbot was profile creation, which is a tactic to increase retention by getting you personally involved with it before you do anything else.

To make you feel more at home, some apps or sites like GrowthHackers pre-populate your profile by bringing in your details from Twitter, Facebook or wherever you signed up through — Sean Ellis knows what’s up.

According to Yu-kai Chou, “just like how IKEA makes people attached to their furnitures by having customers build the furnitures themselves”. So that’s why they do it…

64. Add social proof in user onboarding

For example, use social proof instead of any copy about yourself. Clients tells potential users how Canva can help them to make design easily.

Use approach like to convince user to make needed action.

65. Mobile personalization transparency

When LinkedIn launched a new app version, the company included a series of questions in the mobile onboarding process to build a personalized feed based on users’ interests and preferences. That’s a great way of reducing users’ concerns regarding the information you gather — simply let them know what you’re after and why. You can also answer any questions they might have in a dedicated FAQ section, provide a detailed explanation when asking for permission to access their data during the onboarding experience, or create a friendly privacy policy that the average user can actually understand.

When you opt for mobile personalization transparency, users will not be amazed to discover that your app can “read their minds”; they’ll know how this magic was done and for what purpose. In order to encourage collaboration, give users instant gratification by delivering personalized content right after you ask them to participate.

Another great thing about the transparent approach is that is gives users the sense of control over how their information is being used. They can choose to expose their data or not. It’s up to you to convince them by creating a compelling experience that will provide real value.

66. Use splash screens for tips / onboarding

Never make users wait.

Use the screen space and time wisely when your app is loading. A splash screen gives you a short but vital window to engage a user in your proposition. Provide them vital tips/help in context of the app’s functionality.

Most experts say an onboarding sequence should only be employed if absolutely necessary. Otherwise, you can use splash screens to provide the absolutely vital information.

67. Instead of just displaying data, show transitions

When a user move from one screen to another, they shouldn’t feel ‘Where that came from?’

To avoid surprising users with a different interface use transitions between the screens instead of direct data pop-ups.

That’s it. That’s all.

If you have any other tips / advice, feel free to write it in comments and I will add it to the article. Let’s create great onboarding guide that will be useful for as many people as it possible.

And…don’t forget to share it with friends and colleagues.

Have a good day! :)

Thanks to all guys, that created so great articles about User Onboarding: