User Onboarding

May 2, 2016 · 4 min read

User Onboarding should never be an afterthought.
Why it’s key to delivering the best possible user experience from the get-go.

You’ve built an amazing new product that is sure to improve the lives of many, and someone has actually downloaded it! Not only do you need to get users through the door but in order for them to stay they’ll need to understand it. How do you ensure your users are getting your product’s key message? Can you easily explain complex user flows and product features without slowing down those that want to dive right in?

This is where good user onboarding can take your product to the next level. A new user can quickly become disenchanted with your product if the setup process is cumbersome and confusing. An effective onboarding experience will equip your user with the ability to get the most out of your product; translating to better conversions.

“A poor onboarding experience makes every part of a product company work harder: marketing teams have to acquire more and more visitors to keep filling a leaky funnel, and sales & support teams have to spend their days hand-holding confused signups instead of scaling things out for the whole user base.” — Samuel Hulick User Onboard

Proving Valuable

Your product needs to explain in a concise way what value they can offer to the user. This should be done at the very start. Users should be aware of how your product can improve their lives and be shown the potential outcomes.

“For a new user to become an active one, they must experience value from the application — and the sooner, the better. Churn rate is proportional to the distance between sign-up and value.” — Nate Munger Intercom

Outline your value proposition, examples of your work, have clearly placed CTA’s and even testimonials, all on your introductory page. Making sure users know why your product is right for their needs and how to proceed clearly.

The Great Sign-up Debate

You can lose traction when users are asked to sign up too early. Why not allow users to experience your product and start enjoying it first? Once they’ve seen how your product can help in their own lives they become invested and more willing to sign up. Matt Anderson of UXPin

outlines these onboarding best practices:

  • Point out the app’s benefits before requiring user information
  • Quickly get the user immersed and enjoying the app
  • Give the user as much time as possible before asking her to create an account

Consider allowing a Social login instead of traditional email sign-up. Users get frustrated with new login information, and this can affect your product’s repeat usage.

“92% of people have left a website instead of resetting or recovering login information” The Value of Social Login

Allowing Social Logins such as Facebook or Twitter means one less username to remember and decreases time spent filling out forms.

Follow the Path

Break down the user onboarding process into digestible steps and clearly outline what step the user is on. Add in positive affirmation when a step is completed to build confidence. Outlining the steps will make the entire process seem shorter with little wins in-between.

“Offering users a structured set of steps to walk through helps reduce abandonment…

If new users know how many steps they must complete, they’re more likely to complete the process.” — Nate Munger Intercom


Look at how new users are onboarding your product and ask critical questions to help improve their journey. Besides tracking new sign-ups you should be measuring ongoing repeat customer usage.

Are you placing unnecessary barriers in their way? Could the process be more entertaining or engaging. Outline what goals you want to achieve and a strategy to measure those goals.

“By understanding which actions lead to conversions, you will better be able to nudge users toward that end goal.You know your user onboarding is really working not when it gets new users activated, but when it gets new users coming back.” — Samuel Hulick for Help Scout


Help Scout


The Value of Social Login


User Onboard

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