Innovation instead of On-Boarding Tutorial for the Mobile Trading App

Long gone are the days when mobile apps were simple. Now that there is an app for everything, from complex financial services to mind blowing games, most apps — are anything but simple. Factor in different markets, audiences and international exposure: it’s not surprising that on-boarding tutorials are taking over. Let’s face it, no matter how hard we try to come up with a simple and intuitive app, our users will need guidance.

The Achievements Screen

Every text book and online article on mobile experience strongly recommends implementation of the tutorial, but is there a better and more innovative solution? While explaining to a user what your application is all about is crucial, having a boring on-boarding tutorial shouldn’t be the way to go. It’s time to rethinking the user experience all over again.

The goal for any application is to get users hooked during the critical first three-to-seven days period. When it comes to Forex — Currency Trading, this window is even smaller. The first-time traders usually dropout between one-to-two days. Even if the app is created and marketed for beginners, the users without trading experience still won’t know how to use it. Most probably they have no idea what a currency pair is, how to open a position, and even what a ‘position’ means, what is the difference between Buying and Selling currency pairs, and so on. As multiple studies and research have proven “A solid on-boarding experience can increase retention rates by up to 50%’, most of the companies started to implement it. So, decision was made also for Harborx Trading app (iOS and Android).

While working on the on-boarding solution for the newcomers, as the Product Marketing Owner, I started to think of a different and innovative way that might work even better. Once development and implementation of a classic on-boarding tutorial with tulip pop-ups was finished, it was time to focus on the idea I had. Btw, implementing the traditional Tutorial has significantly improved our statistics and we managed to reduce the dropout rate.

Anyhow, Harborx is a currency app with the twist of gamification, unique on the Forex market. Creating some kind of game style introduction to trading would be a perfect fit for the competitive nature of traders. This is how I envisioned something different and “The Achievements” were born. They are cool small tasks users need to cover, and for doing so they are rewarded with trading credits. That makes on-boarding and trading more understandable for someone new.

Different Levels

By completing different tasks, such as opening a trade or following a recommendation, users understand what they can do with the app, while also earning badges and rewards. Most of the Achievements have different levels, so once a user accomplishes one, they are moved to the second level. Let’s take a look what Achievement are introducing:

  • The Tutorial
  • Referral Program
  • Self Trading
  • Making First Deposit
  • Star Traders Recommendations
  • Trading More

The Success!

The Achievements gradually help new users to understand what options are inside the app and also keep users more engaged, which means they trade more. Launched at the beginning of November, just after few weeks we saw much higher retention than with classic on-boarding Tutorial!

Besides reducing the dropout rate and increasing the retention, Harborx app was facing another challenge. Once a user goes from Demo to a Live account, there is no coming back. Demo account allows users to get familiar with trading by using the virtual money, while the Live account is for trading with the real money. If a user not familiar with trading goes directly to the Live account, they don’t have enough funds and they need to deposit. Many of users don’t feel comfortable and they leave. The Achievements — small tasks that reward users, gives also the confidence that trading is not that complicated.

Introducing different mobile solutions instead of classic on-boarding tutorial may address more issues the mobile applications is facing. There is no need to mention UI/UX, user flow, registration process and other improvements that should constantly be monitored and adjusted. The response of the trading community for the achievements feature turned out to be great! Just few weeks after the launch, the impact on the retention rate is obvious. The last survey conducted on November 23rd, of the Harborx live trading users showed the Achievements scored at the second place among app’s favourite features, just after the Leaderboard — Battle of Traders.

With the Bitcoin, Cash, Ethereum, Litecoin and others, there is high number of cryptocurrency trading apps that started to roll out. Most of them lack better on-boarding and user experience. I hope financial and trading mobile apps in 2018 will bring more innovation starting with rethinking and improving their on-boarding tutorials.

Milenko Strika

Product Owner