Onboarding never stops

Intercom
Intercom
Sep 19, 2016 · 6 min read
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Onboard in context

It’s a common mistake for companies to launch features in products without any context. Your goal should never be “get it launched”. Your goal is “get it used”. That’s why the right time to promote an improvement is not only when someone is in your product, but when they’re in a position to use it.

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Use educational content to onboard

When explaining new concepts, it’s important to give users a sense of what success looks like. It’s a familiar technique used in onboarding — giving users educational content as a blank slate. Take Trello, for example. Users are given a welcome board with pre-made to-do cards, with each card explaining a different interaction. They use content and the interface to teach you how to use the product

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Anticipate the next questions

In education, the more you hold someone’s hand, the less their brain will engage. The same goes for onboarding — if you keep spoonfeeding users solutions, don’t be surprised when they can’t pick up a knife and fork. That’s why it’s better to give information as gradual hints, so new users can more deeply retain what they’ve learned.

Gradually expose features over time

Onboarding users to a new feature requires the same skill as onboarding them to a new product. You wouldn’t welcome new users to your product by asking them to do complex tasks only a pro user would be able to do. So don’t overload users when you’re onboarding them to a new feature either.

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Focus your message on what your users can achieve with this feature and you’ll get their attention.

Converting today’s signups into tomorrow’s engaged users

When you’re building software, remember there are hundreds of products competing for the same job. If you’re not continuously showing your customers how to get value out of your product, you’re not encouraging product dependency. You’re leaving the door open for someone else to come in and persuade them their product is more valuable than yours.

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