User Onboarding Is Difficult To Design — Get Help For It.

William Woodhead
Jul 2, 2018 · 5 min read
Pilcro Artboard — user onboarding

Recently, we recently launched Pilcro on Product Hunt and we are really proud of our new user onboarding flow. Our conversions doubled. Here’s what Jonathan Price had to say about it on the day of the launch:

“The Product Hunt themed landing page was really outstanding — possibly the most polished Product Hunt launch I’ve seen. Great work.”

So it may surprise you that we found user onboarding incredibly difficult to get right — perhaps the biggest challenge of our entire journey to launch.

Quickly, What is user onboarding?

Here’s a definition from trychameleon:

Seems simple enough. So why did we find it so difficult?

  1. As the developers of the product, we are too close to the product. How can we possibly know how it feels to experience our product for the first time?
  2. Because different users find value in different parts of the product. So guiding them to find value is not a linear journey that all users share.

Time to look elsewhere

At Pilcro we do pretty much everything in-house. We have expertise in a lot of different areas. However, in the case of user onboarding, we realised we needed external help. Why?

  1. Because we are all quite tech-minded and we see things in a very techy way — We needed to talk to others who see products more experientially.
  2. Because — to be brutally honest — we were just really struggling with it! We needed some professional UX help to develop a sophisticated user onboarding strategy.

Enter General Assembly

General Assembly is a company that offers intensive courses in many technical disciplines including UX design.

We heard about this amazing programme that General Assembly offer for their UX design students to connect with a startup in a two week project. The students — as part of their coursework — help the startup solve a pressing UX problem.

So we enrolled!

We took part in a fantastic two week sprint with 3 very talented UX students. They interviewed us, involved us in some crazy ideation sessions, and presented their final work to us in front of other UX students and professionals.

They helped us rethink our user onboarding strategy.

So what did we learn?

It was only a two week UX sprint, but we learnt a huge amount in this time. We got an insight into how a new user could experience our site. We learnt about where all the little pain-points and frictions were.

But the main thing we got out of our partnership with General Assembly was a new approach. An approach grounded in the latest UX design thinking. An approach that allowed us to progress much further with our user onboarding.

What was the result?

We included three different types of user onboarding in our launch.

Slideshow of the key user benefits — This is a slideshow intended to welcome our users to the product, give them some basic context and persuade then to continue.

User benefits slideshow

Guided Tour of the app — This is intended to show users the core concepts and features as quickly as possible. It is generic so it applies to all users, whatever value they might gain from the product.

Guided tour of the features

Progress indicator — This is intended to be a more passive, gamified indicator of how well the user is doing. They can keep coming back to this progress indicator, however long they have been using the app.

Progress indicator in %

And the numbers don’t lie

How did we know that the user onboarding worked? Here are the stats.

We more than doubled our conversions to the product from the website in the week after deploying the new user onboarding.

Conversions to the product

We grew our overall sign in conversion by 60%.

Admittedly, the launch helped with these stats as there was more buzz around our product. But the new user onboarding undoubtedly played a crucial role in the success of the launch.

So thanks to the great programme designed by General Assembly and the great team of UX designers, we have been able to significantly improve our core stats and our business goals.

Experience it for yourself

Check out our user onboarding for yourself at this link. Let us know what you think!

If you liked this story, please 👏 and please share with others. Also please check out my company Pilcro is the brand asset management app for G-Suite.

Originally published on


We’re here to share our mission: to help people with technology.

Thanks to Patrick Woodhead, Hugo Woodhead, and Xanthe Kueppers

William Woodhead

Written by

Designer | Developer |



We’re here to share our mission: to help people with technology.

Welcome to a place where words matter. On Medium, smart voices and original ideas take center stage - with no ads in sight. Watch
Follow all the topics you care about, and we’ll deliver the best stories for you to your homepage and inbox. Explore
Get unlimited access to the best stories on Medium — and support writers while you’re at it. Just $5/month. Upgrade