HobbyFinder onboarding flow — a UX case study

Kent de Bruin
May 2, 2019 · 6 min read

Starting a new hobby often requires time and money — but if you don’t have much either, you can skip the expensive in-person classes or tutorials and download HobbyFinder.

HobbyFinder is an app that helps users start a new hobby, discover where to find lessons, online instructional videos and pictures, and the best beginners equipment, books and videos for any hobby they are interested in.

The problem

The retention rate of HobbyFinder has dropped significantly by 20% over the past six months.

New onboarding flow was identified by the UX consultants as the main bottleneck causing the drop across different metrics in the app.

The challenge

HobbyFinder now needs help to fix this problem and also would like to know ways to improve the app with the goal of becoming profitable.

Define the product

Addressing the problem

After reading the challenge we started brainstorming on what the problem really could be. The UX consultants identified the onboarding flow as the main problem for the drop in retention rate. But what does this really mean?

Users don’t understand the value of the app — people do make an account but don’t really come back to the app.

We sought to improve the retention rate by designing a better onboarding flow. The onboarding flow should give users immediate value in the app. You want users to understand what the app is about after going through the initial onboarding.

Onboarding flow: So what is the goal of the onboarding going to be? Is it for people to sign up? No, that wasn’t enough in this case. People did signup but did not come back to the app. Instead, it was important that people would really choose a hobby. Something that would really inspire them. If people would be inspired to start something there would be a higher chance for them to return to the app. Thus, the goal of this new onboarding was ultimately to let people choose a few new hobbies

Building a persona

Now that we knew our initial problem statement it was time to dig deeper into the target user of HobbyFirst. Right now, HobbyFirst was a curated directory of all kinds of different hobbies. Because proper research into the users was beyond this scope we decided to make a quick estimation instead.


  • Age 15–55.


  • Wants to find a hobby quickly


  • They don’t understand the value of the app

Now that we had made some assumptions on the target user it was time to start working on the onboarding steps.

Build the Product

Identifying the onboarding steps

Now that we had a clear idea of our target user we started on a new onboarding flow. We started by making a list of the different steps that the onboarding flow could have.

The first list we made consists of the following:

  • Explanation of HobbyFinder

We concluded that hobbies are far too broad and fall into many different categories. So we decided to add ways to narrow down/filter search results. Some of the results from this little brainstorm where:

Filter sketches
  • Choose from different interest groups (such as sports, music, art, and nature)

We made some quick sketches to understand the ideas better.

Sitemap & wireframing

It was time to build different prototypes of the onboarding flow. We started by making a preliminary sitemap of the onboarding to understand what we were building.

First sitemap ideas

It was when we first sketched out the flow for onboarding that we understand that people should only signup for the app after they saw the value of the app. We decided to switch the process around and start with a hobby filter system and only after users choose a new hobby we ask for them to sign up.

We made some first wireframe sketches and this helped us to define the sitemap further.

Initial wireframes sketches
Preliminary Sitemap


After getting the initial wireframes right, it was rather easy to build out the first wireframes in Figma.


Preliminary Wireframes

Visual design

At this point, I turned my focus to branding and establishing a design system. I started by taking a look at the tone of the product. Since HobbyFinder was there to inspire people to do new things, I decided the tone needed to be playful and fun.

Design system (Left), loaded into Figma (right)

I used all these assets to begin transforming the wireframes into high-fidelity designs. By uploading the fonts and color patterns into Figma it was easier to maintain the brand guidelines and create one unified experience.

Sample of High-Fidelity Design

Becoming profitable

HobbyFinder further asked us to come up with product advice to make the app profitable in the future.

We think the biggest problem for the app is the lack of community. HobbyFinder is mostly informational but misses features to let people come back to the app. Right now, once people found their hobby there is no real incentive to keep coming back to the app. We think that making HobbyFinder more social helps in creating that extra value for the user. For example to see if your Facebook friends do the same hobby as you.

Furthermore, there is a huge opportunity to use HobbyFinder as a platform channel. People who are interested in pursuing a new hobby are valuable marketing targets. Companies (including shopping for gear, trainers or organizing events) could pay commissions to promote their products. Of course, we should take into consideration that this ‘content’ is valuable for the end-user. But when the content is targeted well it is a win-win for both sides.

Lastly, I think that HobbyFinder should focus on building partnerships with cities. Cities are becoming more and more anonymous. More and more people are feeling lonely. Apps such as HobbyFinder can create social interactions which are indeed a good way to turn that around.


In the end, I designed a new onboarding flow for HobbyFinder including a brand with a defined design system. Find your hobby by choosing from different topics and learn the real value of the app. Start something new, use HobbyFinder.

Kent de Bruin

Hi, I’m Kent. I’m a designer, writer & entrepreneur based in Amsterdam.

Kent de Bruin

Written by

Designer, writer, entrepreneur. Tall and Dutch, based in Amsterdam. Writing makes me think 🧠

Kent de Bruin

Hi, I’m Kent. I’m a designer, writer & entrepreneur based in Amsterdam.

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