Fail-Proof Onboarding – How to Successfully Onboard Users That Aren’t Tech-Savvy

Seniors, younger people, and many more…

Life doesn’t only consist of competent people every time, and products are not only made for those.

It’s illogical to expect seniors and children to learn the same way a healthy 25-year-old person does. At this point, I must say that making your onboarding fail-proof is far easier than many people think.

So why not make simple but effective changes to your product onboarding process – both to make your product more accessible and let those people know that you’re aware of their disadvantages?

I promise, it won’t cost a lot, and it is simpler than you think.

Simple, Affordable, and Powerful User Onboarding Software.

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Let’s get started by understanding the specific needs of those people:

What are the challenges of onboarding users that aren’t tech-savvy?

Challenges of onboarding users

Think of fail-proof onboarding as making a product for someone who doesn’t know how to code. Instead of just expecting everyone to know or learn it, you can make simple changes and get excellent results.

But to understand these people who are not tech-savvy, let’s first see what the main problems  that they face are:

Lack of speed

Some people may need more time than you anticipate to complete specific tasks. 

I’m not talking about long-term tasks.

Those take a lot of time anyways.

Some people just might need a few more seconds to read a sentence or figure out where to click.

Everyone has the days where they read something but forget to understand what they read, right? Imagine this happening to you every day.

Having popups that disappear too quickly will make it very difficult for people who struggle with speed to use your product. 

Adding a button that leads people to the next page or step will lower their chance of being lost after the first page.

Or, you can make sure that they can go back and forth within the product tour, or the signup page so that they don’t miss any important detail.

Lack of technical language

As I said in the intro, not everyone knows how to code. So forcing non-coders to take steps that include coding will be meaningless, right?

This applies to many more situations.

Even in an article, using too much technical jargon will confuse people who are relatively new to the subject. And if this article aims to help people or solve some problems, making it impossible to read will only decrease your credibility.

You can’t expect people to google everything they don’t know.

They won’t stick with your product in such a case.

You will just lose potential customers to your competitors.

If you have to use a specific term that not everyone might understand, make sure that you have a glossary available for extra help. 

Just like this: ’’ SaaS ’’

Lack of concentration

People can’t adopt a product if the onboarding phase is too complicated.

Minors, seniors, people with neurodivergent disorders (such as anxiety or ADHD) have one thing in common for sure: Their attention span is mostly similar to a goldfish.

I myself have ADHD so, I know first hand that it’s difficult…

Such people have a very difficult time concentrating on one single thing for a long time, especially if this ‘’thing’’ has too many colors combined, too many popups or disturbing features, or it makes me feel like rushing everything.

The thing is, it’s a fact that triggering urgency in people’s minds will make them more likely to attach to your product. But making them rush won’t do any good for some people.

Keep your design simple, or at least make sure you have a cohesive color palette.  This way, you will:

  • Keep people engaged,
  • Make it easier for them to stay on a page for longer,
  • Make your product seem more professional.

Lack of awareness

Not everyone might be aware that your product is what they need.

I’m not talking about competition, though.

Think of it as moving to a new country and not knowing where to get your medicine from. You have to create a certain level of awareness to make sure that your product reaches all the people you need.

As you probably know, onboarding starts as soon as people first gain awareness of your product, so how effective can an onboarding phase be if the awareness is not created?

To solve this you can:

  • Optimize your marketing channels,
  • Take a deep insight into your advertisement campaigns,
  • Make sure your users recommend your product to others.

Lack of certain motor skills

When you are sick, you might not read or click as fast as you normally could. Which means, everyone can lack some motor skills sometimes.

These skills can be:

  • Clicking a small button within a particular time,
  • Constantly scrolling or swiping according to directions,
  • Typing words on a keyboard.

Not only people that catch flu, but people with disabilities might need help doing these as well.

There is an effortless way to solve this problem.

You can simply add voice-activated commands.

I know that these examples are too specific, and there might be much more than I can think of now. But being aware of some of these problems will make it easier to find your own solutions while reading the rest of the article.

Because now we’re getting to the point that includes specific onboarding solutions:

5 Steps to build a fail-proof User Onboarding

5 steps to build a fail-proof onbaording

1- Keep the design as simple as possible

Make your design understandable. If you don’t, your onboarding process will require onboarding.

Does the chicken come out of the egg, or vice versa?

Let me visualize what I’m saying. Who would like to be welcomed with such a page?

horrible landing page example

Rather, having more white space and bigger font will make it easier for people to scan your page and pick the specific information that they’re looking for.

UserGuiding landing page

Not only the landing page or the website, but also the design on your signup page, your product tour, your knowledge base… You get the point.

Your signup page should be straight to the point and definitive.

Good Signup Page

Don’t hide any hidden information, such as revealing a certain pattern for the password after the first try.

Try to ask little questions, and even if your signup requires detailed info, keep some of the questions for a second page to increase white space on the page.

As for the product tour, customize it with your colors, and explain the steps with clear and short sentences.

  • If you want the customer to fill a space, tell them to ‘’fill in the space with x’’
  • If you want your customers to be bored, tell them to ‘’type in the x because it will lead to y and you would appreciate it.’’

To summarize:

What to do

  • Make your font bigger
  • Leave plenty of white space on the design
  • Use visual elements.
  • Have a certain color palette
  • Have a short signup form
  • Have a customized product tour

What to avoid

  • Having text only
  • Inconsistency in color and design
  • Long sentences
  • Complicated procedures

2- Make sure you are definitive enough

I mentioned the situation where you forget to understand what you are reading, right?

If you don’t want that to happen, you should be as clear as you are straight to the point. Doesn’t matter if it’s on your website, ad, product tour, or survey. Long sentences are your biggest enemy.

And the real challenge is to define everything in short sentences.

You might understand a 3-row-long sentence which you have written, but someone else might not.

Walkthroughs do Produto

If you have to say a lot of things, you can simply divide your sentences into smaller sentences and put them in different popups.

Another way to make it easier for people to read and understand much information without getting lost is to make bullet points.

Or a checklist.

UserGuiding Checklist

Dividing a product tour into a checklist or turning your signup page to signup pages with a progress bar will save you at least a few customers, as well as good reviews.

What to do

  • Keep your sentences as short as possible
  • Make sure you sound clear
  • Be straightforward
  • Divide your long sentences into bullet points
  • Turn your long signup page into multiple short signup pages
  • Add a progress bar
  • Make a checklist

What to avoid

  • Long sentences with too many conjunctions or commas
  • Long descriptions without bullet points or paragraphs
  • Confusing word choices
  • Endless processes without a progress bar

3- Provide ‘’further help’’ at every step

You might think that you sound clear with your short sentences, but what if you missed a point, or the customer didn’t find what they were looking for?

What do that do?

They can get help from your resource center, your knowledge base, or your virtual assistant.

Sounds pretty simple.

As long as you let them know that you provide such further help when they need it.

ram onboarding lighthouse

It’s best to let them know that you do provide further help after the welcome modal, or at the end of the product tour.

It’s highly unlikely that all your customers will call or email you for support. It won’t hurt to have a resource center, ready for them to check anytime.

Also, that will take off a huge burden on your support teams’s shoulders.

As for the rising trend, live chat, 73% of people prefer live chat in online tools and 63% said that they were more likely to go back to a website that offered live chat.

Last but not least, 55% of people say they’ve returned a product because they didn’t quite understand how to use it.

This is basically how important providing further help is.

What to do

  • Provide a knowledge base or a resource center
  • Have a live chat tool, is possible.
  • Make sure to let your users know that you provide further help

What to avoid

  • Don’t expect every customer to reach out to support.
  • Don’t spend excessive amounts of money for the support team to catch up with every customer.

4- Make sure your users set goals

The best way to feel fulfilled with accomplishment is to reach a goal.

Correct me if I’m wrong.

It’s also a good way to make people with concentration or memory issues to focus on a task and be excited about it.

Don’t get me wrong, you won’t let the people decide what you are going to produce for them. You will simply make them track their progress, and know what the next step is, to keep them engaged.

For instance, you can start the onboarding checklist with a box that is already done, even before they do anything specific.

This step can be:

  • signing up
  • creating a profile
  • or completing the first product tour.
onboarding checklist

Think of this like completing achievements in a game. I know a few games that are addictive, only because how easy it is to reach goals and complete achievements.

Letting your users know the required achievements and goals, letting them chose between them, showing them their progress, and congratulating them for their achievements is the perfect way to keep them engaged and motivated.

What to do

  • Set goals according to your key features
  • Let your users know and select from the goalsand tasks
  • Congratulate them for reaching the goals
  • Show them their progress

What to avoid

  • Letting people wander in a bliss
  • Not letting them track their progress in any way possible

5- Turn the onboarding process into a cycle

Continuous Onboarding is another good way to keep the users excited and reminded of the value of your product. It also helps them learn more about your product in a healthy way so that there is no chance of them missing a point.

Of course, you won’t educate them about thşnks they already know.

You simply let them know about new features via in-app messages, hotspots, or emails.

Reminding them of features that they haven’t used in a while via popups is also a good way to encourage them to learn even more about your product, and become fans of it.

What to do

  • Get them to explore more about your product every once in a while
  • Use highlights and hotspots to show updates without distracting them
  • Use in-app messages to keep them engaged

What to avoid

  • Don’t force them to learn things they don’t want to know
  • Don’t let them be after they reach their ‘’Aha!’’ Moment

#1 Solution for non-technical user-friendly onboarding

Simply put, to be able to onboard everyone without a problem requires a bit of work. You need:

  • An interactive product tour
  • Different types of notifications such as hotspots
  • Checklists
  • A resource center

And all of these need to be customized according to your product.

If you feel like you can’t code everything that I mentioned yourself or integrate some of them into your product easily, UserGuiding is here to help.

With UserGuiding, you can:

  • Build fully customized product tours:
UserGuiding product tour
  • Send in-app messages:
UserGuiding in-app message
  • Create tooltips and hotspots:
UserGuiding Hotspot

Did you know that you can do all these with only one product to make sure you successfully onboard everyone, even the ones that aren’t tech-savvy, and do many more things such as conducting NPS surveys and get DAU data?

Conclusion

Fail-proof user onboarding is not difficult – if done correctly.

To do it correctly is not difficult either – as long as you know what to keep in mind.

You are not alone in this journey, I hope I was a bit of help to you. 😃

If you feel like you want to learn more about the details of User Onboarding, here I leave the Definitive Guide to User Onbaording.

Hilal Yıldırım

Hilal is the Creative Content Writer of UserGuiding, specializing in onboarding and growth. When she isn't writing, you probably can't find her: she could be anywhere, taking photographs on her motorbike.