New and First Time User Experience: Tips and Best Practices

Every bad UX I go through in a product that makes me refund it or quit it reminds me of a childhood memory of mine:

Back when I was a teenager, I had to change the school I went to mid-semester. We had to move.

It took me literally 1.5 hours to get to the new school from home, which makes 3 hours of commuting every day.

And honestly, I HATED it there.

I was 13 years old, there was no way I could change the school I went to just because I didn’t like the UX of that school 😅 So I promised myself to never take the ability to easily switch products for granted.

And if I’m an average user, who will churn or quit at the sight of a pain point in the UX, especially the first time I use it, it shouldn’t be hard to guess how important the first-time UX of a new user is.

So in this article, I’ll go over what you need to do, to make the FTUE as smooth as possible to avoid early churns and quitters.

What is First-Time User Experience (FTUE)?

First-time user experience (FTUE) refers to the initial impression of your users’ interaction with your app. To put it differently, it is the feelings and ideas evoked in your users as a result of their first touch with your app. From what they see to what they read or what they use, your users are highly affected by the first pages and features of your app.

It is often accepted that first-time user experience starts with the moment that users begin to use the features of your app. 

what is first time user experience

However, contrary to this commonly accepted definition, I should say that first-time user experience already starts once users try to register to your app. 

I would even go further and say that in some cases, it starts when users try to download your app. 

The harder it is for users to get to your app, the more prejudice they will have towards your app caused by the frustration they have due to their struggles to download or register to your app. 

In such cases, users will run out of patience either after they struggle to download and register or their subsequent struggle to use a feature of your app. 

Why is the first-time experience of a new user important?

Don’t forget!

You never get a second chance to make a first impression

Will Rogers

As I said, the first-time user experience is crucial because it decides in the first couple of steps of the user experience whether the user will further use your app or stop using it.

Even going further, first-time user experience includes more than a single user’s decision to use your app or not, but it also decides how they will talk about your app in their conversations with other people.

If they go through a negative experience, you can be sure that they will let other people know about their experience.

what first time user experience sometimes feels like
I love this scene from The Ballad of Buster Scruggs. It perfectly describes what a first-time user experience feels like sometimes.

You should decide for yourself what kind of a first-time user experience you would like to provide for your users.

It is your responsibility to make sure that they like what they experience with their first interactions with your app.

First-time user experience encourages or discourages users from learning further and enjoy the features of your app.

If they don’t like what they see and experience, or if you cannot get them past the initial steps, it is not important if you have the best features that can make their work much easier for them.

Please let this sink in; user onboarding for a good user experience is as important as having a successful product, if not more.

In this regard, using a third-party user onboarding platform will help you successfully introduce first-time users to your app.

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Successfully Introduce First-Time Users to your App in 5 Steps

Your app has excellent features, and you know for sure that once users start to understand and use them, they will adopt those features and make use of your app to the fullest.

Now, all you have to do is encourage and get them to use those features without any negative feelings due to their first-time experience.

Let’s talk about what you can do to successfully introduce first-time users to your app.

#1 Make it easier for your users to download and register to your app

I said it earlier, and I will say it again, you shouldn’t request too much effort or too much information from your users when they want to download and register to your app.

You should know that users’ time is valuable.

Especially if yours is an app with many alternatives, then it will be much more possible for users to delete your app without even beginning to use it.

For users to register to your app, you should first ask for necessary information. If you require further information, you can request them after their registration.

#2 Welcome users with a plain message and then suggest that they take a product tour

Do not bombard users with pop-ups with too much information!

Users are often overwhelmed by too much information that they face during their first interactions with an app.

Welcoming users with a brief introduction to your app is one of the best ways to give a good first impression.

For first-time users, you should provide a product tour by encouraging them with such words as “let’s take a product tour” or “explore (your app).”

So, you should not force users to take the tour.

You should also keep in mind that not everyone who downloads your app uses it for the first time. Someone who already knows how to use your app would not want to be forced to go through all the processes over and over again.

What’s crucial in introducing your app with product tours is that the more interactive the product tour is, the better users can comprehend and learn how to make use of your app.

Using video guides for product tours is also a good option, but by taking action in learning how to use your app with interactive guides, users are better able to remember the processes that they go through and, therefore, learn using your app.

#3 Do not try to come up with something totally different for common features 

Distinguishing yourself with valuable features is among the most crucial aspects of having a successful app. 

However, for common features that many apps use similar to each other, you shouldn’t use something totally different because it will only steal users’ time to understand and adopt.

For example, the home page icon is almost always the same in every app. 

If you use a different icon that is not understandable in the first look, then you will only make it harder for your users to adopt your product and its features.

#4 Use checklists, progress, and time indicators

It is always a good idea to let users know where they are in their journey.

This is an excellent thing to do for two obvious reasons, such as helping users manage their time better and making sure that they are not missing anything out.

new user experience

If you don’t let users know that some of the steps in your product tour will take longer than the others, they may get angry at you for not letting them know. Believe me; you would not like it.

You should internalize the motto that you are here to help users get work done or provide conveniences, so it is your responsibility to not putting an extra burden on their shoulders.

#5 Collect feedback after the first interaction with users

To provide a complete first-time user experience and successfully introduce your app to new users, you should ask for quick feedback from users.

This is not only a good thing to do for letting users know that you care about their ideas and feelings, but it is also good for you to learn what you have done right and what you can do better.

Giving an opportunity to users to reflect on their first-time experience, you can also benefit from their feedback.

What you need to know is that this shouldn’t take too long, and you shouldn’t be too demanding when asking for feedback. 

Here is a good tip for you: the most actionable feedback survey is the NPS (Net Promoter Score). 

You can take a look at our article to learn more about NPS.

First-Time User Experience Examples and Best Practices

I have picked some great examples for you to get a better grasp of what I have tried to explain throughout the whole article. 

Let’s get straight into them.

1- Notion 

As I suggested earlier, when signing up, users should not be bothered too much. 

The process should not take too much time and should not require too much effort from the users. If you want to provide a satisfying first-time user experience, this is where everything starts.

Here is a great example from Notion:

first time user experience example from Notion

Notion’s signup process is completed in only four steps, and as I said, it gives users the option to complete some steps later in their journey. 

Knowing that first-time user experience is important, they make it easier and more convenient for users.

2- Slack

Welcoming users with a plain message and suggesting that they take a product tour is also a crucial step in successfully introducing your product to first time users.

I said earlier, yet I want to emphasize again that you should not force users to take the product tour.

Let’s look at this wonderful example from Slack:

first time user experience example from Slack

You can see that Slack does not bombard users with too much information in their first interaction with users.

Considering that users already know how to use their app, they give users the opportunity to skip the tour. 

They nailed it!

3- ClickUp

Another important step that I talked about was to using checklists, progress, and time indicators.

Being aware of what their product is all about, ClickUp helps users know where they are on their journey.

Since their product is all about organizing tasks, they also provide these checklists to help users manage their time better and make sure that they are not missing anything out.

Here is how they provide great convenience for their users:

first time user experience example from ClickUp


The first time of anything is almost always will likely be remembered. The first experience of users with your app is no exception to this. Throughout the article, I wanted to help you understand what first-time user experience is, why it is important, and how you could successfully provide a first-time user experience to a new user.

I hope that you can make use of my suggestions to the fullest and give a perfect first impression that users will be impressed with as I am impressed with my experiences with Notion, Slack, and ClickUp.

Frequently Asked Questions

What does FTUE stand for?

FTUE stands for first-time user experience. It is the name given to the feelings and ideas evoked in users after their first interaction with your app.

What makes a good first-time user experience?

Convenience and a helping hand to users will impress them. You should make it easier for users to get to your app. Welcoming them with a short message, you should then help them learn how to use your app. 

What is new user experience?

In the world of apps, new user experience, also known as first-time user experience (FTUE), is a user’s first interaction with an app.

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Serhat Erdem

Serhat is the Creative Content Writer of UserGuiding, a code-free product walkthrough software that helps teams scale user onboarding and boost user engagement.