3 Steps to Make User Onboarding Fun

It is the age of entertainment.

Nobody likes boring and plain things, that’s why product teams are including fun experiences to their products. 

Don’t get me wrong, you still get to offer the same product. But a few changes here and there can keep your users happy.

And in the user onboarding process, where you make your first impression, fun is something you should be aiming for. If you offer an entertaining experience that still takes them to their aha moments, you’ve succeeded.

In this article, I will try to suggest you a few ways to make onboarding a fun experience.

But first, let’s take a look at the benefits you’ll get out of this.

Why should the onboarding process be fun

There’s no doubt that interactivity is crucial in learning processes.

And user onboarding is the part where you teach and guide users through your product.

So we have to make this clear from the start, there is no place in user onboarding for long boring online manuals or walkthrough videos.

Interactive product walkthroughs are the way to go. They can shorten users time to aha moments and help you educate them effectively.

Don’t get me wrong, interactivity will help you a lot in the user onboarding process, but you will have to put extra effort in to make it entertaining.

All your competitors have interactive guides, so you need to strike a better first impression than them. Turning user onboarding into a fun experience can be a way to introduce yourself as a cool and friendly business to new users.

After all, it’s all about establishing a bond between yourself and your users.

Plus, creating fun experiences that your users enjoy will help you get their attention and surely have a positive impact on your onboarding completion time and rate.

how to entertain users during onboarding

3 ways to keep users entertained during onboarding

Now I don’t expect you to develop a mini video game that users can play inside your product, your users don’t expect you to too.

Turning the onboarding experience into something fun is all about making small changes to the material you have, and implementing the correct user onboarding elements at the right time.

Let’s go through my top 3 tips:

1- Use the right visuals

There’s nothing worse than seeing the same stock image on every webpage ever.

And if you are using these boring outdated images in your guides, you are in trouble.

You can start turning your onboarding into something enjoyable by changing the visuals you use in the onboarding elements.

In my opinion, gifs are the best option.

First off, you can find millions of gifs online suited for every occasion, with most being references that everyone around the world can understand.

You can also create your own images if you think they will be more enjoyable than stock images or the gifs.

I’ve used UserGuiding to create a welcome element on our blog and prepared 2 variations, which one do you think is better?

(it only took me 2-3 minutes to create both)

make user onboarding fun welcome message

I think you’ve got the point. Steer away from boring images and prefer interesting visuals.

2- Explain things creatively

“Click here” “Do this” “Create a …”

Every onboarding out there has these sentences that represents a soulless machine.

Nobody hates these onboardings, but nobody loves them either.

They would rather an onboarding with a soul full of joy, and you can easily do that by altering the texts you use, with humor.

Here are the two ways I could ask a user to click on the search bar in the blog, created again in UserGuiding:

make user onboarding fun click

I know both of these would be equally clicked, but there is a chance that a user might enjoy it more when the second one is displayed. Adding a character to your onboarding can encourage your users to keep going.

3- Gamify the experience

Remember when I said you didn’t need to create a video game to maximize fun?

Well you can turn the whole experience into a game and maximize fun that way.

Gamification in UX is not a new concept, it has been around for a while and is used by Khan Academy, Starbucks App, and many other products.

It refers to integrating game-like features into your user’s experience.

In user onboarding, the way to do it is using onboarding checklists. 

An onboarding checklist can give your users a sense of progression, while turning it into a game where they can complete tasks and move further in the quest!

Here’s a checklist I’ve created using UserGuiding for the blog:

make user onboarding fun checklist

Other than gamifying the onboarding process, a checklist can help guide your users through onboarding.

Here’s our Guide to Onboarding Checklists.

Bonus: Loading Screens / Preloaders

This is not an only user onboarding tip to make it more enjoyable, but deserves a spot in this list regardless.

What other part in a product is more boring than the loading screen, honestly?

Even if it lasts for 3 seconds, a loading screen can kill the vibe that you have been building all this time. To avoid this, you need to keep things entertaining here as well.

Here is the Google – Android Marshmallow boot sequence to give you some inspiration.

make user onboarding fun preloader

And for further inspiration, check out our article: Preloader Design Tips and Inspirations

Create fun onboarding experiences with UserGuiding

All the elements I have showed you above was created with UserGuiding.

UserGuiding is an all-in-one user onboarding platform to improve your UX and increase conversion.

It is a no-code platform, which means that you can use it regardless of technical knowledge and create what you have in mind, in minutes.

With UserGuiding, you can:

  • Effectively educate users with interactive user guides,
  • Gamify the experience with onboarding checklists,
  • Maximize engagement and adoption with fun in-app messages,
  • Aid users in need with self-help centers,

and most importantly:

  • Analyze the performance of each creation with an in-depth Analytics tool,
  • Personalize the experience by Segmenting and Targeting custom user groups.

Simple, Affordable, and Powerful User Onboarding Software.

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Conclusion

An enjoyable onboarding can create positive thoughts in the user’s mind, making them more likely to adopt your product.

Using creative writing, interesting visuals and gamifying the experience with onboarding checklists can be a great way to have your users have fun. Make sure you have tried many variations before deciding on the final elements, to find the best-performers.

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Selman Gokce

Selman Gokce is the Senior Inbound Marketer of UserGuiding. He is highly invested in user onboarding and digital adoption, especially for SaaS, and he writes on these topics for the UserGuiding blog. When he's not writing, you can find him either listening to LOTR soundtracks while cooking or getting angry because he lost in a video game.