New Feature Onboarding – how to get users hooked on every part of your product

I am the type of person that gets absolutely livid when I am on a well-designed platform or tool, and my experience gets interrupted.

These interruptions are almost always updates or announcement banners that very often inform about a new feature. And if the design, the copy, or the timing is off, I get so upset that I start spamming the skip button.

new feature onboarding meme

My “this could have been a slideout modal” face:

Now it just might be me being way too fixated on things and/or my impatience to get things done (tough few years, huh?), but let me tell you, if it’s bad, then it’s bad.

 And today, we are here to talk about how to NOT make it bad. Even good, so good that people will go, “hey, I want to check that new feature out!”

So, let’s talk about:

  •  What new feature onboarding is,
  • Why you need new feature onboarding,
  • Some really good new feature onboarding examples, and
  • How you can create a new feature onboarding flow

So without further ado…

what is new feature onboarding

What Is New Feature Onboarding?

New feature onboarding is, as the name suggests, a type of onboarding that is designed to introduce users to a newly launched feature on a given software or platform. New feature onboarding can take place in and out of the product, at any point of the user experience, and using various different user onboarding UX elements. While onboarding users to the features at hand, it is important to remember that the user onboarding experience should not disrupt the app experience itself to avoid frustration.

So, in short, new feature onboarding is half of the onboarding experience after the initial product onboarding process, where the primary goal is to introduce first-time users to the core functions of the tool.

Now you might be thinking, “huh, is it absolutely necessary then?”

And my answer would be yes. It is crucial not only to show users new product features in an organized way but also to do it elegantly and with proper visual design, the right onboarding element, simple steps (if any), and even using progress bars.

Let me elaborate.

Why should you onboard users to new features?

New features often equal a better product. 

Be it fixing an issue, adding new core features to enhance product experience, or flipping the product with a brand new app and visual design, new feature onboarding is a good thing that deserves to be acknowledged by your users.

Even more importantly, new features mean better ways to utilize your product for the users. They definitely deserve the attention.

But apart from the obvious reasons, let me give you three core benefits of the new feature user onboarding flows.

1- Raises feature and product adoption rates 🚀

There is quite a simple logic behind the relationship between feature adoption rates and feature onboarding. If you do the latter correctly, it will naturally have a positive effect on the former.

Because feature adoption rates are connected to product adoption rates, and because the two metrics have a direct impact on churn rate and conversion rate, a good new feature user onboarding experience is your best friend.

2- Great marketing for an evergreen product 📈

What does a feature onboarding flow say about your product and company?

That you are constantly growing? That you are looking into ways to improve the product at hand? That you care that users get to have more and that you care they easily learn how?

All of the above!

A good new feature user onboarding experience also gives a great message to users.

3- Constitutes material for the entire onboarding journey 📚

Lastly, good new feature user onboarding flows is a great material for future use.

After all, a new feature is only a new feature for your current active users. Any other new user you acquire later on will have to learn about the new feature as a part of the initial product tours.

Creating a good one from the start can only benefit you in the future.

These are the core reasons any digital product and especially SaaS businesses, should be creating an efficient onboarding experience for their new features.

But if you find taking in all this information meaningless, let me visualize it for you with a few examples.

4 Good (And Not So Good) Feature Onboarding Examples to Get You Started

You probably know how I feel about a poor new feature experience from the top of this article. But I am also an instant fan if I have a positive experience.

So, here are some new feature user onboarding examples that I loved and didn’t love as much 😬

1- Instagram

Instagram is known for its constant updates, some of which offer quite a poor design while some others are really sticky, for example, the reels feature.

instagram new feature onboarding
instagram new feature onboarding example

Though more often than not Instagram prefers using intrusive modals on the entire screen when introducing new features, because they are quite short both in terms of copy and steps, we can’t really say that they are doing a bad job.

Especially because Instagram is a mobile app, we can even say that it is doing quite a good job as the onboarding UX elements are rather limited on mobile. 

2- Moodle

The mobile app for Moodle, a learning platform for universities and other courses, normally keeps its onboarding to a minimum but they seem to have adopted a more onboarding-friendly approach with their new update.

Moodle new feature onboarding
new feature onboarding Moodle
New feature onboarding example Moodle

After introducing a more sophisticated user interface, Moodle shows the users its new features – or rather UI elements – using a 3-step tooltip flow. Though there is no progress indicator, we can still say it’s alright since the number of steps is below average, and the copy is as short as it gets.

Bad flow design, good results.

3- TikTok

TikTok is among the apps that come up with something else quite often. Their new auto-generated captions feature not only made the app more accessible but also showed that their onboarding game is not half bad.

Tiktok new feature onboarding

The slideout-like modal that TikTok utilizes is one that covers half the screen and thus keeps it a little less intrusive. It also has a gif to explain better and a really short copy. Definitely a great example.

4- Spotify

Spotify doesn’t change much and when it does, it is mostly slight changes to the UI. But one of the most recent features, Blend, has been quite popular.

Spotify new feature onboarding

And in introducing an enhancement to Blend, Spotify uses a clever trick. They use the very same modal format they use for the in-app new song release notifications so that the users will have been conditioned to think the modal is actually something interesting and isn’t really intrusive.

That’s how you do new feature onboarding successfully.

5- Frase

Frase is a fairly new tool that’s constantly getting better. And as such, they come up with lots and lots of new features and improvements.

Frase new feature onboarding

The latest update from Frase was a tiny feature addition, shown on a big modal when users log in. Normally, this is not a very optimal way of sharing the news as it is pretty intrusive. But there is a saving grace to it.

Frase puts a teeny tiny feedback section to all its update modals to make sure users feel heard and cared for. And if you are to use a modal for new feature onboarding, this is definitely the best element you can add to it to decrease friction.

Well played, Frase. Well played.

Now that you are familiar with how new feature onboarding works let me take you to the practice zone.

How to Onboard Users to New Features in 3 Steps

You know now how a feature onboarding flow works. But do you know how to create one?

Or maybe you’re thinking, “that’s the developers job!”

It certainly is. If you want to keep it in-house, use the precious time of your product teams’ on creating and maintaining it and maybe even having to hire a new developer for the job.

Or you could go no-code with a no-code onboarding tool like UserGuiding. Let me show you how you can create a new feature onboarding flow using nothing but UserGuiding in 5 minutes.

1- Create your guide

new feature onboarding guide

To start with your new feature onboarding flow, you need to first go to UserGuiding Panel and to the Guides page. There, you can create a new guide by clicking the “+ New Guide” button.

After naming your guide and entering your website’s URL, you will be directed to the URL to start editing.

In this case, let’s use Frase’s UI.

2- Add your steps & customize

Once we are at the Frase document I entered as the URL, we can start by clicking the “+ Step” button. I choose a simple tooltip to not disrupt my hypothetical users’ experience too much. 

After picking the area, my tooltip will be pointing at – the actual new feature of Frase, split view – I start editing the tooltip. I just changed some of the text properties; I can also change the design and the color as well as other triggers and mechanisms.

new feature onboarding tour

Let’s add one more tooltip! I repeat the same process but I pick a different area to direct to now.

new feature onboarding guide created with UserGuiding

Once I save my process, and my tooltips are ready, I can preview it. 

UserGuiding new feature onboarding

3- Configure & Publish

Now that I am done with my mini new feature onboarding, I go back to the panel, where I will find my latest guide on the Guides page. I click on my guide and then click on settings to configure certain settings like auto-triggering and container code.

UserGuiding new feature onboarding  example

Once I am done, all that’s left is to turn the guide to active and publish changes.

While there are many other details and customization options, as you can see, it is possible to create a working new feature guide with UserGuiding.

But hey, don’t take my word for it. I say you try it for yourself.

To Wrap Up…

New Feature Onboarding can easily fade into the background. Especially if it’s not designed very well and we find ourselves skipping it.

But once you figure out how to create the new feature onboarding flows that will make users go, “let me give this a try!” you know you got it right.

Here’s to hoping you know how to get it right 😎

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is Feature Onboarding so crucial?

New feature onboarding can prove to be a great ally to your growth strategy as it is a direct contributor to feature and product adoption, which in turn contributes to retention rates and customer loyalty.

How can you improve Feature Onboarding?

To improve feature onboarding, it is necessary to understand your customers’ desires and frustrations. Once you figure this out, it is on to actually creating an onboarding flow which you can do the hard way with your developers or the easy way using a no-code tool.

guide for new feature onboarding

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Serra Alban

When I realized I won’t be the next Tarantino I found myself as a creative content writer at UserGuiding. I’ve been obsessed with UX design, customer success, and digital adoption ever since. If you could stare at good UX for hours like me don’t hesitate to hit me up on LinkedIn. I might end up dropping too much movie trivia but hey, old habits die hard.

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