Definition of the user onboarding experience
A user onboarding experience could be defined as the crucial process that starts when a user logs into a product for the first time, especially the SaaS (Software as a Service) products, and ends when they are fully acquainted and integrated with the product.
During the process, getting feedback from users and data of their experience is a priority.
A common misconception about onboarding is that it only consists of providing users with proper tutorials and guides to help them get familiar with the product and its uses.
But it does not stop there, the main body of onboarding is bonding with the user during their first experience with the product and ensuring that they can and will in the future use the product without any errors.
A prolific user onboarding experience could include at first an easy to use design, an explanation of the product and its aim in a brief way but with just enough details to cover all of its uses and an interactive in-depth tutorial.
At the end of this process, if all went according to the plan, the user should experience an “Aha!” moment where they figure out what exactly the product is and how to use it in the most efficient way according to their needs, and product’s value to them.
Why do I need a successful onboarding experience?
If you want your product to end up successful with high ratings on active users, you have to have those users “onboard” and acquainted with the product as quickly as possible after they acquire the product.
The more time they spend figuring out the product, the more it will be likely for them to give up on your product and look for alternatives. If the users understand all the uses of the product and how they can effectively use it in a short time after their acquiring, the product will be their constant go-to for their related needs.
Another reason why you should be successful on your user onboarding process is developing a bond of intimacy and trust between the user and the company. If a user has never worked with your company or one of its products, their first impression of the company is vital on connecting them to the company through this bond.
This would pave the way for a lot of opportunities from good company reviews all the way to having a flux of new investors.
What are some best practices for user onboarding experience ?
All the successful companies include various kinds of onboarding experiences in their products. There is no single way of making a successful onboarding process, it can completely differ between two products.
Here are some of the best onboarding ux practices:
Landing Page (Flipboard & Soundcloud)
Product Walkthrough (Slack)
Guided Tasks (Evernote)
How to structure a successful user onboarding experience?
After deciding to design an onboarding experience for your product, all left to do is just going through with it.
Here are some key points that you must pay attention along the way:
A perfect landing page
To deliver the perfect onboarding process first, you should deliver the perfect landing page. After all, it is what the user will see when they first meet with product even before using it. So the first impression you make on this page is crucial.
An interesting visual that represents your product with a simple and clear sentence that describes your product is usually enough to make the perfect landing page.
See the perfect landing page of Twitter below.
Simple and short, yet a detailed product walkthrough
When it comes to the complexity of the onboarding guides the users are going to go through during the onboarding process, you have to avoid having complicated and long ones.
A complicated and long product walkthrough, just after a user logs into your product for the first time, is not a good idea. It might not be understood by the users, or they just might get tired of following guides for a long time and just leave.
Therefore having a short and a simple guide will help users keep up and easily understand the product. But you should not skip parts of your product to keep it short and simple. You should give all the necessary details.
If a guide covering all the details eventually ends up being long despite all your efforts, try breaking up the guides to a few parts and have users go through them as they advance in using the product.
PS: UserGuiding offers onboarding checklists, which are very helpful for such scenarios 😉
Appealing visual design
Even though you have prepared the best UX onboarding process in the market content-wise, one part that will leave a lasting impression on the users will eventually be the visual design.
You have to stay as far away from boring plain visuals as you can and design your app in the most appealing, fluid and original way possible. Mind your audience before having your visual design prepared and continue accordingly to offer the best-looking design.
A big majority of users will have trouble understanding how a product works without interactivity.
Participation is a key factor in learning, so during the onboarding process user participation is necessary.
Making users do short guided tasks using the product is the easiest way to ensure user participation.
Personalize the process
Personalizing the onboarding process is a beneficial way to improve your user activation and avoid retention.
Try to learn the interests of your users and advise parts of your program according to them. If your product covers the needs of a few different audiences, giving an option to the users to choose the audience they belong right after they sign up and continue the onboarding process with the parts of the product that concerns them is a must.
If giving an option is not going to work with your product, you can mention a user’s first name/username in the guiding texts once in a while during the onboarding process so that your users feel cared for.
After you have designed the perfect onboarding experience for your users, you might find out it is not so perfect.
Users might give you poor reviews because of the onboarding process as they might find flaws in parts of your design that you thought was perfect. At this point there is no need to be scared, all you can and must do is listen to the users. Whatever they think that is flawed, it is up to you to fix it
Investigating the reasons behind negative reviews, asking for feedback and making changes is the right way to having successful onboarding experiences.