How important do you think the quality of a user onboarding is?
We know from the research and our own experience that great user onboarding experiences that get users to the point where they start to see value from a product, can have a huge impact on conversion, satisfaction, and retention rates. In short, user onboarding can change the fate of your business.
Here are 4 Great Examples of User Onboarding to see how big a difference it can make.
There is no single way to achieve great user onboarding. It depends on your customer base and the product. But good user onboarding guides the user from first contact with the product to their “Aha!” moments.
So, good user onboarding is based on research that allows product owners to really understand what that “Aha!” moment is for the user, what they need to do to get there, and what likely pain points will be.
A variety of different tools, from email to checklists, to interactive walkthroughs, to video tutorials, can then be deployed to get them there. But never just a single one of them, it must be a combination of these tools.
If creating a good user onboarding experience sounds like quite a feat, you aren’t wrong. Just the design process can be intricate and challenging, and that is before you even get to build. Yet there are a lot of great tools out there that can help make the process a lot easier.
Today we are going to go through the 21 of the best tools on the market, both free and paid-for, that you can use to support your user onboarding process.
Here is the full list of tool categories mentioned in this article:
- In-Product User Onboarding Tools
- Video Onboarding Tools
- Email Onboarding Tools
- User Behaviour Tools
- Testing Tools
- User Feedback Tools
- Live Chat and Knowledge Centers
Did you also know that any tool that improves your user experience also will contribute to user onboarding since user onboarding is a continuous process?
The biggest part of the user onboarding process happens right inside the product, so you have to focus on this part first.
They will be limited in terms of customization, analytics, and a variety of onboarding elements; but they might just do the job for you.
Use it to take your user through what they need to do step-by-step.
It mixes highlight animations with tooltips to draw the user’s attention to where they need to be and what they need to be doing. Users can click through each step as they complete it or have got to grips with what they need to know.
Overall results of the library are usually basic but effective.
Access to the code is completely free, however, purchasing a license is required for businesses that will use Intro.js for commercial use.
Plus, on GitHub, there are many open issues in the library’s page; so you might want to check out our Intro.js Alternatives article for other options.
Create, customize, and maintain product tours and assist users.
It basically does everything that Intro.js does, with only one difference; it’s still alive. Intro.js has many open issues on GitHub while Shepherd’s issues are constantly attended by developers.
If you are selecting an open-source solution for your user onboarding, you should choose the one that you can get help when you are in need.
In-Product User Onboarding Tools
Creating a flow with multiple onboarding elements that will drive your users to their “Aha!” moments is what you aim to do here, so you should use a tool that will unify all these elements and give you detailed analytics on their usage.
All-in-one no-code tool for in-product user onboarding.
UserGuiding is a third-party user onboarding tool to improve the in-product experience for your users.
UserGuiding can help you in your user onboarding with its many features, such as:
- Interactive Product Tours,
- User Guides,
- Onboarding Checklists,
- Feature Highlights,
- NPS Surveys,
- In-App Messages,
- Customer Feedback Gathering
The tool doesn’t require any technical knowledge at all, meaning it could be utilized by all teams in your company. With a no-code tool such as UserGuiding, you can save precious developer time to later spend it on improving and stabilizing your product.
Here’s what it looks like inside of UserGuiding, you can see all the features on the sidebar; to show you how easy it is to use the product I will create a short “feature introduction” for LinkedIn.
When you edit the guide, it will take you to the page you want the guide in and let you create and edit on the spot. You can create a complete user onboarding flow without any coding:
Its many features, affordable pricing, and simplicity makes UserGuiding the perfect all-in-one solution for in-product user-onboarding.
Video Onboarding Tools
Although I’d strongly suggest otherwise, an interactive experience might not be what you are looking for.
You might want your users to sit back and listen to you explaining the howtos and details of the product, or any content that you think would help them in their journey with your product.
Naturally, there are tools that help you do just that. Let’s see:
Use it to host video presentations, webinars, and training without actually being there.
Hosting live webinars is challenging because your attendees have to fit and adjust to your schedule and time zone, which can lead to low attendance and/or showing up to a webinar with no attendees.
eWebinar is an alternative for hosting video presentations, training, and—true to its name—webinars, without having to host the same session live over and over again.
Record a session once, upload it as a video and invite attendees to watch when they’re available. One of eWebinar’s unique features is its live chat which allows attendees to interact and ask questions in the chatbox on the right side of their screen. You can answer them in real-time, or by email afterward if you’re not around. Check it out:
eWebinar is free for 14 days.
Paid plans include:
- $49/ month for 1 published webinar,
- $99/month for 2 to 5 published webinars;
- $199/month for 6 to 15 published webinars or,
- $250/month for 25 published webinars + $10/month for any additional webinars.
Use it to create engaging video tutorials to inform users.
Video tutorials are a great way to engage users and show them how to complete complex tasks within a product or application. But creating good videos can be challenging and expensive. Wistia is here to take some of the pain out of creating good videos.
Within the Wistia platform, you can create, record, edit and distribute videos, which can be customized with brand identity, calls to action, or anything else that might facilitate your user onboarding process.
The platform also offers good analytics, so you can see where in your video your user’s attention starts to flag, and so where you need to cut, or just make things more interesting.
Wistia also offers a lot of interesting video marketing tools, if you want to make video work for you in more ways than one.
You can try Wistia for free, starting with just three videos. It is then $99 per month for up to ten videos, and plans are bespoke after that.
Of course, getting your hands on a decent camera is down to you.
Use it to create and distribute videos for various purposes, in this case: user onboarding.
Vimeo, like Wistia, is another video marketing tool that can be benefitted for user onboarding. Easily record, create, edit, embed, and distribute videos in high quality.
The tool allows you to analyze your videos too, and offers many resources to help you make the most out of Vimeo. It’s high speed and mobile optimization makes it a great channel to distribute your videos to your users.
You can create videos about your product and its uses and embed it where it is needed.
You can start using Vimeo Basic for free, but the upload is limited and the most affordable plan that allows you to upload 5GB/week costs around $7.
Email Onboarding Tools
Now that we know what you can use to attend new users in-product, let’s talk how you can interact with them when they are off-product.
The most direct way to reach someone these days is via email. Everybody uses them, you will have your users’ emails as they sign up with your product, and if you reach out the right way you can encourage them to take the actions you’d like.
Here are the best practices of email onboarding.
You can always use Gmail or Outlook to engage with your users, but I would not recommend that since there are a handful of you while you might end up having to reach thousands of customers within a week. Let’s see what tools can help you simplify and automate email onboarding:
Use it to communicate with any user in any stage of the Customer Journey.
Intercom is a huge brand in customer communications field. You can set custom messages that will be sent to custom audiences that could be triggered by custom events.
You can customize your communication campaigns until they become just the right one for your business’ needs. In user onboarding, which is another campaign, using Intercom can make life a lot easier.
You first set a goal, turning into a paid user, upgrading their plan, achieving success via your product, you name it. Then you can scheme a journey for them that leads to this goal, and create a campaign that directs them toward the goal through this journey.
After that, the whole process will be automated and the campaign will start as soon as a new user signs up if you’ve set everything up correctly.
The product also offers various customer support and engagement tools, such as automated live chat where you can help users in need 24/7.
Although Intercom’s pricing starts from $39/month, in order to get the real value of the product you need to get at least the Grow package which costs $99/month.
Use it for automating personalized communication through multiple channels.
Drip is more than just another email marketing tool.
It is a tool that allows for smart segmentation of customers, customization of messages, and automation of communication. Drip is more like an email tool with a fully-fledged CRM built-in.
With Drip you can easily tag and segment users based on a variety of customizable criteria. You can then drip feed content and alerts to users based on their actions. You can encourage engagement with gamification tools, and track the success of individual communications funnels with advanced analytics.
Those same analytics allow you to analyze conversion and track success.
This is the kind of functionality that you might expect with an enterprise system, but Drip is highly affordable for what it offers. Expect to pay $29 per month for 1,000 users, $154 per month for 10,000 users, and $1,199 for 100,000 users.
User Behaviour Tools
The perfect onboarding is not the one that you throw everything that you see valuable at your user. It is the one where the journey of your real user is a pain-point-free and clear way to the “Aha!” moment.
Pay extra attention to “real user”, because when designing your product and onboarding you most likely acted according to the users that you have speculated. This is not an adverse method, however, if you keep doing it after you have a minimum viable product; it will become a problem.
You should keep optimizing your onboarding based on the behaviour of real users, which brings us to user behaviour tools:
Use it to track user interaction, conduct A/B tests, and gather feedback.
Mixpanel is every product manager’s dream.
It gives insights on your real users’ interactions with your web or mobile product. It is one of the most convenient and comprehensive product analytics tools out there.
You can analyze user actions, their responses to your changes, create cohorts based on user behaviour, target segments, and much more.
It is possible to start using Mixpanel for free with the Starter package and access core analytics features for 1000 users, and the Growth package costs $89/month with 25000 users and longer data history.
Use it to understand how users are responding to certain elements and visuals.
Hotjar is another amazing tool for understanding what your users think, and how well they are using your application.
Hotjar uses heatmaps, recordings, analytics, and feedback tools to create a complete picture of how your users are experiencing your product. This can be vital for identifying pain points, and also fine-tuning your idea of what exactly the value moment is for your users.
Heatmap functionality is particularly useful if you want to focus in on specific page elements and visuals. You can see exactly what people are focussing in on. If you are confused, ask the user what is happening with the built-in feedback tool.
The well-designed dashboard is a great way to keep track of insights and produce informative reports.
There are free plans available which allow you to collect data on up to 2,000 page views per day. You can escalate up to 10,000 page views per day for just $29 per month, and then there are premium packages for higher traffic sites.
Use it to identify your users’ onboarding pain points and address them.
FullStory is all about letting you see and understand how your users are using your product, so that you can make it better, starting with optimizing your user onboarding experience.
With FullStory, you can capture the details of almost any user session on your site. Intuitive analytics allow you to see user flows and identify drop off points. You can then replay sessions to see the user’s actual experience in real-time. This is a very powerful tool for identifying user pain points, which you may never have considered, and address them.
When you do start pushing out solutions, FullStory can also track the users that engage with them, so you can test how well they work and finetune before rolling them out to your full customer base.
You can start using FullStory on a free basis, which allows you to view up to 1,000 sessions per month. After that, you’ll need to speak to FullStory for a bespoke pricing plan that fits your needs.
Use it to learn exactly how your users engage with your product.
When it comes to understanding what users want, what their pain points are, and what does and does not work for them, there is no substitute for talking to real users, and more importantly, observing real users in action. UserTesting enables you to do just that.
You can use UserTesting to film users engaging with your product, seeing exactly what they are doing on the screen, and listening to them as they talk through their issues and challenges. It expands the number of people with whom you can test, and you can test remotely, with participants working on their own devices.
This is ideal not only for watching back user testing sessions, but for creating compelling advocacy material to convince management of important features and changes. Nothing says as much as watching a user struggle.
Pricing is bespoke, so you will need to talk to UserTesting directly for a quote, but they have packages for individuals who need to do a modest amount of testing, and for big business.
Remember, you only need to conduct five usability tests to identify 90 percent of usability issues.
Although analyzing individual user behaviour and acting on them is a great way to optimize your user onboarding, you might want to scale things up a bit.
Following tools are fueled to test your creations with larger audiences, and help you optimize them; which for the next product is right in the name:
Use it to find out which possible approaches work best with your customers.
Optimizely is a great product for testing options and experimenting with the best ways to engage and communicate with customers.
There is no coding, just create your content and send out your experiments, using the system to control how many people see each experiment and to crunch the data.
Optimizely can help you improve the quality of your onboarding process, and get the overall experience right for users, faster. You can choose between an easy to use web version, or the full-stack version for developers, or combine the two.
Plans are done on a bespoke basis, so pricing is a bit of a mystery. But don’t expect this powerful tool to be cheap.
Use it to test your new product with users when you don’t have a customer base.
The insights you can glean when you test your product with real users are amazing but sometimes, when you are developing a new product, you simply don’t have the customer base to test it with. This is where Helio.app comes in.
They have 300,000 testers from around the world ready to test your product.
You can specify the demographics and device types that you are looking for, and then let your application loose in the wild. You can get feedback within hours rather than weeks.
Anyone who has tried to organize this kind of cold user testing will know exactly how difficult this can be.
The tool comes with a lot of intuitive features for creating, optimizing, and customizing tests so that you get the best possible feedback. You can also use the same functionality to test the product with your own pool of potential customers.
You can sign up to Helio.app for free to see what you can do with their product, and you only start paying when you want to send tests out. For a basic test, you can expect to pay $199, and twice that if you want to target based on demographics.
User Feedback Tools
You can viciously use a combination of various user behaviour and analytics tools to try and get inside the mind of your users.
Or you could just, uh, ask them?
It’s not like all of your users don’t want to communicate with you; with the right attitude and incentive, you can get your users to share their feedback during and after the user onboarding.
Here are some tools that make this process simpler for you:
15- Google Forms
Use it to gather feedback for free.
Google Forms is a common and efficient way of collecting user feedback. You can create a simple questionnaire in minutes and roll it out to your audience, without spending a dime.
However, the percentage of people who accept to share feedback via filling a Google Form is going to be lower than you expect it.
Yet, it is something for the starters.
16- Feedier – Surveys and Feedback
Use it to ask your users what they really think.
Sometimes the only way to find out what customers think is to ask them directly, and Feedier is a great survey software to enable you to do just that, in a way that disrupts the overall user experience as little as possible.
In fact, some of Feedier’s fun interactive forms users may even enjoy completing.
Feedier enables you to build and embed simple or complex surveys into your website or application, all without any coding. You can also communicate with your audiences through a variety of communications platforms, including email, SMS, widget, and print.
Feedier also has an effective analytics platform behind it which allows for powerful number-crunching and response segmentation.
You can try Feedier for free and get access to a limited survey suite to experiment, but most users will need a minimum of the Explorer package, which costs $30 per month, but includes the full suite of survey options and analytics.
17- Wootric – Micro Surveys
Use it to ask your customers what they think with quick, punchy questions.
When you want to know what your users think about a certain feature of your product, it can be difficult to email them later.
They may have completely forgotten in the moment experience of whatever you are asking them about. Better to get a response from them in the moment: how was that for you?
This is exactly what Wootric lets you do, by creating micro surveys that can be deployed to users while they are within the product but they are easy to answer with a click or two; so they do not disrupt the overall user experience.
This can help you track how customers are feeling during the user onboarding process, and also ask important questions that let you personalize the experience for them, and deliver a better experience overall.
Pricing starts at $89 per month for a single project and channel. For $224 per month, you get all the bells and whistles with multiple projects, multiple channels, and even multiple languages.
Live Chat and Knowledge Centers
When do you think a user needs the most help?
Who do you think would ask more questions: a new user or a seasoned customer?
I hope answering the questions above was no problem at all for you, they are a bit obvious. A new user doesn’t know about the product, what it does, how it does it, can it do that, can it do this… So many questions.
They need to access you and your expertise directly, so adopting a tool for communicating with clients in-product, a live-chat solution could get that over with.
If you can’t, however, satisfy every user’s every need quickly; you can try automating the process.
A chatbot or a knowledge center are solutions that require way less human input. Let’s see what these tools can help you with:
Use it to chat with your users everywhere.
Although you can use Jivochat as a marketing tool, I will today focus on its live-chat and help functions.
Let your new users know from the start that you will always be there for them when they click on that live chat icon.
Whenever they need assistance, help them complete their tasks and they will not forget how friendly you are.
Jivochat’s basic plan is free up to 5 agents, and the pro package starts from $7.20/month per agent.
Use it to support customers where they are, within the application.
Freshdesk is another powerful tool for managing in-app chat support, throughout the onboarding process and beyond.
You can manage all your tickets that come in across all your platforms in one place: that is email, chatbot, live chat, social media, and even phone.
The software allows you to keep track of all conversations, prioritize tickets, tag topics, and automatically assign them to the most appropriate member of your team.
The platform also provides a powerful analytics suite, so you can easily see where your customers are having problems and need more proactive support, and where you support team is struggling to meet customer needs, so that you can prioritize investment.
Freshdesk offers a free account that works well for small businesses that do not need the full suite or integration or analytics tools. They offer more sophisticated packages starting from $15 per agent per month, up to $99 per agent per month.
Use it to centralize, streamline, and improve how you support users in need of help.
Your support team can’t be switched on all the time. And users might not want to wait hours to get a hello from a team member, they just want the information they need.
This is why having an accessible and navigable knowledge base is essential when onboarding users.
Zendesk integrates this knowledge center with a customer support ticketing system that allows support agents to manage queries from a variety of platforms, including social media. It integrates with pretty much everything, and the dashboard is highly customizable so you can make it bespoke for your business.
Basic plans start at $5 per agent per month with limited features, so you might be tempted to upgrade to their $89 per agent per month plan. There is also bespoke pricing for bigger businesses.
Use it to keep all your learning aids in one accessible place.
Helpshelf is a great way to keep all your support resources in one place, and make it easy to access for users so that help is always at hand.
You can gather all of your resources together within Helfshelf, from Vimeo, YouTube, Intercom, document repositories, and many other places. You can tag resources for when and where users are likely to need them, and then Helpshelf will serve up the best help resources for the user, wherever they are in the application.
This can help significantly reduce the number of support calls made, and can help those users who have the confidence to do things on their own take control of their experience and glide through.
Helfshelf starts at $25 per month for one site, with three source integrations, and 1500 monthly users. For 5 sites expect to pay $55 per month, and for up to 12 sites $99 per month.
Getting user onboarding right is a complicated process that requires deep insight into your users and their needs, also a user-centric design that gets the user where they need to be as quickly and efficiently as possible.
But when it comes to user onboarding, you do not need to start with a blank slate. There are lots of great tools out there that can help you to both design and deliver a quality user onboarding experience. A combination of the tools in this list will definitely cover all your needs.
Frequently Asked Questions
⛵️ What is User Onboarding?
User onboarding is the process that starts with a user’s first interaction with your business and continues beyond even after they are acquainted with your product, as an ever-ongoing process that helps users find out how they can benefit from your product and make the most out of it.
❓ Why should you use User Onboarding Tools?
Your product is precious, and taking away the developer time to build elements for your user onboarding might harm your business more than you think; use onboarding tools to avoid starting from scratch.
🔧 What kind of tools can help improve my User Onboarding?
In-product user experience tools, related open source libraries, video marketing platforms, email marketing tools, user behavior tools, user testing solutions, user feedback tools, livechat and knowledge center platforms are the main tool categories regarding user onboarding.