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What is user onboarding?

User onboarding means introducing potential customers to a software product. For users, in-app onboarding is the initial stage of getting to know your business that comes even before creating an account in your app. They briefly learn about the company, the product, and what solutions it can offer.

Why is app onboarding important?

What does user onboarding mean in practice, and why is it important to provide the best user onboarding possible? In the process of app onboarding, not only do entrepreneurs make their future customers familiar with their business and its software solutions, but the clients also get the first impression of the company and understand what problems they can solve by becoming their customers.

The quality of the user onboarding experience is proportional to customers’ interest in the product. That means, if business owners onboard users properly, these customers will more likely stay on the page longer, become more loyal to the brand, and be ready to try out the app.

Metrics for measuring onboarding effectiveness

The user onboarding process is measurable, just like any procedure that targets user journeys. It’s a great idea to check relevant KPIs, as in this way, you’ll see what works best for your users and what requires improvement. By noticing the flaws of the chosen strategy, you can work on concrete problems and achieve the best onboarding experiences fast.

Use some of these user onboarding metrics to see and improve your newcomers’ experience:

  • Completion rate — The number of users who got to the end of the onboarding process.
  • Time to value — The time onboarding users need to understand the value of the product.
  • Daily active users — This rate shows the results of successful in-app onboarding, namely the number of clients who got the idea of the app and keep employing it regularly.
  • User retention rate — The number of users who keep coming back during a certain period after their first onboarding experience.
  • Churn rate — In contrast with the previous one, this indicator shows how many users a business has lost during a certain period.
  • Engagement rate —This rate shows how many users use your app regularly during a given period.
  • Feature adoption rate —The indicator for measuring how often a specific feature is used.

In general, all these metrics indicate how well the mobile app onboarding worked, namely, whether the customers got the value and the working principle of the application.

Steps to successful in-app user onboarding

To ensure your potential customers get the best user onboarding experiences, it’s crucial not to miss any important steps. Luckily, the user onboarding workflow is quite straightforward and encompasses three main steps.

Here are must-do actions when onboarding users:

  1. Welcome newcomers — For a new customer, the onboarding process should begin with an introductory part, where the business concisely presents its product.
  2. Help with a basic setup — Whether it’s profile configurations or preparatory actions, app onboarding should assist your users in figuring out the fundamentals of the application.
  3. Guide to the solution — Finally, show the users how to reach the goals that led them to try out your product.

Best practices for user onboarding

Although the basic workflow is enough to briefly introduce a new customer to the product, many companies invented and implemented additional user onboarding best practices that helped them stand out among other businesses.

These user onboarding tips can complement and individualize the in-app onboarding process for companies of different niches.

Work on UX/UI

Proficient user onboarding includes a concise and informative introductory message in a friendly tone of voice, a product tour, and feature hotspots. Progress bars, checklists, and gamification features can engage users more and increase completion rates.

Keep the target audience in mind

Like any other part of the user experience, the onboarding process follows the trend towards personalization. For instance, short surveys and user-role-specific approaches can serve this purpose and are known as one of the current mobile app onboarding best practices. For B2B software products, it’s possible to provide different onboarding experiences for different accounts and different users of the same account.

Target different learning approaches

The more you diversify the onboarding process, the more effective this procedure will be for various audiences. One way to do it is to divide onboarding into smaller segments, so users don’t get overwhelmed or can choose the sequence that suits them. Also, you can complement visual tours with video guides and gamify the process.

User onboarding examples

These are some examples of businesses that chose successful user onboarding strategies for their products and services:

  • Slack

Slack, one of the most popular team messaging apps, offers a minimalistic action-oriented mobile app onboarding. One of the central elements of their approach is Slackbot, a chatbot that guides users through the app after their signup. In this way, newcomers don’t only learn how to use the product but actually use it straight away.

  • Grammarly

Grammarly is a writing assistant that is presented as a dedicated app, website, and extension. The service uses the mobile onboarding best practices represented by UX features in their demo tour, such as unobtrusive hotspots, short explanations, etc. Remarkably, Grammarly goes beyond purely in-app onboarding by bringing its elements outside their main platforms, to external services, to ensure the clients use its full potential.

  • Asana

The project management platform Asana uses app onboarding based on the checklist approach. After going through a quick signup flow, users learn the main features of the platform by carrying out tasks and checking them out from the list. The whole process is even more engaging thanks to fun details such as GIFs and animations.

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