All Onboard: Tips for Onboarding Users to Your App

When it comes to onboarding users, ask anyone who’s built an app before and they’ll tell you one of the biggest components is flow. How do you ask someone that you’ve never met before to join you on this journey of this exciting new product, while simultaneously getting them to love the fruits of your labor as much as you do?

I’m not a developer or designer by any means. Just about anything outside of MS Paint and Photoshop’s clone tool is somewhat out of my comfort zone (it’s a WIP). Instead, I’ve compiled a list of examples and resources to help better explain the onboarding process from those that have been there before, that are doing it now, and most importantly, have had success in consistently acquiring new users that will help us with our future projects.

To kick things off, let’s look at a couple images and key takeaways from companies that have been excelling at this process:


• Keep it simple and don’t over-complicate




• If you’re going to ask for info, explain why/what you’re going to do with it



Co-Founder and Chief Product Officer Pieter Walraven is no stranger to product design and development. Companies like Spotify, Path and Nestle rely on Pieter’s product to help eliminate the noise and stay focused on the tasks at hand. Pieter recently posted an article on his top 10 ways to immediately improve user on boarding to make it as seamless as possible.

These include:

Let the User Be In Control

People want to figure stuff out by themselves. Let users experience your product, and they’ll figure out the value and why you do things

Let Users Experience the ‘wow!’

To determine what your ‘wow!’ moment is, don’t look at metrics and try to change user behavior, but look at your business from your customer inward. To get users sucked in, you need to show users your product as soon as possible, and figure out what their first moment of investment is.

Use Fewer Words

It’s hard to write short and to-the-point copy. It’s tempting to tell new users about all the great things your product does, but keep it short if you want users to pay attention. A good guideline is to have no more than 10 words on a screen.

Be Adaptive

What works best for you depends on the complexity of your product and savviness of your users. If you decide to go for a less ‘on-rails’ experience, try to adopt your messaging based on the actions of the user. This way the experience leaves plenty of room for exploration and learning, giving your users a chance to feel smart. A checklist is also a nice way to facilitate both self-exploration and a guided experience.

A Closer Look

Outside of these examples and firsthand advice, here are additional resources to tap in to that dive a bit deeper in the process:

The Elements of User Onboarding” by Samuel Hulick

When Software and People Mix by Gail Goodman, CEO of Constant Contact



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