My Thoughts on User Onboarding + Tips on better ways to do it
User onboarding are the steps or processes used to guide a user when trying to use a product/service and feature for the first time.
An onboarding experience is a way to introduce users to a new product, app, or feature.
Onboarding UX is the design of a flow or series of flows that give the user a guided introduction to the product, set up some initial preferences, or point out critical UI elements in an interface.
The ways I have seen this carried out is:
– Having a series of screens that explain the app and its features on opening an app for the first time.
– Some products have gamification to their app that lets you try it out in a sandbox.
– Having a series of pop-ups to explain how the product/service works.
But User Onboarding transcends just a few screens showing features.
User onboarding should be a strategy that targets the user and gives them a soft landing to what it’s being introduced. This can be a feature, physical product (like unpacking a new laptop/phone), digital service or even an event ( when they arrive at the location)
I went for an event earlier this year and they used a very big space, at the front of the venue, they raised their banners, this would let you know you are in the right location, on entering, the areas were labeled from the gate so you know exactly what was happening in what area. That gave me a better experience as opposed to just walking around asking questions.
The word “user” refers to someone you are serving.
On studying what Twitter did, they noticed people would create an account and leave, have in mind that Twitter is a conversation based application, they later improved that process and during sign up they ask for your interest and suggest accounts for you to follow that way you don’t see an empty timeline when the process is over. That right there is the soft landing 😎
I once had a friend who bought a shirt from a US company and it came in a box with a written letter from the CEO of the Shirt line stating how special he was and some other things I didn’t read 🙃. That has stayed with me as a good one that I love and that is how you let your customers know you are different and your brand is further re-enforced in their minds.
Onboarding is not a one time thing, it’s continuous, it can always be better.
For bigger companies, you would agree it can be easier to achieve this because they would have distributed sub-teams managing different aspects of their product but users would not make this excuse for you, they would put you on the same scale and if they don’t like it they would leave.
A good way to go about your onboarding for an app would be:
- Know which routes they might use to find your app.
If you posted a tweet online about it, what did you say, was it a newsletter, how did you guide them to the call to action. What relevant keyword did you use in the copy?
Your user story is always a good guide that can inform you of this.
- Your App Resources and Description
It’s also noteworthy to know that you can use your website keywords here as it can show up via a Google search too. The images you select here are also important, don’t just tell us what features it has, shows the features and the screens, this way people would be able to map the screens in their memory to what they would see in your app later and have a little understanding of what is happening.
I can’t even stress this one enough, reply your reviews on the relevant app stores😭 especially the bad ones, and don’t just say BS, actually say something that would give someone seeing it that the issue was resolved.
A video of your app in use is important, and the video can actually highlight one of your user stories so it’s relatable.
Your Description is not a manual, make this brief and add relevant links. If you use bullet points, it makes it easy to read with spaces in the right place.
When you update your app and you put the same update description repeatedly, it’s worrying!
Don’t forget your contact/support details🙂
(That’s enough for this section I think 😂)
Yes, this is mostly the 3 swiping screens.
The screens are important but catch their attention because most people just skip them. You can do this better by telling a story instead of just “main and subtext”
For a website, popups can be a good way to achieve this.
When you are doing this, it would be very nice to actually do it per feature as opposed to doing this all at once. That way you can explain why you need permission.
Example: you want to request to use the camera.
Tell them why you did it and what it would mean by their acceptance/rejection. There are so many dark patterns for this part I have personally observed on several websites and apps.
- Use your Product to Teach them
This doesn’t really work for all digital product though, when you sign up on Twitter, they guide you to put out your first tweet. A podcast app has a default recording on signing up that serves as a guide and within the recording, they teach you to use the app.