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Why user onboarding is essential for your application?

Improve user onboarding to get more early usage, and you’ll see the benefits multiply over time. Long-term user retention is strongly related to what happens during users' first onboarding, that you can assess whether a user will stay with you based on what actions they take or don’t take in their first onboarding.

Why user onboarding is essential for your application?

Thursday February 23, 2017,

5 min Read

First  impression is best impression (Image Source: Google)

First impression is best impression (Image Source: Google)

Well you have built a brand new application. Who isn't these days! You have put in all possible efforts to make users visit your landing page; and your super converting landing page will not let users from leaving your landing page before signing up. There you are! Successfully got a new user. Now the question is what next?

Do you know that 80% of new users stop using the average application just three days after using it for the first time. If you don’t demonstrate your application's value to your users early, and turn them into habitual users, your application will die. 

Long-term growth of a product depends on how well you retain users. Great user onboarding helps in increasing your long-term success metrics like user retention and user lifetime value.

What is user onboarding?

“User onboarding is the process of increasing the likelihood that new users become successful when adopting your product.” —Samuel Hulick of UserOnboard.com

In this article I will explain you what are the key things that we considered for User Onboarding using our own experience at EnGrip. I will also quote examples from successful products that we have looked at (and you should also consider) while designing our onboarding flow. 

How to design a great user onboarding experience?

1. Make the users feel at home

When users enter your application for the first time, they might be thinking "what should I do first" or "how does this work". Remember users haven't personally seen how your app works so far. They signed up to your app based on wahtever they have seen on your landing page or explainer video. They will create an initial impression about your app and if the users feel the same in their first interaction with the app, it is highly likely that they return again and again to your application! 

On the other hand, if the users feel like a deer caught in the headlights when they enter your app for the first time be assured they will never revisit your app no matter how much effort you put in the user re-engagement. 

So the key here is to design your onboarding flow as a friendly guide to the new users. Remember how helpful a seasoned guide is in your visit to any historical monument. Carefully walk the users through essential setups/steps in your application and make sure only essentials are asked from the users.

2. Demonstrate value and let users realize it by doing, not by reading

Every application will have a core value and the sooner users find and understand your application's core value, the more likely they will reengage with your application. So find your core value and make sure your onboarding flow makes the user understand this. For ex. Dropbox's core value is to store and access the documents from anywhere in the world through internet, Quora knows that their retention is dependent on the topics you follow, twitter focuses on you following people during your onboarding. In our case, our core value lies in letting users capture their online learning. And that happens through a browser extension. So our onboarding flow mandates users to install the extension and do their first learning. If you are logging in from an unsupported browser or a mobile/tablet device you will be immediately prompted that you cannot benefit with our application. Losing users? Yes but those users can never find the value of our application without our extension and thus we will anyway lose them eventually. 

So design your onboarding flow in such a way that users find the core value of your application by doing. In the process users will experience the "wow" moment with in your application.

3. Show progress

It is highly likely that users may have to do more than one step as part of their onboarding. It is very important to keep users updated about their progress. 

Nobody likes uncertainty. 

To prevent users from dropping without completing the onboarding flow, show them their progress through your onboarding process. And as I have mentioned in the first step, ask for only essentials thus optimizing the number of steps to complete your onboarding.

4. Create a personalized Onboarding Experience

Wherever possible, welcome and greet users by their name. If you have features in your application that can be personalized based on the user's contextual information please do so, so that users will find more value in your application. Remember when you visit a big garment store selling garments for multiple user segments (like men, women, kids), a person greets you at the entrance and guides you to your destination. Frictionless and saves time!

What makes a great user onboarding experience

To brief, there are two main goals of a successful onboarding process:

Shorten the amount of time and effort required to find your application's core value (WOW moment). Create excitement/motivation for the users so that they will start using your application as a habit.

What tools can be used to design a great onboarding experience?

There are plenty of free, paid and SAAS based tools available to design your application's onboarding flows. You can decide based on your comfort levels with development Ex. bootstrap tour , intro.js. You can find more on this quora post

To talk about our experience, we have seen a significant improvement in users adopting our application after we designed our onboarding flow. We are still not big enough to celebrate the success. So the key for (many of) us would be to keep testing, assessing and adapting based on user feedback, behavior and interactions.

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