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Onboarding design tips

Aleksandr Adams

If users bounce from your home page or stop using your app after the first day – you should think about effective onboarding to avoid it. Perhaps, users just need some hints and tips to understand the value and benefits of your product.

Onboarding is an effective tool, which has two main goals. First, to explain how everything works. Second, customer engagement and retention. You can read more about onboarding and its best practices in our article. Here, we offer some tips about onboarding design.

Swipe and skip
Good onboarding should be quick and simple. Long processes may irritate customers and make them bounce from your product. That’s why you should split your introduction into small pieces and show one or two sentences on each screen. Three or four screens would be enough to explain the main benefits or functions of your product. Screens should be swipeable (it is especially effective in mobile apps). In addition, give your customers an opportunity to skip onboarding – some people don’t want to learn how your product works, they prefer figuring everything out on their own. And don’t forget to show your onboarding to first-time users only. It’s a waste of time for returning users.

Pop-up hints
Hints are an effective tool for explaining your product features. You can combine it with initial onboarding or use hints as an alternative. They don’t explain everything but will help when completing some actions. Though avoid overusing it – three or more hints on the same screen would be too much.

Animation and catchy illustrations
Sometimes, visualization is more useful than text, especially for visual types of people. Eloquent and catchy illustrations can explain some functions faster than text. Animation could be even more illustrative and has additional advantages – it catches attention, engages customers, and makes UX more dynamic. But don’t forget that it also requires more traffic and downloading time – you need to strike a right balance between implementation and efficiency.

Gamification, goals and progress
People like games – it means they want to see, set and achieve goals, control the progress. It’s good for motivation and allows achieving better results. You can use a lot of tools in your product – give customers a list of goals, show leaderboards, give badges for different achievements, and offer bonuses for reaching certain scores. Progress indicator is another efficient tool. Users like seeing their current position and how close they are to the goal. It could be a screen indicator, color gradient, or both.

Blank spaces but smart ones
Most people have only one thought in mind when they see empty spaces – they must be filled. UX designers use this motivation to engage customers. But professionals recommend doing it in a smart way. Your blank spaces shouldn’t confuse people making them think «what I need to do with it». Smart blank space should motivate to set the first goal, download the first content, try product functions, etc.

Up-sell top products
Your business definitely has some most profitable products or pricing plan. Onboarding is a good opportunity to up-sell it. When your customer is still learning your product functions, you could draw customer’s attention to the «top» plan and explain its advantages.

How to make professional onboarding
You could generate ideas for effective onboarding only by analyzing your customer’s needs and experience. But only a professional can make it focused, readable, engaging, catchy and effective. Creative digital agencies have everything you need: copywriters make tutorials short and clear, designers create catchy and expressive illustrations, web-developers make everything work.

Onboarding is your chance to make the first impression. Using these tips, you will never spoil it.