Onboarding strategies 


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Any app can succeed or fail depending on what happens during the first experience. You must successfully onboard and engage users during the first interactions if you want them to continue using your app after the initial download.The app onboarding process is the first thing when the user comes in contact with the mobile application. It is an essential step for enhancing the user experience. Onboarding is amongst the essential phases in the mobile apps journey. It is the first point of contact for users, and there is much significance. To provide an enhanced user experience, making the onboarding process as seamless and precise as possible is imperative.

Research shows that 85% of users prefer native apps over mobile websites. Although for new users, it is quite tricky to navigate through an app and understand all its features. Here onboarding helps users familiarise themselves with the app and guide users through the app.

What is App Onboarding?

Mobile app onboarding is the user’s first interaction with your application. Which guides them about your app through Videos, a sequence of screens or pop-ups that direct them via the app interface. The main aim of the app onboarding is to tell users about the actual value of the app capabilities and register them as new users. But this part is often overlooked or used inefficiently, leaving users with bad experiences, consequently making them leave the app.

Why Is App Onboarding Essential?

As people move towards mobile commerce, more apps are becoming popular every day. It has become much easier, faster, and more convenient for users to download the app from the app store.However, the average time a user possesses for paying attention is 8 seconds and 25% of users leave the app after a single use. Moreover, the average monthly time spent on apps increases by 40% every year. This shows that making the onboarding process excellent is vital to increasing user retention.

Types of App onboarding

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There may be numerous types of app onboarding, but the most popular of them include benefits, functions, and progressive onboarding.

Benefit onboarding

Benefit onboarding is the onboarding process that highlights the features and benefits of the app. Also, it tells users how it can benefit them in accomplishing their tasks. It helps in improving the conversion rate by encouraging users to use the application. This onboarding focuses on depicting the app’s features and encouraging users to use the app by telling them about its features and functionalities.

Function onboarding

This onboarding shows the general features of the app. It helps users understand the features of the app deeply. How can these features help them accomplish their tasks? This may also include the demo video, which is the UI function of the app.

Progressive onboarding

This onboarding helps users understand more complex features of the application. It provides users step by step tutorial of the app.

When to use onboarding instructions?

Should I develop my app’s onboarding? You must assess the complexity of your product in order to provide an answer to this question. When new users first launch your app, they must understand how to operate it. The majority of apps don’t require you to read any instructions. You can omit onboarding if your app is self-explanatory.

You might require an onboarding plan when:

·       Product makes use of unusual interactions. For instance, your main mode of interaction is non-standard gestures.

·       A product’s workflow is intricate. For instance, your app requires users to learn a complicated business logic in order to use it.

·       The product has undergone a significant redesign. You recently underwent a significant app redesign, and you want to inform current               users of the new functions and enhancements.

·       A completely new idea is presented by the product itself. Your app is a great illustration of an original design.

If you are unsure if your app needs onboarding, test it without onboarding to see if users face problems interacting with your product for the first time.

Five onboarding strategies

In this article, I’ll define the term “onboarding,” share 5 typical onboarding strategies for web and mobile apps, and offer some usage advice.


The most popular method of introducing an app to a new user is probably through a walkthrough. The most popular type of walkthrough is a set of static screens that can be swiped through. This kind of onboarding is present in every other app on the market and occurs during the initial launch of a mobile app unfortunately, because it prevents users from using a product, a walkthrough is not the most elegant way to describe a product’s basic functionality or show them its value. Users must navigate through a series of screens that explain the purpose of your app before they can interact with it. It makes sense that most users prefer to skip.

You put more cognitive strain on your users when you use a walkthrough to describe your app’s essential features. Users are receiving too much information at once from you. Users are likely to forget everything they see on the screens once the onboarding process is complete because this information is provided outside of the context of interaction. By utilizing fewer slides and animation, the impact of this technique can be slightly enhanced. Because animation is so effective at grabbing attention, animated walkthroughs are more interesting than static ones. However, it is preferable to stay away from this tactic.

Tips for designing walkthroughs:

·       Use it not as a value proposition. Users have already made the decision to use your app, and they are well aware of the advantages it will           provide.

·       Use no more than three slides.

·       Make the experience more dynamic by including animation.

·       Allow users to skip this section by providing the “Skip” button.

2. Interactive tours

It’s always preferable to provide a set of static instructions before users begin an interaction than to explain how something works in the context of the interaction. And the interactive tour, which is the second technique, can assist us in doing that. Interactive tours are self-guided tours that only start tutorials when the user reaches the necessary destination. Learning by doing is the best method for learning anything.

Therefore, a practical exercise in which users are led through a flow to complete tasks that symbolize the key app interactions serves as the best illustration of an interactive tour. This method is employed by Duolingo to educate its users; prior to using an app, users are requested to take a brief test in the chosen language.

Mobile onboarding for Duolingo

A few pointers for creating interactive tours:

·       Contextualize the interactive tour. When the user reaches the appropriate stage of experience, the tour starts.

·       Allow users to finish the tasks on their own.

·       Make sure the tasks users will perform are comparable to real-world tasks that actual users would like to complete with your product.

3. Visual hints

Users can better understand how to interact with an app’s interface by using visual hints that are displayed on the user interface (UI). This method is particularly helpful for screens with a lot of interactive elements or an original navigation system. It is preferable to avoid displaying all visual hints at once when using this technique. Visual hints demand user effort upfront, just like the lengthy up-front walkthroughs we’ve previously discussed. Users must retain all of the information they see. Due to the limited capacity of our short-term memory, this is hardly ever possible in practice. Furthermore, the lack of context gives the interface a much more complex appearance than it actually is.

It is preferable to use fewer visual hints and to use them when and where they are needed. Contextual recommendations are a great way to stay away from screens with lots of visual hints. You can find contextual hints in the Slack web application. The app reduces the amount of instructions by directing the user’s attention to just one main topic.

Tips for creating visuals:

·       Don’t display visual instructions for every action a user might take on the screen. It’s likely that your UI is not intuitive and that you should redesign it rather than using band-aids like visual tips if you believe that users need to learn a lot of instructions to use your product.

·       Show one tip at one time

4. A empty state

We always picture a product with data when we think of a product. Value for most apps comes from content. It’s the main driver behind people’s adoption of apps. The experience must take into account points where a user might not yet have content. These areas are referred to as empty states.

An empty state that is poorly designed becomes a dead end that prevents users from continuing. You should maximize an empty state’s functional role for users even if it is intended to be an intermediate step in user flow. Use an empty state effectively to direct the user on what to do next rather than leaving it blank. The illustration below demonstrates how the app instructs the user to finish a specific task.

Empty state of a mobile app: poor vs. good design

Setting expectations is another way to use empty states for onboarding. The user can be shown how the screen will appear when it is filled with real data and then verbally instructed on how to do so.

Tips for creating empty states:

·       Consider the onboarding process as a user flow. Consider how users navigate between screens and the times they can see an empty space. Empty states ought to aid users in understanding the situation and forming predictions about what will occur.

·       Avoid creating dead-end states. Include text and call-to-action buttons to aid the user in continuing.

5. Customization

Apps occasionally ask users to grant access to particular features or personal information so that they can personalize the user experience. As an illustration, the app might want to notify users when their friends are nearby. Always give a reason for your request if you want to obtain permission.

Tips for requesting data / permissions:

·       Always justify your need for a feature or access to data.

·       Use the option to reject the request and make a decision later.


Think carefully about the onboarding experience that new users should have before designing your product. Select the methods that will enable you to produce this experience.

Top Ways To Follow For Effective App Onboarding

App onboarding is important for user retention, as we discussed in the article above. But how to implement app onboarding effectively to achieve success? Below are the best ways to consider.

1-Focus on depicting Value

Showing off your features will make your users aware of your offerings and specialties, which helps increase the conversion rate. This is one of the most effective and top ways to promote yourself. In place of telling them the features of your app, you must explain the value of your app to the users. Making users realize the Value of your app for their business will convince them to use it. If you can successfully explain to your users how your app can help them to their goals, they are more likely to install your app. So realizing your Value is a great way to entice your buyers.

2-Ask only the necessary information

Make the signup process seamless and as simple as possible. Users signing up for your app should only be asked for information that is necessary and relevant to their business. For instance, if you have an online store, asking users about their qualifications may be irrelevant to them. So asking too many questions or relevant information can make users abandon your app.

3-Onboarding screens should be compact

Make your onboarding screen more illustrative and straightforward to understand for users. Because a tedious and extensive onboarding process can make you lose many potential customers. Suppose your app features or functionality requires a detailed process. Try to use more innovative and engaging ways to explain your users. Like you can use screenshots, images, etc., rather than heavy text explanations to your users.

4-Use permission request to use any feature

Getting permission from users before accessing device features such as phone books, etc., is an essential part of app ethics. It is found that about 30% of apps are uninstalled because the security or privacy policy of an app is not accessible to users. As a result, asking for permission before using any device feature creates a sense of trust among users. Generally, most people will agree when you ask for permission to use.

5-Promote the app’s preview

Completing the signup process may seem boring or tedious to some of your users. So it could be a better idea to give users access to some of your app features before the signup process. You can, for instance, allow your users to browse the product catalog before they sign up. Once you’ve generated interest in them, ask them to sign up when it’s time to move forward.

Bottom line

The onboarding process is the first thing a user sees when they open your app. In order to give your users the best first impression, you must have a good App Onboarding process. Tell your users the value of your app, i.e., how your app can benefit them in accomplishing their goals effectively. So starting with an outstanding mobile app with an effective onboarding process can boost your online business