If you’re running a new (or not so successful) business, you probably know that attracting new customers is your biggest challenge. In order to deal with it, you need to follow emerging trends; and to employ modern tools and methods which empower your users to use content in an efficient manner.
Onboarding is a process of transforming newly registered users into loyal customers. This process consists of your brand’s values, product’s features; and the guidelines you provide to your users. It is not rare for the overall success of your app to depend solemnly on great onboarding design.
Well-executed onboarding can help you provide better experience; lower your maintenance costs; and increase your profit. Furthermore, onboarding is a process which helps users to familiarize with your product; and to navigate the app in an intuitive manner. It is essential to provide them clear directions and to inspire them to engage as much as possible.
Onboarding’s Ultimate Objective
The main purpose of the onboarding procedure is to create a wonderful first impression, providing all essential information in almost no time. Such efficiency will convince users to spend more time on the app; and to explore whatever is offered to their attention.
Best onboarding experience has the purpose of making people feel comfortable on your app. You also need to present your product in an easily acceptable way, which will use almost no time to create necessity and urgency for them to buy it.
Why is this so important? Because it assures you that even if users leave without a purchase, they will eventually come back! The decision of signing up or making a purchase is a difficult decision even on the simplest apps. Trust is the most expensive gift users could give to you, so make sure to convince them you deserve it.
Many designers fail to comply with this requirement, as they consider onboarding to be just a breakthrough step for accessing the rest of the content. Sometimes, it means they are destroying the connection with the users; and they send them away even before explaining the benefits of that app.
Onboarding – Definition and Importance
Even if most of the brands appreciate the importance of attracting users, they make the mistake of thinking their work is done once users are on board. If you ask us, that’s just the beginning-you have to help users navigate your site; and you have to make it easy to use. At the beginning, it is essential to support users and to give them the attention they deserve.
Take a second and think about yourself as a user-wouldn’t you feel absolutely lost and confused on an app which doesn’t instruct you what to do?
Remember that there will be users who heard about your app; or found a link which redirected them to it, and they are arriving with faith and expectations. As a welcoming host, you have the duty of ‘shaking their hand’ and ‘walking’ them through your website/app. Consider onboarding as the first encounter with your user-you need to do your best to appear charming and interesting. Remember you’ll have nothing more than a couple of seconds to send a powerful message which can make users like you.
Why is the onboarding process even necessary?
Let us clarify your doubts on whether you need an onboarding process or not: Imagine you’re launching a website/app which has different performance that the ones your users experienced before. It is not an uncommon situation-you may be introducing a completely new product and you’ll need ‘hidden items’ to make it more interesting.
The Process Itself
Have in mind there will be no second chance to design a perfect onboard experience-the process happens only once, right after users decide to engage and to explore the content of the app. Therefore, onboarding is a designer’s unique opportunity to orchestrate an introduction which can inform users, and entertain them at the same time. With a good onboarding process, even the most complicated products can seem attractive.
Another important benefit is the temporary ‘hiding’ of the product’s real value-price comes only after a user is truly engaged, and he believes your product is absolutely necessary to satisfy his needs.
He will most probably look at different forums or social networks to examine quality and to compare price, but what will count is the urgency and necessity you’ve created from the very first moment. As simple as it sounds, your success will depend only upon the easiness and speed of your onboarding process.
Welcome your users into a secure environment, totally consistent with common perceptions and expectations. Failing to do that would disappoint them and you would probably never restore their confidence.
In addition, make sure you replicate the success of your onboard design on all other pages and elements-you need to preserve the same trust levels until the very end of your users’ session. Examine users’ behavior in every phase of their visit and show them you’re ready to respond to all of their requests. However, don’t exaggerate because you would seem pushy or heavy-handed. Your directions could be welcomed in certain cases, but there will also be occasions where users want to explore independently, without your interference.
Decided to create a great onboarding process? Focus on the following goals:
- Remember that you have only one chance to produce excellent onboarding experience, so make it as easy and entertaining as you can.
- Make your product necessary and desired. It is an asset to count on in future, rather than closing every communication once the order is done.
- Restrict the usage of text; and use actions and indications to show users how to use your products.
During onboarding, you’re enabling users to make the most of their experience on your app. We collected a list of recommendable practices you could apply, depending on the type of product/s you’re offering.
- Avoid tricky concepts
What may work perfectly for most apps could have detrimental effects for you. Keep things simple and apply only such concepts that match your style and your needs. If something appears complicated, or causes unnecessary delays, feel absolutely free to remove it.
- Stay opportunistic
Onboarding is your chance to involve users, and to make the most of your users’ first impression. Use it, and make sure you won’t miss any opportunity in future.
- The more entertaining, the better
What does a great first encounter mean? It means that users will be ‘in’ for a second one whenever you call them. It also means they’ll share the positive experience with their friends; and they will drive new users to your website or app. How do you achieve that? Make it as entertaining as possible!
- Inspire action
Even the best-executed among onboarding experiences will be incomplete if it doesn’t inspire action. Challenge your users, but make sure you’ve shown them that exploring your content and reacting to your demands is not a waste of their time.
- Keep it simple
The clearer, the better. Your onboarding process deserves to be cleared from any clutter and mess; so that users will not be distracted from the product and the benefits you’re trying to explain them.
Try and be creative when you require users to sign up: avoid the classic set of elements (names, last name, address or passwords) and if possible, reduce their number. Sign-up simplicity is something users appreciate, and you have to use it in order to increase your conversion rates.
There is no standardized rule for designing the perfect onboard process-you need to be creative, easily adaptive to all changes and modifications, and focused on the needs of your business. Looking at outstanding examples is a good idea, but replicating somebody else’s idea will never generate the same results.
The main reason why onboard processes are so important is that they take place at a very critical moment of your users’ experience-it is the very beginning, when you’re supposed to grab their attention and to expose the most important facts and benefits from your brand and your product. Therefore, forget about your own preferences and think about what users are expecting from you.
Don’t lose focus from your users-analyze their behavior and try to predict their reactions to each product/service. The more data you gather, the smoother your onboard flow will become.
Also published on Medium.