To help your app be successful, there should be a huge focus on making sure that it retains users once they signup or download. This is where user onboarding comes into play. It is a relatively new process that has taken the forefront of getting your users familiar with your app.User Onboarding is the process of ensuring that users are set up to continue using your product. Click To Tweet
Furthermore, user onboarding is the process of helping users to start using the product. This helps both the user flow and especially the user experience. You can even sneak in ways to show the customer how your app can benefit them.
How do you properly onboard someone? Well… it depends on your product and specific needs. There are some great techniques for doing so though! Some of the methods you can use right now while others may take some time to customize to fit.
User Onboarding with Program Tours
One of the most common user onboarding techniques is a tour of the product. These tours orient users through the product and can be handled in a variety of ways.
Sometimes this is performed as a swipe gesture screen tour on their mobile device. This is very common and good practice. However, your users will learn best by doing. A very popular onboarding experience is explaining by demoing. It gives them the chance to actually complete a task and see what elements do what actions.
Make sure that your tours are providing the most information possible within the shortest amount of time. These should not be time consuming! The faster a tour is, the less likely someone is to skip it.
Hopscotch is a framework to make it easy for developers to add product tours to their pages. Hopscotch accepts a tour JSON object as input and provides an API for the developer to control rendering the tour display and managing the tour progress.
jQuery TourBus is a simple, less things-happen-automatically toolkit for making product tours. It’s lightweight with the ability to turn on or add features.
Video Tutorial Onboarding
Another common user onboarding technique is through a video tutorial. The is usually prompted to watch when they first start the app. This video explains the basic usage of the app while demonstrating how to use it at the same time. These are very helpful to users because humans learn best when they learn with both audio and visual cues.
Despite videos being a great way to onboard new customers, there are two things you need to keep in mind. You want to ensure that your video is short. People don’t want to spend too long watching an intro video. Second, you should have a way for people to rewatch the video so that if they skip it or miss something, they can always come back.
Just like you should be optimizing the file size of your images, you’ll want to optimize your videos to load fast for your users.
Websites and apps have been using tool tips for a while. These bubbles appear when the app thinks you need a tip, before you have used a feature for the first time, and/or when you hover over a link. They provide quick and short suggestions on how to use a feature, what to do next, or how to start.
Tool tips can be annoying for experienced users or users who feel confident with your product. Make sure that there is an easy way to get rid of them if desired.
My favorite tool for the job is Tooltipr.
Regardless if you are considering user onboarding or not, making use of email automation is essential. MailChimp says it best: share tips and resources to help new users become experts with your product. These are also known as education emails.
This can be set on a custom schedule, such as every day or once a week. It’s great to help give tips to your customers and help remind them you exist.
Break It Up
Some companies decide to break up their onboarding process so that the various onboarding features only appear when you are trying to access a certain feature. This technique for onboarding has a couple of benefits. The most important benefit is that it makes it easier for users to remember what they learned during the process. This obviously depends on how complex your app is.
The second benefit is that users won’t need to be onboarded to features they don’t use. As much as you would like to think that every user will use every feature, most people use products differently, including not using some features. Making it so that users don’t have to sit through unnecessary steps provides a better user experience.
The User Experience
Not every onboarding method works for every company or service. For example, business oriented users may interact with programs in different ways than normal users do. You may also have completists or power users that use everything, like me.
Also, Americans might interact with apps differently than other cultures, etc. Customizing your app for your specific target users is key.
One of the best ways to gauge your onboarding process is to perform usability tests. These tests take real people using your product. You will get authentic feedback from people and be able to change your onboarding process accordingly.
Like most things website related, it’s something you should continually tweak in order to get right. You may also be interested in ways you can optimize your website in user experience by increasing your website speed.