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UX Tips: Three Things You Need to Know for Successful User Onboarding

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Read Time: 3 min

Your onboarding process is often the first impression a user will have of your new product or service. A successful onboarding is actually the least amount of onboarding necessary to setup your user so they can find product value as soon as possible.

There are three high level goals of onboarding to keep in mind:

  1. Add excitement around the main value proposition of the app.
  2. Help the user understand what the app does and what they should do next.
  3. Add personalization for relevant content.
Solid onboarding makes for happy usersSolid onboarding makes for happy usersSolid onboarding makes for happy users

Here are some tips to make the most of this process: 

1. Help the User Understand “Why” 

In recent years there’s been pushback again the common carousel pattern of showing value props before showing the sign up screen. Research found that most users skipped past those screens, but removing them entirely also removes the opportunity to showcase any key differentiators.

“We found that most users were just swiping through the [carousel] without reading any of the copy.” – Vevo

This combination of a value prop carousel and sign in actions highlights benefits while also making the option to skip ahead and login easy for those who want to. Don’t limit the user to one way of using your product, instead make opting-out of non-essential screens easy.

Benefits displayed in this way should excite the user and help drive them to their first action in the product, like Pocket’s:


2. Education Should be Seamless 

Sometimes an onboarding experience can become bloated and inefficient because the team tries to do too much for their audience at one time.

Think of the educational aspect of on-boarding as a lifetime process; something that will continue to happen throughout the experience of your product. 


Duolingo does this famously well, by integrating education into the introduction. Each step segments users into buckets, whether they are completely new to a language or have prior experience. The UI uses friendly messages to take you step by step through a process so it’s always clear what to do next. 

So rather than squeezing all the possible things to learn at the beginning of the experience (which may add friction to initial sign up) education should be timely, relevant and only delivered as needed.

The UberPOOL featureThe UberPOOL featureThe UberPOOL feature

The UberPOOL feature is concept that shows up after the user has already set up the app, and understood the main premise and payment system. Rather than imposing a new concept at the beginning of the process, this informational piece shows up several screens later to avoid cognitive overload. 

3. Keep Personalization Relevant

Lastly, great onboarding helps personalize the product with relevant content. 

Turbo Tax makes a typically painful and confusing process of filing taxes simple, with clear language, and an easy-to-use responsive UI that caters to the specific choices you make. 

Don’t be fooled into thinking that taxes mean long swathes of legal jargon. Brevity and clarity are your friends with any onboarding experience, and the goal is to make sure the user understands what they are doing, giving them a sense of control in the process (while also offering them buffer if they don’t understand something). 

Turbo TaxTurbo TaxTurbo Tax


On-boarding doesn’t have to be boring! Be sure to use simple supporting visuals or animation to support the overall story or brand of your product. 

“Ultimately the use of a carousel comes down to intent.” – Envato Blog

A well designed on-boarding flow provides an emotional appeal to the product, giving it a more professional or delightful experience, in addition to the baseline goals of aiding understanding and initial sign up. 

Learn More About Onboarding

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