User Onboarding Best Practices

Digital Product

User Onboarding Best Practices

User Onboarding Best Practices for success

When consumers initially start using your product, they usually require some assistance. It’s only natural that you lead them around the essential areas of your design so they can use the product more effectively. A solid user onboarding flow, specifically, is much more than a basic product tour and can be highly successful for turning curious consumers into dedicated users.

You must demonstrate why the product is beneficial to the consumer, how they can make the most of it, and how you can assist them in getting started. You want people to feel as though they’ve known your product for a while and that they can begin to incorporate your design into their daily life.

Onboarding is the initial step for each new user. This initial step may either form a link between the consumer and the product or split it apart, resulting in churn. You know what they say about making a good first impression: you never get a second opportunity. So, how can you establish a solid first impression and provide a great product onboarding experience? It all starts by confirming your market fit and “aha!” moment that will make it possible to start integrating and growing the product.

In this guide, we’ll explore user onboarding best practices, as well as everything else you need to know about successful user onboarding.

Onboarding 101: Best Practices for Success

When it comes to onboarding best practices, there are a few different things to consider. In this guide, we’ll break down what digital user onboarding is, why it’s important, and the top software onboarding best practices to consider for your end-users.

What is Digital Product Onboarding?

The term “user onboarding” doesn’t refer to what most project managers assume it does. In fact, “user onboarding” is frequently used in the software industry, although it has many different definitions, even among members of the same team! Some claim it’s for training new users, while others say it’s the same as user experience, and still others think it’s merely swipe screens or a fast product tour.

How do you have amazing user onboarding if your team doesn’t agree on what it means? Let’s have a look at it in more detail.

The process of actively assisting consumers to discover new value in your product is known as user onboarding. Companies use this onboarding process to ensure that users are successful the first time they use a product, which is generally a SaaS product. The first experience, training, and eventually acclimatization are all part of the onboarding process. The “aha!” moment, or the precise moment when the user internalizes the value of the product, is the ultimate aim of the onboarding process.

This definition of onboarding is effective because it recognizes the importance of onboarding throughout the user’s lifespan. It starts before a person registers up and continues after they upgrade to a premium membership. It recognizes that user onboarding entails much more than simply instructing people on how to use your product. To make people successful, you must also teach them why they should use it and provide them with the assistance they require to discover value. This process also involves to concept of service design, where areas across the organization are aligned to address how to improve support and provide effective information.

You’ll need a lot more than a fantastic UX or a product tour to properly use these ideas. You must comprehend your consumer and use onboarding best practices to encourage them to take the proper next actions. This process should be done by a team of marketers, product managers, designers, and developers.

Is Digital Product Onboarding Important?

The simple answer: Yes!

The first user experience (FUX) a person has when they download and use your product for the first time is incredibly valuable. It usually takes the form of a quick walkthrough that teaches how to utilize the product’s primary features in a few easy steps. A user onboarding flow’s main goal is to increase user activation and retention. And realistically, the onboarding process needs to start way before the users is even in the app itself. That starts at the marketing strategy level in which a storytelling is used to get user attention. From there, once they are converted, it’s time for more heavy lifting.

Putting in the time and effort to help new users get the most out of the product as soon as feasible may reap significant rewards. The sooner users recognize the value of your idea, the lower the churn rate will be. It’s not enough to have a product that’s simple to use. We require a top-notch onboarding procedure.

Let’s not forget that the rapid expansion of SaaS products, particularly in 2021, has conditioned today’s consumers to expect the highest standards of user onboarding, which is typically accomplished by giving an onboarding solution. They will exit the tool if they have a subpar experience, which will prevent them from becoming active users.

A successful user onboarding experience should educate the user more than just how to use the technology. It must make them feel appreciated, provide a warm welcome, and manage the learning curve flawlessly. It must curate our onboarding flow such that they may freely explore while also learning what we know they need to know in order to become adept with the technology. All of this will have a favorable impact on our retention rate, lowering our client acquisition costs.

What is the Difference Between Onboarding for Products and Onboarding for Users?

The words “product onboarding” and “user onboarding” are interchangeable. Despite the fact that they are sometimes mistaken, the two are distinct. Product onboarding refers to the macro mechanisms used to make a product more discoverable, particularly at the beginning of a user’s journey. On the other hand, user onboarding is the process of implementing those systems at the individual user level.

Also, bear in mind that product onboarding and adoption are all about the user experience. The user experience is the emphasis of user onboarding and adoption. The main distinction between product onboarding and customer onboarding concerns the product’s underlying architecture, structure, and strategy. Product onboarding, unlike consumer onboarding, is also a component of the employee life cycle. It enables people to comprehend the product and how to make the most of it. In a nutshell, developing innovative techniques to improve your onboarding procedures is crucial for users and workers to adopt new technologies more quickly and efficiently.

What Makes an Onboarding Process Successful?

You should be aware that the optimal user onboarding strategies are determined by the needs and expectations of your users. You must customize and adapt your onboarding process to the needs of your consumers. And the only way to understand the needs of your customers is by utilizing cycles of interviews and prototyping.

However, there are key components that should be included in your user onboarding process in order for it to be successful. A good user onboarding process will have a good time to value, will be very direct and clear, will assist instead of just inform, will be very customizable per user, and can collect feedback accurately. These are the main attributes of a successful user onboarding process.

The Formula for Digital Product Onboarding

The formula for successful onboarding involves the ability to urge consumers to take action by providing the correct content materials, through the right channel, at the right time. The formula for success is comprised of these three elements.

You’ll go far deeper than strong user experience and a product tour to retain and please your userbase if you nail the content, timing, and channel of your user onboarding. It will also reduce churn by allowing clients to recognize the value of your offering as fast as feasible. Because there is a link between high turnover rates and low customer satisfaction, you may reduce churn rates to new lows by refining the whole user onboarding process.

It’s worth noting that if during your first contact with users the onboarding experience doesn’t have the expect adoption and conversion, the product team will need to revise and make changes until the right solutions is found.

Challenges Product Teams and Managers Face in Digital Product Onboarding

You probably wouldn’t be reading this unless you have already considered the potential challenges and roadblocks of user onboarding. Unfortunately, there are a lot of them. To deliver a good onboarding process, companies, particularly onboarding professionals, must overcome several hurdles.

To begin with, there are some significant learning curves. It’s one of the most difficult challenges you might face while developing a SaaS or other digital solution. Because every SaaS software solution has its own learning curve, the onboarding process should adapt to learnability. Learning curves are influenced by a variety of factors, including product design, support, and training. As a result, you should concentrate on increasing and enhancing learnability over time.

Disengagement occurs during onboarding, particularly in settings involving new digital goods and consumers. Users may become disengaged if a product is dull, difficult to understand, or your onboarding procedure isn’t friendly enough. Disengagement should be avoided at all costs since it may lead to a variety of problems, including decreased user productivity and churn.

Another issue is user impatience and frustration. Users might quickly become irritated if your SaaS product’s training is useless, the design is complicated, and the support is inadequate. As a result, there is a risk of burnout and desertion.

When it comes to onboarding, burnout and abandonment might be a concern. When clients forsake a product, there’s a good risk they won’t come back. To avoid this, onboarding professionals should figure out why users quit the product and do everything they can to address the problem. The iteration of opportunities and solutions to the problem are key.

With these challenges in mind, let’s take a look at some top-notch tips, best practices, and strategies for overcoming these challenges easily.

The Top Best Practices, Strategies, and Tips for Digital Product Onboarding

Keep in mind that these tips, best practices, and strategies are specifically tailored to user onboarding.

Make the onboarding process customizable.

UX onboarding best practices are very important to consider for users. Individualizing each account should be a part of the onboarding process. That should be your standard operating procedure, and it will be established by outlining those expectations. But what does it mean to personalize the onboarding process?

Consider the following UX design principles: Your product should provide a worthwhile, useful, desired, and accessible experience. This might include client-only VIP portals, personal profiles, special information, and opportunities to simply interact, be accessible, and understand enough about your consumer to anticipate and answer their questions before they ask them.

Know who you’re actually onboarding.

Users are people, and not all people are the same. Despite the fact that your product will be downloaded by a wide range of individuals, you may obtain a broad description of who those people are. When it comes to planning the user onboarding experience, this knowledge is important.

We’ll assume you’ve already built the majority of the product features if you’re building an onboarding feature. Hopefully, you took the time to do thorough user research. If you build user personas before you start designing or in the early phases of the process, for example, the user onboarding process is a great moment to revisit them and ask yourself, “How can I explain to Mary how this feature will assist her?”

Remove any obstacles in the way of your onboarding process.

An empty account is an unsuccessful user on a site that thrives on user content. You should minimize the barrier to entry by providing consumers with three simple alternatives for getting started. “Aha!” you want your users to exclaim. I completely understand. Early on in the onboarding process, you could think to yourself, “I need this!” When people see the value of your product and are prepared to pay for it, this is known as the “aha!” moment.

By adopting a few recommended practices, you can break down barriers: Allow users to test the product without having to create an account. As soon as possible, request user information. If you don’t offer a free trial, utilize testimonials on your marketing site to highlight the “aha!” moment. Freemium models are also becoming increasingly popular, as well as referral models that let users earn points that they can use to unblock features.

Finally, you must determine what is preventing folks from experiencing the “aha!” moment. Is there an issue with the registration? Is it an issue to direct them to their first in-app activity once they register?

Consider the “fast” wins.

Another excellent practice for user onboarding is to provide quick wins as soon as possible. The more value you supply, the more likely they are to stick with your product. Product uptake and retention are more rapid.

This relates to the “aha!” experience. Finding trends in user data, learning from customer feedback, segmenting users, learning from churned consumers, and starting with user preferences are the greatest approaches to make that moment happen. Discover the best strategies for maximizing your “aha!” moment. A/B testing is a great way to do this.

Take your users’ expectations into account.

You most likely want to make a good first impression on your users. It’s tempting to entice individuals into downloading your app by catering to their expectations and promising to alleviate their problems before they’ve even downloaded it.

This does, however, have significant drawbacks if you fail to meet those expectations. Failure to deliver results in angry people who believe you’ve wasted their time, and it’s a surefire way to lose them permanently. In a nutshell, be realistic and avoid making promises you won’t be able to meet. Be truthful while describing your digital product and during the onboarding process.

In fact, educating your consumers how to utilize the major features of your product, which should be the things they downloaded it for, is one approach to be realistic.

Take a look at a multi-channel experience.

Google is aware of who uses its Analytics app on mobile devices. Users who currently have Analytics access and want to discover how the experience transfers to mobile are the ones who want to sign up for a new account. Because people today consume content in a variety of places and have varied learning styles, you’ll need to employ numerous channels to maximize engagement and retention. Just as well, the company providing the app service needs to have access to all of the same information via different channels.

Create onboarding workflows.

Users that understand the value can share the opportunity with others. Creating onboarding funnels is a wonderful way to speed up adoption. You encourage users to explore and understand the product in its entirety by providing them with personalized onboarding processes.

Users that are confident in their ability to use your product efficiently and see great results may become advocates for it. Your client retention strategy may also be made or broken by having the correct onboarding flow.

Keep it frictionless.

Yes, we know it’s a buzzword. But a friction-free experience can make onboarding so much better. From the customer’s standpoint, onboarding should be simple and painless. Customers may find it difficult to navigate the product if onboarding is not smooth. Many businesses overlook this when they first begin.

Instead of gathering all data at once, progressive data profiling should be explored to capture just relevant data. Don’t try to invade their personal space. To obtain greater outcomes, build a relationship built on trust and value. Direct users to the most important releases and features. Ascertain that the product receives the attention you desire. The better the activation and onboarding, the more you talk about the benefit and less about the technicalities. Also, if you need to gather important data from the user, you can do so via the lifetime cycle of the product via gamification.

Incorporate action throughout your user onboarding process.

The next step in your user onboarding process is to figure out how you’ll showcase your product’s major features to your users. It’s advisable to employ a function-oriented user onboarding strategy for most products.

Carrying out at least one, if not all, of the app’s primary actions is the quickest approach to excite your users and teach them the basics of the app. These steps should be broken down into small, manageable chunks. Making people follow other users or save photographs they like is one example. If at all possible, make the procedure enjoyable for your users, since this will have a positive reinforcing impact.

Speak in the user’s language.

The user onboarding process will go much more easily if you speak in their language. What you’re saying not only sticks in the user’s memory faster, but it also connects with them on a more personal and emotional level. But we’re not just talking about words here; we’re also talking about the substance of your user onboarding funnel as a whole.

Use basic phrase forms, visuals, sounds, animations, and interactions to elicit an emotional response from the user, no matter how little. If your app is sophisticated, it would be appropriate to use eloquent and professional language. Wordplays of well-known words may sometimes be quite effective in igniting interest. That takes us to the significance of individuality!

Analyze, analyze, and analyze some more.

You should watch your customers’ behaviors and analyze their use habits to build a precise onboarding experience for them. Create event-based funnels to see where your users hit a roadblock and abandon your site without becoming a customer. A strong onboarding solution will aid them in this endeavor, but it is important to check the data regularly to implement changes and improve conversion.

Consider establishing user goals for your onboarding process.

It’s time to take action if you already know what your website or digital application’s users are up against. Create a user onboarding flow that demonstrates the value you offer. Encourage new users by assigning them a task or goal to complete. Try to recreate the same experience in your onboarding sequence by understanding what made your past clients enjoy your product.

Create something for your users to play around with.

It’s so important to tell the user how many steps that can expect and how the process will work, so that data can be collected on their expectations and reaction to how long-winded onboarding may be. Many individuals are uninterested in following a lengthy, multi-step lesson. As a result, throughout the onboarding process, you should allow your consumers to check out some of the product’s capabilities. Focus on the user rather than the product during the onboarding process.

Focus on the user rather than the product during the onboarding process. How can your product help the user be more productive in their job and communication? What role does your product play in this? Consider how you can take the user’s needs into account during the onboarding process.

Make use of your empty states.

There will be functionalities without any data when a consumer first logs into their portal. Fill in the blanks with instructional and practical information that explains the feature, demonstrates its usefulness, and encourages people to use it.

An in-app planner with the copy “Schedule meetings with your team in seconds” is an example. “Build email sequences to send to your audience with the push of a button,” for example, says an autoresponder function.

Make things interactive.

If you look at most user onboarding for consumer apps, the walkthroughs are usually highly interactive. This will really grasp the attention and interest of the user. Teaching your consumers how to utilize and derive value from your product is the most crucial element of the onboarding process. Allowing clients to utilize the product and learn by doing is the greatest approach to teach them. An interactive walkthrough is similar to feature callouts in that it appears as the user completes one action to teach them how to complete the next. As a result, make sure to provide contextual suggestions that explain how to execute a task.

Take the time to experiment and iterate.

Onboarding isn’t something you do once and then forget about. Not only will your product features and personalities evolve over time, but your ¡Aha! moment sequencing may not be appropriate at first.

For example, you could discover that employing feature X leads to higher activation and adoption rates than using feature Y. It’s not always easy to optimize your onboarding process. Experimentation is required. You may utilize statistics on walkthrough usage to figure out where people lose interest and do tests to test your theories. Because, like everything else in product development, ongoing improvement is the key to a great onboarding experience. Just as well, your team should focus on iteration and discovery of opportunities and solutions, as well as optimizing the current experience.

Take advantage of last-minute registrations.

Non-committal consumers may prefer this strategy since it allows them to join up just when they have a clear understanding of your product. First, based on what’s ideal for the individual product, your product provides one or two of the correct onboarding steps stated above. The user can then decide whether or not to register.

The type of onboarding you utilize is highly dependent on the sort of product you have. A guided assignment process can be a smart option if your product is of the “note” or “to-do list” sort, due to the relative simplicity of your product. If your app is more detail-oriented, such as photo-editing software with several functions, you may want to take a more in-depth educational approach. Can’t make up your mind? You can employ a variety of onboarding techniques.

How Uruit Can Help Before the Onboarding Process

Do you want to develop a digital product that users will love? Are you finding the process of digital product development to be too challenging with your existing workforce, resources, and time? If so, you’re certainly not alone. Many businesses and organizations aren’t quite equipped enough to take on a major digital application project. In many cases, it’s better and more efficient to outsource. This is where Uruit can come in and take on the challenges your teams are facing.

We understand that user onboarding is not an easy process, but the conversion capabilities onboarding can offer are extremely valuable. We want to help you create the right digital product that converts, and we’ll also focus on onboarding processes for you. Get in touch with Uruit today to learn more about our service offering.

Michel Hauzeur

Michel Hauzeur

Michel Hauzeur is the Head of Product at Uruit. He has more than ten years of experience working on products and technology, applying concepts of product management, service design, and continuous discovery that allows companies through the identification of opportunities achieve their desired outcomes.

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