Imagine you are thrust into a new work environment, with no instructions or orientation. Everything, from colleagues to equipment, is unfamiliar. How will you feel? Lost in the woods, disoriented, overwhelmed?
That’s exactly how a new user feels when he opens a new app or digital product for the first time and finds it bereft of proper onboarding. It’s no wonder that 25% of people abandon an app after the first use itself.
Now, envisage this situation:
You enter an app, you are greeted by a warm welcome. Then you are explained how to set up the app’s features and hand-held through the registration process. You tend to feel confident at having hit the ground running. You are eager to explore the app and you may come back to it again and again. That’s how user onboarding helps in boosting user retention.
In this article, you will learn:
- What is user onboarding
- Why is it essential
- How to simplify it
Let’s get started.
What is User Onboarding?
User onboarding is a process where new users are instructed or guided through the product experience. It can be as simple as a greeting pop-up or as complex as configuration workflows. The aim is to deliver value to users from the get-go and reduce drop-offs.
For instance, take a look at Hopper’s onboarding interface. Through a series of clean screens, the flight-booking app conveys its value proposition to first-time users.
Image via Hopper
A super-smooth onboarding experience sets up users for success. Users understand how to apply a product in order to extract maximum value. Let’s understand the other benefits of user onboarding.
Why Is Onboarding Your Users Necessary?
With countless apps available for every possible use case, it’s imperative that your app proves its worth from the outset. Seamless onboarding is one factor that keeps users hooked to your product lest they abandon you in favor of competitors.
Plus, it renders a favorable first impression. It’s likely that users considered your product useful when they first installed it. The onus to prove them right lies on you. If your product’s orientation is rough, customers feel disappointed and dejected. They pre-empt that the future journey will also be bumpy. In anticipation, they leave prematurely, even if your product holds promise.
Last, modern customers like to share their reviews on social media, which has become a conversation driver of sorts. Don’t be surprised if you find your app’s ratings falling and sign-ups dwindling. It’s quite possible customers frustrated by your onboarding ran on aggregator websites. And don’t count on word-of-mouth publicity or referrals at all.
To save yourself from all that trouble, follow the best practices of designing a pleasant onboarding experience.
Tips to Simplify the User OnBoarding Process
The right onboarding experience can boost your revenue, referrals, and customer lifetime value in the long-term. Take a look at some hacks that can simplify your onboarding strategy.
1. Design with a Customer-First Mindset
Getting a user to sign-up doesn’t qualify as a success from a business point of view. What good is earning a sign-up if the user doesn’t eventually convert? For converting people, keep an eye on the right metrics.
Don’t obsess over counting conversions or subscriptions. Focus on nurturing customer relationships. Equip users with tools and knowledge they would need to use your product efficiently. Make everything so simple and painless that they naturally glide towards check-out.
Some onboarding processes end with feedback, which serves no real purpose. The users have barely started using your product. It’s advisable to ask for a product review after they complete one whole app session. This way, they can provide more actionable perspectives.
2. Minimize User Fatigue
The drop-off rate among new users is almost directly proportional to user fatigue that cumbersome onboardings induce. If you ask too much personal data from new customers, they are bound to leave in a huff. You will naturally inject friction into their journeys.
At the same time, gathering customer data is unavoidable to set up processes and preferences. To overcome the hurdle, track usage metrics and collate the findings to draw pertinent insights. Metrics like NPS (net promoter score) can be calibrated later, during product reviews.
To keep onboarding seamless, don’t overwhelm new users with too many questions. Complying with regulatory protocols like GDPR can be attributed to complicated orientation. So, minimize data collection and let users in on the action as soon as possible.
3. Keep Onboarding Flexible
Some users are impatient to start their product journeys right after installation. For them, allow a “skip intro” option. But if your onboarding covers vital product features that all users should be aware of, keep popping reminders to get users to resume the intro.
Break user journeys into small, manageable sprints and guide users to where they are headed. Keep user resources and tools handy in plain sight. Nothing frustrates new users more than if they have to dig through an incomprehensible UX for transactional information.
4. Optimize the Process Consistently
Onboarding should not be an afterthought. You need to plan for it during the product-ideation stage itself. Also, it is not a one-time deal. Depending on the user response to your onboarding mechanism, keep optimizing the process for the best results.
Once customers start using your product regularly, ask them for feedback through email or in-app surveys. You should also solicit improvement suggestions and try to incorporate them into your process on priority. Don’t forget: your products are successful only if they satisfy user intent and expectations.
Ready to Nail Your User Onboarding?
User onboarding is critical to foster customer loyalty, conversions, and retention. Your onboarding needs to be simple and anchored around customer needs. Keep your mantra straightforward: sign up users easily, deliver value quickly.
Are you looking for more tidbits on product development and strategy? Stay tuned to this blog.
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2 thoughts on “How to Simplify User Onboarding for Product Development?”
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