6 user onboarding best practices for web apps

1. Use what you already know about the user

A good product should track and save any information which could be used later for a better experience or for optimization reports.
For example, with onboardX you can personalize the guides you create using texts like {name} or {anything}.


2. Have a Call to action

Just pointing users attention to different sections doesn’t mean much. You have to ask the user to do an action immediately after just finished reading because if he already spent the time to read your explanations is almost certain he will spend the time to do something. And if he does something is closer to understanding how your product could help him.

3. A great UX doesn’t mean you don’t need onboarding

Google, Facebook, Pinterest, Airbnb have probably the best UX folks from web industry but they know the UX is used mainly for the big picture and general experience but not for understanding the product and getting the user to AHA moment. You don’t have to be ashamed if you altering your UX (which you already paid for) with smart guides or other onboarding scenarios.
A good UX is different than a good onboarding.


4. Don’t be afraid to copy from big guys

Because ideas have sex, you need to see a lot of onboarding processes to be able to invent new ones for your product. Samuel Hulick on his website useronboard.com is doing cool onboarding processes reviews for a lot of big guys and it should be on your inspiration list.

5. Develop personas and don’t assume that all people are the same

For example, when a new user joins onboardX we save the source of the traffic and based on that we could segment and personalize their onboarding process with words/images they’re familiar.


A few weeks ago I posted an answer on Quora and based on information I know about the question (it was very specific to an industry), everyone who will register based on that link, it will be surprised in the onboarding process with industry specific words.

6. Step by step

A big mistake is trying to present everything about your product in just one step (usually a 4-5 minute “how to” video or one-page long text article).


We stay more than 10-12 years in school because we need to train our brain to learn. Just reading (or watching) is not enough, we have to think and make connections on our own to be able to really understand. Each person has its own learning rhythm and different levels of experience. You have to identify them and use this for a custom onboarding.

If you are in charge for onboarding for a product and you have other ideas to share, please leave a comment.




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