App onboarding increases the likelihood of new users becoming loyal customers of your app. Why should you apply onboarding strategies for your mobile app? Simply put, if users don’t understand your app right away, there’s a good chance they’ll never open your app again.
The onboarding process is designing the first impression a user has of your app. Doing it correctly increases the chance of successful user adoption. The onboarding procedure highlights the key benefits and features to reinforce your app’s value. An app’s retention rate increases by 50% with a strong on boarding process making this practice is essential to app success.
Onboarding allows your app to build strong relationships with engaged users. When done poorly or ignored entirely, you risk users not understanding your app through a negative experience that leads them to potentially abandon your app altogether.
So what exactly are the key aspects to a great onboarding experience? Read on to find out the 7 best app onboarding strategies that are guaranteed to keep your users satisfied, informed and coming back for more.
1. Highlight Your Value Proposition
A lot of startups and businesses make the mistake of trying to tell users everything they can about their app, rather than showing how their app offering can improve the user’s life.
People don’t care about features – they care about what they can do with those features. That’s why you should always lead with the value proposition of your app. As previously mentioned, a value proposition is a positioning statement that explains the benefit your app provides for whom and how your app does this uniquely well.
Now I’m not saying that impressive functionality and innovative features aren’t important, but in the long term, showing your users what they can do with those features is what wins them over. Jason Fried, Founder and CEO of Basecamp, said it best:
2. Emphasize Core Features
While your app’s value proposition should always come first for onboarding, your target audience still need to understand the main functions of your app. Showcasing the key features of your app to users will help them follow through with desired actions by utilising highlighted key buttons and callouts.
Remember, don’t go throwing in the kitchen sink when onboarding. Instead, just stick to the core features that demonstrate the value your app provides. Those less-essential-but-really-cool features can always be showcased later with your second, third or fourth app promotion. These additional features can easily be introduced by apps using in-app messages.
One Minute Closer focuses on the key features that users care about in onboarding.
3. Only Ask Users For What You Need
Many apps require messaging permissions or data access in order to provide the most valuable experience. By using permission requests, you can ask users to allow your app to access this data.
When particular data is critical for key app functions, be sure to prompt the user to provide data access. This does not mean you should bombard users with permission requests during the app onboarding process. Research shows that 60% of users have chosen not to install an app after finding out how much personal information the app requested.
The best way to avoid losing potential users is to only use essential permission requests initially. Clearly state why you are asking for access to only these areas of their smartphone and how that information is vital to them getting value from your app. Save ‘nice to have’ permissions for when the potential user is an engaged app consumer.
4. Make It Easy to Sign Up
The sign up process is a can often become a barrier to app adoption, so you need to make sure the signing up to your app is simple, fast and easy.
If possible, you should always give users the option to log in to your app with an existing social media account, such as Facebook or Twitter. Not only do social network options allow users to access your app in one or two clicks, but it also helps them to build trust with your app offering.
Apps that let users log in with Facebook, Google Plus or email. Source: Kiip
To optimise your app user onboarding process, test a variety of login options – do more users prefer to sign up with their email address or via social? Do users prefer to sign up with Facebook or Twitter? Could you get rid of a sign up route all together?
It is also important to experiment with timing. Some apps require users to sign in as soon as the app is launched, even before onboarding begins, while others have more success prompting users to sign up after the onboarding process.
5. Keep It Quick & Don’t Overwhelm Users
Stick to the basics when prioritising your app’s on boarding experience. You don’t want to force users to swipe through countless screens before they even try your app!
Get your point access with app screenshots and illustrations rather than written explanations. As a general rule of thumb, stick to one feature explanation per screen to ensure that users don’t become overwhelmed. It is recommended to include progress indicators as part of your onboarding process.
Progress indicators show how many onboarding screens users need to read through. Source: Life Pulse
Progress indicators are often presented as parallax images or small circle that provide the user with a sense of build-up and movement. These indicators help users understand if they are near the start, middle or end of your app’s introduction.
6. Avoid the Obvious
An efficient app onboarding experience gets to the point. Therefore, you need to trim off any redundant fat to keep the onboarding process as streamlined and quick as possible.
Stating the obvious is a waste of time. App users understand that a camera icon will launch their device’s camera function, while most users will know the type of icons associated with liking and sharing functions, just as long as they’re not too different from the norm.
If you’re not deviating too far from standard design principles, explaining an app’s navigational framework is largely unnecessary.
7. End With a Call-To-Action
To guide users towards the next step to take at the end of your app’s onboarding experience, consider integrating a direct call-to-action (CTA). Prompting users to get immediately involved with your app helps them get excited about the app and grow towards being engaged users.
Mobile Music Streaming Service Spotify implements an effective CTA technique. One look at Spotify’s homepage makes it pretty clear that their goal is to get users to subscribe for a paid premium account, while the CTA for the free sign up option is very much secondary.
Spotify’s homepage features an effective call-to-action. Source: HubSpot
Not only does the headline give this away, but so too does the colouring of the CTA buttons. The ‘Go Premium’ CTA is coloured lime green so it pops off the page. In comparison, the ‘Play Free’ CTA is plain white to blend in with the rest of the page. This contrast is done to draw potential Spotify users to the premium CTA.
So the App Onboarding Process Is Over – What’s Next?
In most cases, users want be able to know ‘everything’ about your app within the onboarding process.
Therefore, it’s important to make resources available to users that allow them to continue learning about your app’s functionality after onboarding. Your most loyal and engaged users will seek out these informative materials, so make sure you have them ready!
What is the onboarding process for your app? How could the onboarding experience your app provides be improved? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!