A Guide to Onboarding UX

A Guide to Onboarding UX

This article walks you through different user onboardings.

Different types of onboarding

  • The Nickel Tour: Once the user has launched an app for the first time, they are presented with a few quick screens outlining the value of the app and/or some basics on how to get around.
  • Coach Marks, Tooltips, and Guidestones: Simple UI devices that draw attention to areas of interaction, buttons, or the location of menus help alert the user to useful elements in an app or site.
  • Guided Task Completion: This is a method for prompting users to interact with the product in a series of steps.

When to Onboard Users

  • Out of the Box Onboarding. First impressions really matter and this is the most critical moment to get right
  • Progressive Onboarding. This technique is designed not to leave users out to dry once they’ve completed the out-of-box onboarding flow.
  • New Feature Onboarding. This is a bit of a mix of new user and progressive onboarding

Onboarding UX Best Practices and Tips

  • Understand Your User. Look at the personas the team has developed and decide what makes sense to them. Balance qualitative user research with metrics that will help illuminate issues in your onboarding experience.
  • Tie Onboarding to Value for the User. Use the benefits introduction onboarding to remind users why your app or service is the best to meet a specific need.
  • Make It Quick and Painless. “The main thing you need to know about instructions is that no one is going to read them—at least not until after repeated attempts at ‘muddling through’ have failed.”
  • Make It Repeatable. Don’t forget to give users a way back into any guides or walkthroughs you’ve shown them.
  • Don’t Get Too Personal. Long forms that ask too many questions are user bounce machines.
  • Don’t Rely on Tutorials to Cover for Bad UX. Remember: even with onboarding, your app or website should still make sense and be as clear as possible. Onboarding is scaffolding, not a crutch for bad design.
Walkme, Appcues, Nickelled

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