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User Onboarding: Tips to hook the first-time users with the product

User Onboarding is one of the important stages on the user experience journey as first impressions can influence the decision to continue using or leave the product.

User Onboarding: Tips to hook the first-time users with the product

With an effective User Onboarding journey, it does not take much time and effort for users to discover (and possibly lose patience if they do not quickly find what they want) every nook and cranny of the product. Instead, they can focus on using the product to solve their problem right away. This leads to the increased retention of the product and meets the product's user conversion goals.

For unprecedented innovative products, or digital products serving users in business, the user onboarding flow can be more differentiated and complex than conventional products for end users/individuals.

Let's explore some user experience design tips with GEEK Up to make the User Onboarding process optimal and highly effective.

Empathizing with users and the customers’ journey

To increase the effectiveness of the User Onboarding process, the team needs to have a deep understanding of the overall picture of users and their journey during using the product. Before starting to design the experience, the design team can focus on empathizing with the user, sketching an empathy map and user persona that fully represent the needs, goals, motivations, and messages that will influence their decisions.

At GEEK Up, the team conducts this process in 3 stages:

  1. Collecting insight: Tasks may include aligning onboarding goals with the business due to different needs of each business for users. Therefore it is necessary to consult closely to ensure that users will not be "crammed" too much during their journey. Hence, the team will conduct user empathy and experience journeys as well as orient the appropriate types of onboarding (walkthrough, coachmark, guide tour...).
  2. Brainstorming and Proposing solution: the team proposes solutions that ensure concise, clear, and engaging content at every touchpoint. Remember to have skip-and-review options, and a call-to-action (CTA) so that users easily know what their next action should be.
  3. Testing solution & validating assumption: Test the early version of the product to ensure experience flows cover even the most complex edge case scenarios, then fix bugs before practical testing with users to improve other aspects (content, design, flow of experience,...) more smoothly.

Focusing on the most important goal

Don't try to "cram" everything from the first seconds. Let users focus their attention on the single important goal that the team wants them to capture by the end of the User Onboarding process. Be “restrained” and save other great features and benefits of the product when users decide to explore continuously. Focus on building the first impression to help the product win the hearts of users.

A concise and minimal User Onboarding experience flow can make a better impression on users than a cumbersome, frustrating journey.

Providing the option to skip and review

It is not always that users are interested in completing the User Onboarding process in the way the product team wants. They may have used the product before or just want quick access to the desired feature. The usage contexts of users are very diverse. Therefore, the team needs to provide a skip option with instructions so that users can continue the User Onboarding process when needed.

Making every touch point more vivid

In the first time using the product, users may not fully understand the product (and many of them are not interested in learning). Therefore, in addition to familiar approaches like documentation and video tutorials, product teams can build more interactive User Onboarding streams. Gamification of the product discovery flow is also an option worth considering to increase interaction and attract users.

Building a “golden” ending for the journey

Let’s create a flow of experiences that bring a sense of sublimation and lead users to the final destination: the highest value that the product can bring them, in the most impressive way and the shortest time.

An “Aha moment” with a reasonable falling point will make users impressed by the benefits and unique points of the product as well as understand why their life cannot be without this product.

Personalize the user experience

Personalized touchpoints are increasingly important in the experience journey, helping products to be interacted effectively with users, thereby reinforcing their loyalty to the product. Leveraging the collected data and understanding the contexts where users start using the product will help the team optimize personalization on each touchpoint.

At GEEK Up, in some cases, the team may design an onboarding flow for a new user completely different from a registered user or a loyal user.

Do not ignore the checklist for users

Checklists and progress bars contribute to perfecting the user's experience, helping them know where they have been and where they are during the experience journey, what to learn and whether they missed out on any important features.

However, not all digital products are suitable for applying these modules, especially products intended for use by corporate employees. Because these users will participate in the organization's own training session as well as be forced to use the product to get the job done, so they may not care about the onboarding process and content.

Testing and Collecting Insights

After building the User Onboarding experience, the team needs to quickly put it to the test before officially launching into the product. It can be tests (A/B Test, Usability Test), additional modules that help measure user activity, how users interact with the experience flow when using the product.

These activities will provide the necessary data for the team to draw useful insights, understand common usage patterns of users, and detect gaps to be fixed so that users do not find it difficult and turn away from the product. Consequently, the team will have optimal solutions for the User Onboarding experience.

Not wasting direct user feedback

Besides measuring data, collecting and analyzing qualitative user feedback also helps the team understand the real reasons why users do not have a great experience. Thereby, the team gains a more insightful perspective on the aspects to be improved and enhance the product experience.


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