9 ways to enhance product experience through app onboarding
Written by
Mariam Hazrat

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9 ways to enhance product experience through app onboarding

Published : December 8, 2021

By the time your users blink, they’ve given your product a Pass or a Fail. Unfortunately, the common adage, don’t judge a book by its cover, does not hold in today’s fast-paced, short-attention-span tech world. That is why there is a need to build engaging, sticky product experiences starting at the onboarding journey.

About one in five users quit using a mobile app after engaging with it once. If the app fails to provide value to the user during onboarding, all the relentless effort in building a great app goes in vain. Think of app onboarding as a quick preview, the movie trailer before the film’s premiere. It should say enough about the product to make the user aware of its relevance and do a lot more to keep them engaged.

A successful app onboarding experience becomes the quickest route to introduce the benefits of your product and the value it provides to the user. It’s a surefire way to enhance product experience right from the start. It reduces the time-to-value, activates users, and helps increase customer lifetime value.

Let’s look at the ten possible ways of integrating an enhanced product experience in the user’s app onboarding journey.

1. Product walkthrough/tours

Imagine you are at a mall. You know precisely what you are looking for and head to the mall layout map to find the location of different stores you plan to visit. That’s what an app walkthrough is also about. The user has some idea about what they want. The app onboarding is like a map guiding users to the key sections and features of the app in the most relevant way possible.

The nudge approach is instrumental in bringing the relevant information about the product to the user who has downloaded the app and is figuring its usefulness. Contextual nudges ensure that users stay on track and get introduced to relevant features and information about the app.

Tooltips are an excellent nudge technique that explains the core product features to the user. A sequence of tool-tips introducing relevant features, suggesting users what to do next, makes for a seamless onboarding experience. It helps users with login options, first-time promo codes, profile setup, adding funds, setting location, which further helps reduce the activation time.

2.  Feature visibility based on usage

While nudges come in handy to get users started on the app, product analytics give insights into personalizing the entire app experience. Analyzing the actions of a user (based on events like add to cart, page views, interaction/engagement with any specific feature) to trigger real-time nudges that suggest the next best step for the user. It adds to an overall better product experience right at the start of a user’s journey.

Take, for instance, GradeUp, one of India’s largest exam preparation platforms. Faced with low feature adoption and onboarding issues, our no-code product experience solution helped Gradeup personalize links for pages, contextually nudge users, and surface the right content for each user.

Gradeup can now promote new, relevant courses for each user segment by displaying a beacon in subjects where new material is available.

 To get more details on Gradeup’s growth journey with Netcore checkout the detailed case study: https://netcorecloud.com/success-story/gradeup/

3.  Identifying potential drop-off points

An onboarding flow doesn’t just cater to first-time users of your product. It should continuously guide users depending on the user’s specific needs and interests. Creating user flows can help identify potential drop-off points for frictionless onboarding and extensive engagement and experience of the product.

Even though it can be tricky to get it right, the best onboarding flows are goal-driven and always put the users first. Goal-oriented app onboarding focuses on realizing your users’ goals while identifying in-product actions around which to create the most efficient onboarding. A clearly defined onboarding flow makes it easier for users to access the features they want without getting too overwhelmed. This flow based on user goals helps you identify the possible user churn points. Mandatory sign-up forms, too many steps in the sign-up process, leaving users on the app with zero guidance could be potential drop-off points for users.

Airbnb is one of many touchstone examples of perfect onboarding flows. The vacation lodging company leverages a benefits-oriented process that helps visitors drive maximum benefits from the app. It integrates well into the user’s life with its “one screen, one concept” approach and presents the value proposition so that users instantly know their way around the app. The chances of users dropping off in the onboarding journey become much less.

4.  Make onboarding engaging with personalization

The onboarding need not be just another mechanized part of an app experience. A one-size-fits-all kind of approach will hardly create a ripple for the product and its features. Personalized onboarding experiences are user-centric and rely on data provided by the user when they first sign up. Peppering this data subsequently throughout the user journey makes them feel more connected to your product. It simplifies onboarding and makes users feel like the app is designed specifically for them.

The internet’s largest boutique Etsy creates an engaging onboarding experience with laser-focused personalization. As soon as the user downloads their app, Etsy nudges them to sign in, after which it suggests users save items while browsing the app. The company cleverly deploys nudges to encourage shoppers to build a list of their favourite items to quickly analyze the data and suggest “Editor Picks” in a hyper-personalized way.

5. Put up progress bars and checklists 

The use of checklists and progress bars during app onboarding is a tested method of reinforcing a positive aspect of human psychology: our need to complete things. We are likely to remember these things and are better known as the Zeigarnik effect. A checklist is one way of memorizing the tasks at hand for completion. In app onboarding, often pre-checking items make it possible for the user to see how close they are to completion even though they would have just begun. Such visual cues define the next logical steps through clear and compelling tooltips for new users and steer the onboarding to completion.

A primary use case of this would be a tool-tip saying, ‘You’re just a step away from completing your profile.’ Such nudges coupled with visual cues of progress reduce onboarding friction and add to the superior product experience.

6. Segment Users

Creating a personalized onboarding experience should not be a pipe dream for apps. User segmentation can help companies send timely promotions, show relevant products and nudge customers to take the next logical step. In fact, 77% of customers have chosen, recommended, or paid more for a brand that provides a personalized customer experience (Report). 

Deploying nudges to target user segments takes the onboarding experience a notch higher. Deploying walkthroughs based on what a user clicks on or based on user activities/events is an excellent way to deliver a product experience that leads to quicker funnel conversions.

For instance, you may have two onboarding flows depending on what a user clicks. There will be a specific sequence of nudges educating users on the next steps for users who have opted for the onboarding flow. 

Now, for those users who haven’t opted for the onboarding – you can nudge them as they navigate through the app. These nudges would be based on the real-time actions taken by users. If a user is hovering on a specific feature/button, you could trigger a nudge that would ideally encourage them to click on it.

The real-time no-code segmentation helps monetize upon user actions and cooks the perfect product experience for them.

7. Say no to blank screens

One standard error is leaving a blank screen during app onboarding for new users. Seeing an empty feed is unappealing and worse than some random things that are of no interest. The complete lack of response (blank screen) or a tone-deaf one does not augur well for the product. It is the shortest route to make a user lose total interest. Take advantage of the blank screen by prompting the next steps or including a quick note to help the user get started.

Empty states on the app are an excellent place to encourage users to take action. A good way out of such a situation is what Pinterest does. The user sees other accounts on the screen right after signing up, thereby offering ways of engaging with the product. It is a slick way of getting the user involved through recommendations and suggested actions while appearing light-hearted and cheerful.

8.   Lead with a product-led growth strategy

Many apps in today’s online market are vying for the attention of the same set of users. The most exceptional product features of the yester years are no longer exciting – they are expected. So, how do you set your product apart?

When features, functionality, and pricing are more or less the same, customers begin to consider “other things” while deciding. Building a product that sells itself is necessary to stand out from the rest—the tech-savvy users of today demand products that are easy to use, highly intuitive, more accessible.

With the help of contextual nudges, apps can help users navigate across the product and to those sections that increase user retention. To make it sweeter, when the customer gets a real-time sense of the product right at onboarding and sees how it fulfils their needs, it becomes one successful pitch of the product placed seamlessly at the time of app onboarding.

9. Test the onboarding flow constantly 

The onboarding process has to be a dynamic one where the product experience is constantly optimized. One effective way of doing it is through split A/B testing. Testing app onboarding flows, types of nudges implemented, the sequence of those nudges and multiple such aspects help eliminate all the guesswork out of the onboarding process. 

Dive deeper into app onboarding practices here: https://netcorecloud.com/ebook/best-practices-for-app-onboarding/


App onboarding is no longer a simple signup moment for the user. It is your first interaction with the user and a vital part of the user experience – so make it count. An incredible onboarding experience is short, personalized, and frictionless. With a no-code tool that helps create interactive onboarding flows, tooltips, in-app interactive walkthroughs, and progression checklists, you can ensure a superior product experience, all while tracking metrics to understand your app’s onboarding effectiveness. Chat with us if you are excited to implement winning onboarding journeys that drive amazing product experiences.

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Written By: Mariam Hazrat