Five tips for designing your onboarding experience
User Experience & Usability
Think of onboarding as a first date. You’ve spent a lot of time and effort thinking about how you’re going to present yourself and what you’re going to say. You’ve agonised over the copy on your homepage and landing pages, positioning and labelling of sign-up calls to action, descriptive text, imagery…there’s a lot to think through. To successfully onboard customers, all of these elements need to work together to create a clear, concise, and most importantly, enjoyable experience for the user.
There’s a delicate balance that needs to be struck. You want to give your customers just enough information, without bombarding them…keep them interested. You’re speaking to another person and the goal is to help them begin using your product as soon as possible.
Based on our experience of conducting user research and seeing how users respond to onboarding journeys, these are our five tips to consider when designing your experience.
1. Give users a compelling reason
Help users understand the immediate value. Answer the common questions up front and help them get to that “aha!” moment. Why should they part with their hard earned cash and sign up for your product? Well, we’re glad you asked! This example from Hello Fresh shows how clear, up front and to the point messaging can help encourage users to take action. It almost acts to answer the (potential) customers’ question before they’ve asked it and appeals to them by referencing emotions, as well as the practical benefits.
The Just Eat site is also a good example of how a clear call to action is used to begin the onboarding process. An immediate and clear call to action allows users to explore what’s on offer, before committing to sign up. This feels like more of a natural journey for the user, rather than content being “hidden” behind a login.
2. Communicate the company ethos
Copy is key and should be used in a way to help users identify with, and remember your brand. Similarly, carefully consider your imagery as part of your planning from the start. Think about what you want to convey and its relevance to your message and brand.
If you think about onboarding processes that stick in your mind, they often have an element of fun to them. A humorous tone doesn’t suit every brand, but again, remember you are speaking to people and use your messaging to build a relationship with customers.
An example of how this is done well is on the Dollar Shave Club website. The tone is conversational, in keeping with the brand, with a little bit of humour thrown in for good measure. They’ve also used a nice mix of imagery, illustrations and iconography throughout their site.
3. Take the pain out of form pages
Simply put, make it snappy! Streamline form pages and work with the customer to allow them to sign up as soon as possible. Ask for the minimum required information and think carefully about form page interactions and flow. Where relevant, a mix of tabs and buttons may be more appropriate than a series of input fields. This will help to reduce cognitive overload and can have a significant impact on conversion.
Some other tips include:
using one column, not two
setting expectations about the number of steps within the process
visually differentiating key calls to action
using inline validation
avoiding use of CAPTCHAs
reiterating the value of the product
clarifying how you will and will not use customers’ information.
A good example of a signup form page can be seen on the Age UK site. The initial donation options are presented in such a way that users can quickly access options, and very quickly move on to a streamlined form page, where clear information is given on how data will be used.
4. Reinforce the customers’ decision
Make users feel good about their decision. Onboarding doesn’t stop after the user has signed up. You’ve peaked their interest, now to get them to really engage with your product. Think about how they might get the most out of your product and help them along the way.
Consider email communications and how you can now guide them to use your product. Whether it’s a weekly email, future product announcements, quarterly company news, or an annual check-in, your new customer should know how and when they will hear from you.
A common way to do this is by sending a “thank you” page or providing an inline message once they submit the form. After all, they did just stop whatever it was they were doing to voluntarily provide you with their information.
This example from SimplyCook shows the email sent to customers after signup. It reiterates the benefits and helps give the customer some further inspiration on how to use the product.
5. Maintain relationships
Updates on new products, ways of using your product or offers are a good way to keep in touch with customers. Also consider customer retention rather than offers for new customers only. Keeping in touch can help turn customers into power users of your product.
These examples from H&M show some of the communications to their ‘members’ who can access exclusive offers and build up points for every purchase they make.
Adobe also do well at helping turn customers into “power users” with inspirational email content about how to use their products.
As an ongoing strategy, measure and measure again. Keeping track of data will help you to understand what is working and what isn’t, and how you can continue to improve the user experience.
If you’re interested in creating or improving the onboarding process for your product or service, get in touch.