7 New User Onboarding Best Practices - 2024

Gaurav Rawat
July 2, 2024
14 mins

TL;DR

In 2024, following onboarding best practices is key to your app’s success. A smooth and engaging onboarding process can increase your customer retention by 50%. Most users—90% of them—will stick with your app if they enjoy their first experience. On the other hand, a confusing start can push away nearly 75% of potential users. 

By incorporating fun, personalized elements from the outset, you set the stage for a rewarding journey that encourages users to return, making them feel at home and valued in their interactions with your app or website. 

Let’s explore onboarding best practices that keep users engaged and encourage return visits.

#1 Onboarding Best Practices: Personalized Welcome Messages 

Personalized welcome messages go beyond a simple "Hello" to make new users feel uniquely welcomed. By tailoring the message to each user, you show that you value them as individuals and understand their specific needs.

Why Are Personalized Messages Important?

Personalized messages significantly improve user engagement and retention rates. They create an immediate connection, making users feel that they are more than just another number. According to research by Epsilon, 80% of consumers are more likely to make a purchase from a brand that provides personalized experiences. This initial engagement can lead to increased user satisfaction and loyalty.

Examples of Personalized Welcome Messages

Example 1: 

Email: Hi Sarah, welcome to FitnessPlus! We're excited to have you onboard. Start your fitness journey by exploring our personalized workout plans designed just for you. If you have any questions along the way, our support team is here to help. Happy exercising!

Example 2: In-App Welcome Pop-up

Welcome, Alex! We're glad you've joined Fashionista. As a fashion enthusiast, you might enjoy browsing our latest collections. Check out our style quiz to discover personalized recommendations tailored to your taste. Enjoy your shopping experience!

Nudge platform helps make your onboarding process seamless and intuitive, so why not give it a try? Book a free demo!

Tips on Creating Effective Welcome Messages

  • Use the User's Name: Always include the user's name to create a personal connection.
  • Leverage User Data: Utilize information collected during sign-up to address specific interests or goals.
  • Provide Immediate Value: Highlight a feature or benefit that is relevant to the user’s needs.
  • Include Clear Next Steps: Guide users on what to do next, such as setting up their profile or exploring a key feature.
  • Follow-up: Send a follow-up message a few days later to check in and offer additional assistance or tips.

By implementing personalized welcome messages, you can significantly enhance the initial user experience, making users feel valued and more likely to engage with your app.

#2 Clear and Simple User Guides

A core onboarding best practice is keeping it simple, as Leonardo da Vinci once highlighted "Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication." This rings especially true when it comes to onboarding new users in your app. Clear and simple user guides are crucial for helping newcomers navigate your platform effectively. 

When users find straightforward instructions readily accessible, they're more likely to engage deeply and use your app to its fullest potential. By ensuring the onboarding process is both intuitive and welcoming, you set the stage for increased user retention and satisfaction, making their first experience with your app not just a step but a leap towards long-term engagement.

Importance of User-Friendly Guides

Did you know that 90% of people will stop using an app or leave a website if they encounter poor performance? User-friendly guides can make all the difference, significantly reducing the learning curve for new users. 

By minimizing confusion and frustration, these guides enable users to quickly and efficiently find the answers they need, enhancing their overall experience and keeping them engaged. This is why providing clear, accessible instructions from the start is key to retaining users and ensuring they make the most of your app or website.

Types of Guides

  1. Text Guides:
    • Detailed written instructions that cover various features of the app.
    • Best for users who prefer reading and can follow step-by-step processes at their own pace.
    • You can use Nudge’s step-by-step guide or walkthrough feature, which is a written guide explaining how to set up things.
  2. Video Guides:
    • Visual walkthroughs that demonstrate app features and functionalities.
    • Ideal for visual learners and can effectively show complex processes.
    • A short video tutorial on creating and analyzing customer engagement reports. You can create one easily by using Nudge’s stories and video products.
  3. Interactive Guides:
    • In-app guides that lead users through features in real time.
    • Highly effective as they allow users to learn by doing.
    • Say, for instance, Instagram! An interactive tour highlighting key features and guiding users through initial setup.

How to Create Clear and Simple Guides

  • Focus on Key Features: Start with the most important features that new users need to know.
  • Use Simple Language: Avoid technical jargon. Use straightforward, easy-to-understand language.
  • Break Down Steps: Divide tasks into small, manageable steps to make the process less overwhelming.
  • Include Visuals: Use screenshots, diagrams, or videos to complement written instructions.
  • Provide Examples: Show practical examples that users can relate to, such as setting up a specific type of campaign in Nudge. 
  • Offer Multiple Formats: Cater to different learning styles by providing text, video, and interactive guides.

#3 Interactive Tutorials

Interactive tutorials are one of the onboarding best practices, especially for engaging new users by allowing them to learn through hands-on experience. These tutorials guide users through essential features and functionalities, making the onboarding process more intuitive and enjoyable.

Benefits of Interactive Tutorials

Interactive tutorials offer several advantages:

  • Immediate Engagement: Users start using the app right away, which helps them understand its value quickly.
  • Enhanced Learning: Hands-on experience is more effective than passive learning methods.
  • Reduced Frustration: Users receive real-time guidance, minimizing confusion and errors.

These interactive elements are vital components of modern onboarding best practices.

Examples of Effective Interactive Tutorials

  1. Feature Walkthrough:
    • A step-by-step guide that introduces users to key features as they use them.
  2. A walkthrough that guides users through setting up their first customer engagement campaign, highlighting each step and providing tips along the way.
  1. Task-Based Tutorials:
    • Tutorials that focus on specific tasks, helping users achieve particular goals.
    • An interactive guide that shows users how to analyze engagement metrics, with prompts and explanations for each action.
  2. Contextual Help:
    • Tips and hints that appear as users navigate the app, offering guidance when they need it.
    • Contextual help that explains different sections of the analytics dashboard as the user hovers over them.

Tips for Designing Engaging Tutorials

  • Keep It Simple: Focus on one feature or task at a time to avoid overwhelming users.
  • Use Clear Instructions: Provide concise and straightforward directions.
  • Incorporate Visual Cues: Use highlights, arrows, and tooltips to draw attention to important elements.
  • Allow Skipping: Give users the option to skip tutorials if they prefer to explore on their own.
  • Track Progress: Show users their progress through the tutorial to keep them motivated.

#4 Onboarding Checklists

Utilizing checklists is among the essential onboarding best practices for ensuring thorough user engagement. Imagine you're packing for a trip. You wouldn't want to forget anything important, right? That's where a checklist comes in handy. It keeps you organized and ensures you've got everything you need. Well, onboarding checklists work the same way but for getting to know a new app or tool.

Importance of Onboarding Checklists:

  • Stay Organized: Helps users keep track of what they've done and what's left to do.
  • Ensure Completion: Ensures users don't miss any important steps during onboarding.
  • Reduce Overwhelm: Breaking down the onboarding process into smaller tasks makes it feel more manageable.

Examples of Effective Onboarding Checklists:

Welcome Steps: Setting up your personal preferences, browsing popular content, etc. Basic Tasks: Making a purchase, customizing your profile, etc.
Advanced Features: Subscribing to premium services, participating in community forums, etc.

Tips for Creating Useful Checklists:

  • Prioritize: Start with the most important tasks users need to complete first.
  • Be Clear: Use simple language and concise instructions.
  • Visualize Progress: Show users how far they've come and what's next.
  • Offer Assistance: Include links to help resources or support if users get stuck.

Think of it like a roadmap that guides users through the onboarding journey, ensuring they reach their destination smoothly. 

#5 In-App Messaging and Support.

Imagine you're exploring a new city, and whenever you have a question or need directions, there's always someone nearby to help. In-app messaging and support do the same thing but for navigating a new app or software.

Example screenshot of in-app message

Benefits of In-App Messaging and Support:

  • Instant Assistance: Get help right where you need it, without leaving the app.
  • Faster Problem Resolution: Quickly resolve any issues or questions users may have.
  • Enhanced User Experience: Providing support within the app keeps users engaged and satisfied.

Examples of Effective In-App Support:

  1. Live Chat: Instant messaging with a support agent for real-time assistance.
  2. Help Articles: Access to a knowledge base of FAQs and troubleshooting guides.
  3. Tutorial Videos: Short videos demonstrating how to use specific features or solve common problems.

Tips for Integrating Support into the App:

  • Accessible Placement: Make support options easy to find within the app's interface.
  • Contextual Assistance: Offer relevant help based on the user's current actions or location within the app.
  • Personalized Responses: Tailor support interactions to the user's specific needs or concerns.
  • Feedback Loop: Encourage users to provide feedback on the support experience to continually improve.

Think of in-app messaging and support as having a helpful guide right beside you as you explore the app, ready to assist whenever you need it. 

#6 Gamification Elements.

Imagine learning a new game where you earn points, badges, and rewards as you progress. Gamification brings that same excitement and motivation to the onboarding process of apps and software.

Challenges- One of the Gamification feature example 

Explanation of Gamification in Onboarding: Gamification is like turning learning into a game. It adds fun elements like challenges, rewards, and competition to make the onboarding experience more enjoyable and engaging.

Benefits of Using Gamification:

  • Increased Motivation: Users feel motivated to complete tasks and explore features to earn rewards.
  • Enhanced Learning: Gamified elements make learning feel like play, improving information retention.
  • Community Building: Leaderboards and social features encourage interaction and friendly competition among users.

Examples and Tips for Implementing Gamification:

  1. Progress Bars: Visual indicators show users how far they've progressed in the onboarding process.
  2. Badges and Achievements: Reward users for completing tasks or reaching milestones with virtual badges or achievements.
  3. Challenges and Quests: Present users with challenges or quests to complete, with rewards for successful completion.
  4. Leaderboards: Show users where they rank compared to others, fostering a sense of competition and achievement.

Tips for Implementing Gamification:

  • Align with Goals: Ensure gamified elements support the overall onboarding objectives and user goals.
  • Keep it Balanced: Balance challenges and rewards to maintain user engagement without overwhelming them.
  • Provide Feedback: Give users feedback on their progress and achievements to reinforce positive behavior.
  • Iterate and Improve: Continuously evaluate and adjust gamified elements based on user feedback and performance data.

#7 Continuous Onboarding Updates.

Imagine you're learning a new dance, and as you get better, you learn new moves to keep improving. Continuous onboarding updates work similarly—they evolve the onboarding process to keep it fresh and effective as the app grows and changes.

Need for Continuous Improvement

  • Adapt to Changes: Updates ensure the onboarding process stays relevant as the app evolves with new features and improvements.
  • Address Feedback: Incorporating user feedback helps refine the onboarding experience based on real user experiences and preferences.
  • Stay Competitive: Regular updates keep the onboarding process competitive, offering users a better experience compared to other apps.

Incorporate Nudge’s feedback and survey features to continually improve your onboarding process based on user insights. 

Examples of Updating Onboarding Processes:

  1. New Feature Introductions: Update onboarding materials to include explanations and tutorials for newly added features.
  2. Streamlined Flows: Refine onboarding flows based on user feedback to make them smoother and more intuitive.
  3. Improved Guidance: Enhance tutorials and guides to address common user questions or areas of confusion.

Tips for Keeping the Onboarding Process Fresh and Effective:

  • Monitor Performance: Track user engagement metrics and feedback to identify areas for improvement.
  • Regular Assessments: Conduct regular audits of the onboarding process to identify outdated or ineffective elements.
  • Engage Users: Encourage users to provide feedback on the onboarding experience and use it to inform updates.
  • Iterative Approach: Implement changes incrementally and monitor their impact to ensure they enhance rather than disrupt the user experience.

Also Read: 25 user onboarding examples with best practices

Think of continuous onboarding updates as fine-tuning the onboarding experience to ensure it remains engaging and helpful for users, even as the app evolves over time

Conclusion

As technology continues to evolve and user expectations shift, product and marketing teams need to prioritize user onboarding to ensure their app remains competitive and user-friendly. By investing in a thoughtful and well-executed onboarding experience, developers can set their app up for long-term success and user satisfaction.

So, let's get started implementing these onboarding best practices and create amazing onboarding experiences for your users with Nudge’s features!

Gaurav Rawat
July 2, 2024