25 user onboarding examples with best practices

Gaurav Rawat
March 11, 2024
11 mins


Many companies focus on increasing signups to grow their user base. However, optimizing the user onboarding experience is a much better strategy – as it helps you save and get ROI on your user acquisition costs.

The process of guiding users through the initial steps of using a product sets the tone for their entire experience. As a result, it significantly impacts user engagement and product retention – which further helps you improve your product revenues.

If you’re just beginning to design your user onboarding flow or looking to optimize it – we have shared 25 user onboarding examples to help you understand how others are implementing it.

Why should you study the best user onboarding examples for optimizing your product experience?

Knowing how successful product-led companies are making their best first impression will help you understand best practices in your industry.

First impressions matter for your product

Today’s consumers have many choices and conveniences to solve the simplest of problems they might be facing. The first interaction with your product resembles a digital handshake, where users form their initial impressions. It helps you develop a sense of trust which becomes a deciding factor in whether users choose to continue exploring your product or abandon it for alternatives.

It helps reduce usage friction

It’s very common for users to feel impatient when they are signing up for a product. The best examples of user onboarding excel in reducing friction. They focus on making it easy for users to navigate through the initial steps seamlessly. Doing so minimizes the risk of users abandoning the product due to frustration.

Helps showcase product value to users

As your product grows, you may also end up modifying your product’s concept based on feedback from customers. Your user onboarding flows should align with such product optimizations. You need to make sure what you’re promising in the signup process is delivered inside the product. 

Exceptional onboarding examples showcase effective techniques for highlighting the product's unique offerings early in the user journey. By doing so, users quickly grasp the benefits and are more likely to become long-term advocates for the product.

Encourage users to stay

The best user onboarding examples incorporate strategies that attract users initially and encourage them to stick. A well-crafted onboarding experience creates a connection between what users want and how the product solves it for them. Doing so increases the likelihood that users will continue using and deriving value from it over time.

Adapt to the diversity of users

Many products have designed user onboarding to adapt to diverse user demographics, use cases, and preferences. They also A/B test different screens, product copy, or steps in the flow to understand what makes the audience continue using the product. This inclusivity ensures that the onboarding process resonates with a broad audience, maximizing its effectiveness.

What do the best user onboarding flows have in common?

Here is a quick checklist for designing the best user onboarding workflows for your product:

1. Clearly define value propositions

Your onboarding steps should try as much as possible to clearly define what your product does for the user. You can take it a step further by identifying what your newly signed-up users are looking for and showing them how they can get it via your product.

For example, Airbnb's onboarding process effectively communicates the platform's value by showcasing unique and appealing accommodation options right from the start. Users immediately understand that Airbnb offers a diverse and personalized lodging experience.

2. Share information progressively

Overwhelming users with information on their first experience with your product can make them confused. Hence, share bite-sized information with each step of onboarding to make it easy to digest.

Slack is a good example that employs progressive disclosure to guide users through its features step by step. Instead of bombarding users with all its functionalities at once, Slack introduces key features progressively. Doing so helps users understand and absorb each aspect of it.

3. Include interactive elements

Getting started to use a product usually makes users impatient. Afterall, no one likes spending time filling out form fields to create profiles or read instructions. For this, consider including interactive elements at the right places throughout your user onboarding flow. These elements shouldn’t distract your users but should make their onboarding process less tedious.

Nudge helps you design interactive onboarding tours via its various in-product nudge options.

For example, Duolingo's onboarding features interactive language lessons that not only educate users on how to use the product but also make the learning process enjoyable. Users are actively engaged in language exercises, while also reinforcing the product's core value.

4. Include a feedback mechanism for users

Your users should feel that they are making good progress in navigating your product during the onboarding process. Whether it's a congratulatory message, a progress bar, or in-app notifications acknowledging completed tasks, feedback mechanisms give users a sense of accomplishment. This further encourages them to explore more product features.

For example, LinkedIn's onboarding includes a chance for the user to create their profile. This not only guides users through the onboarding process but also motivates them to reach 100% profile completion. Doing so helps LinkedIn enable its users to create a comprehensive and well-curated profile.

5. Add social proof

Consider adding social proofs like product store ratings, case studies of results from successful customers, testimonials, etc. This not only validates the product's value but also creates a sense of community. Users will feel more confident in their decision to explore your product further.

For example, YNAB mentions a positive user testimonial that highlights how their product worked for them and the results achieved. Such a copy will further motivate users to continue signing up for the product.

6. Implement a gamification strategy

Gamification is a powerful product strategy to improve your user experience and retention. It uses game design principles to make complex or overwhelming tasks easier to navigate and learn.

You can explore Nudge’s gamification features to help you design and implement game design elements for your product.

For example, by using gamification in fintech, it is possible to simplify something as complicated as ‘finance’ and make it accessible to non-financial background users. Many modern banking products today are designed to reduce the anxiety of new users during onboarding by keeping it simple. Robinhood is a popular stock marketplace app that is known for gamifying and engaging in the stock market via its product. Their onboarding includes a ‘free stock’ as a reward for following their onboarding process.

7. Focus on action rather than information

One way to onboard users is to ask them for their preferences or use cases and then create an interactive onboarding for that. Rather than presenting users with a list of features and functionalities, provide contextual guidance for specific tasks. This approach encourages users to engage with the product immediately, fostering a sense of accomplishment and empowerment.

For example, Asana, a project management tool, employs a "hands-on" approach in its onboarding. Instead of bombarding users with exhaustive information about its features, Asana prompts users to create a sample project during onboarding. This not only showcases the product's functionality but also provides users with a tangible experience of how Asana can streamline their project management tasks.

8. Keep it short and clear

If you add more number of user onboarding steps, then it will discourage the user from completing them. Try to design a user onboarding flow of 4 to 5 screens that highlight the most relevant and existing features of your product. More screens will increase their impatience and time to value.

For example, Twitter's onboarding is concise and to the point. Users are quickly guided through the process of setting up an account and following users. There isn’t much cognitive load which makes the platform accessible even for first-time users.

9. Ensure your onboarding flow is mobile-friendly

Your product should be designed with proper responsiveness across iOS and Android devices. Mobile users often seek immediate gratification. Well-designed and concise onboarding aligns with their expectations for a seamless and efficient experience.

For example, WhatsApp's onboarding is very concise, requiring users to verify their phone numbers quickly. This mobile-friendly approach caters to users who prefer instant messaging without elaborate setup processes.

10. Multi-channel onboarding options

Having a different onboarding on a mobile product versus a web or tablet can confuse users. Whether users access the product on mobile, web, or other devices, a consistent and cohesive onboarding experience across all channels ensures a seamless transition for users.

For example, Netflix provides a multi-channel onboarding experience. It allows users to seamlessly switch between devices while maintaining their watch history and preferences. This ensures a consistent experience regardless of the platform.

15 best user onboarding examples for your product

Now, let’s explore various user onboarding examples in detail for your inspiration.

1. Calm product asks for user preferences

Calm is a meditation product that helps its users practice guided meditation. During its onboarding, it asks for the user’s goals like managing stress, relaxation, improving sleep, etc. Then, they directly take you to an interactive flow that helps you achieve those goals via the product’s features. 

2. Spotify helps with personalized music discovery

Spotify's onboarding personalizes the experience by asking users about their music preferences upfront. This data is then used to curate personalized playlists and recommendations, creating an immediate connection to the product's value.

3. Lucidchart lets you compare plans

Lucidchart is a diagram creation software that helps its users design beautiful charts, drawings, or workflows. For its onboarding post-signing up, it showcases the various pricing plans to help users understand different value propositions based on features and prices.

Once you sign it, it further personalizes the experience by letting you perform a task via interactive onboarding. You can choose to start with an example, watch a video, or explore on your way.

4. Anchor lets you create a podcast instantly

Anchor is a popular podcast creation platform that helps its creators use various tools to build and manage a podcast show. For its onboarding, it has only 4 screens, which allows you to instantly sign up without much hindrance with other tasks. Then, it further personalizes your onboarding by asking your goal of using the product, and each has its workflow that helps you quickly get started.

For example, if you choose, ‘I want to make a new podcast’, it will directly take you to the podcast episode builder screen.

5. Snapchat jumps in the creation of wow moments for users

Snapchat is a popular social media platform targeted at teens and younger audiences. For its onboarding, it focuses on showcasing its unique camera features. It will prompt you to create your avatar, thus helping users to directly start engaging with the product’s features. It also asks you to invite or connect with existing friends, hence, helping them push to the product’s core value proposition of connecting with people via its onboarding.

6. Loom instantly connects you with your teams

Loom is a screen and video recording tool designed for collaboration purposes. During its onboarding after signing up, it asks you about your use case and also mentions how your chosen persona uses Loom.

Next, it automatically finds your team and prompts you to join instantly. This directly pushes the users to start collaborating with their teams and not waste time searching for it. Further, it also gives you the option to create a new workspace instead.

7. MEWConnect uses interactive animation to reduce cognitive load

MyEtherWallet is a crypto wallet product that helps its users securely save, track, and manage their cryptocurrencies. As a part of its onboarding process, it uses an interactive screen that displays various steps of onboarding that act like a progress bar. Such interaction keeps the user engaged where they know what is happening while also how far they are from completing the onboarding flow.

‘All Done’ and ‘Start using my crypto wallet’ also reinforce positive sentiment in the user.

8. Sparktoro lets you know usage limits before signing up

Sparktoro is an audience research tool for marketers, product, and sales professionals. Before signing up, it shares details about how you can use Sparktoro for free and its usage limits. Here, by doing so it is maintaining transparency while also assuring users of a free plan and duration.

Further, you are shown a video by the founder which you can watch before exploring the platform. You can also start a guided tour to know its features and workarounds.

9. Idagio provides user testimonials

Idagio is a music streaming service that focuses on classical music. As you scroll through its onboarding flow, it showcases a couple of user testimonials as well. These testimonials focus on the product’s core value propositions and how they align with the community of classical music lovers.

10. Grammarly provides live writing demo

Grammarly is a popular writing software that uses progressive disclosure. Here, each screen will have only one task and will not contain many options, thus helping users focus. 

Furthermore, Grammarly provides real-time writing assistance during onboarding. Users see immediate suggestions and corrections, showcasing the product's value and helping users understand how it enhances their writing.

11. Blinkist asks you for the download source

Although it may seem like you’re increasing screens here, Blinkist asks its users to tell them the source of the download. This helps you to understand which marketing channels are working for your company so that you can increase your marketing efforts or spending accordingly. 

It also provides its users with ‘Skip’ and ‘Other’ options which they can use to quickly get started with the product. The ‘Other’ option doesn’t prompt you to enter the source, thus avoiding any typing task for the user.

12. Otter uses coachmarks for its onboarding tutorial

Otter is a recording and transcription software. It prompts its signed-up user with an in-product message to get started with a guided tutorial for its main value proposition – which is to record voice and transcribe.

Then, it uses in-app nudges like coachmarks to provide a guided walkthrough of its recording features. Note how it's only 3 steps, which further helps make the user feel less overwhelmed to enter such walkthroughs.

Explore Nudge to implement such interactive coachmarks or in-app messages via its in-app nudges feature. In a single platform, you can design your onboarding workflow, execute it for your product, and track results.

13. Shazam provides a music discovery demo

Shazam is a music, movies, and TV Show discovery product that people can use to identify music from its vast library of tunes. Shazam's onboarding features a music discovery demo. Users experience the product's core functionality by identifying songs in their environment, immediately showcasing the product's value in music discovery.

14. Jumbo quickly jumps to product usage

Jumbo is a privacy assistant that helps its users deal with identity thefts and product usage privacy concerns. As soon as you log in, it jumps to helping its users perform the task of auditing a product of their choice.

Throughout this process, it uses interactive animations which makes this otherwise serious and anxiety-driven task a bit lighter and fun. It also shares interesting facts related to privacy concerns to educate users as they onboard the product. Doing so helps build trust and showcase a brand that understands the user’s problem while also stating the need for their product.

15. Tinder helps you create a profile

Tinder is a leading dating app where users swipe nearby profiles as per their interests for dating. As a part of its onboarding process, it makes users create the first step required to use their product – which is to create a complete and engaging profile.

You can notice how after asking permission for location and notification, it indeed showcases its privacy policy, which you can also personalize. This helps you project a sense of transparency and arrest any drop-offs due to privacy concerns.

We can help you implement the best user onboarding practices

Nudge is an all-in-one platform that you can use to create engaging and conversion-focused user onboarding experiences. You can use a combination of our walkthroughs, checklists, in-app messages, coachmarks, and more to design unique user experiences. We also help you track the results of your onboarding workflows to help optimize them further – book a demo to learn more.

Gaurav Rawat
March 11, 2024