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12 incredible examples of user onboarding

Have you ever downloaded an app or piece of software and thought…now what?!

Far too often, onboarding falls short of what customers expect from businesses. In fact, over 90% of customers feel that the companies they buy from could ‘do betterwhen it comes to onboarding.

It should be easy to start using a new app, product, or service – not difficult. 

When onboarding is difficult – or non-existent! – you may click around a little bit and do some navigation of your own, but, more often than not, you’re probably just going to find something better. 

According to new data, 86% of people say they’d be more likely to stay loyal to a business that invests in onboarding content that welcomes and educates them after they’ve bought.

So, with that in mind, we’re going to take a look at 12 incredible examples of user onboarding to find out why they’re so great and how you can emulate their success for your own product or service. 

12 incredible examples of user onboarding

1. MHA MacIntyre Hudson 

Great onboarding sets customer expectations straight off that bat. And this video from MHA MacIntyre Hudson does just that by explaining to users exactly what to expect when they contact the company for auditing services: 

MHA MacIntyre Hudson provides accountancy, audit, tax and business advisory services to enterprises and individuals in the UK. 

These services are generally considered complicated and bothersome – so a great onboarding video like this one can really set users at ease.

Onboarding videos are an awesome tool because people love to watch videos in order to learn. When asked how they feel companies could improve with regards to onboarding, an impressive 69% of people said that they felt more video should be used.

2. DuoLingo

DuoLingo is a popular language-learning software with over 25 million active monthly users. 

Anyone who has attempted to learn a second language (particularly as an adult) will know how difficult it is not only to make a start, but to keep progressing. 

DuoLingo combats this by onboarding users in a gradual way. Users are asked a couple of questions up front:

The process is fun, simple, and not at all overwhelming. 

After the initial questions, the software offers to help users keep up with their daily goal. This ‘soft onboarding’ gives users the chance to sign up immediately or at a later date:

Even without signing up for an account, users can still access some features of the software. While doing this, users will be regularly prompted to sign up to get full access:

After creating a profile, users also benefit from regular emails that encourage them to keep using the software – no doubt a useful way for DuoLingo to keep their churn rate low:

A particularly interesting feature of DuoLingo’s onboarding is that it remembers when you used the software and sends a prompt email at that same time the next day – increasing your likelihood of using the platform and also acting as a friendly reminder to continue your learning.

3. Instagram 

Instagram is one of the most popular social networking sites around, with about one billion active users, and new users joining all the time. 

The sign-up process is pretty painless:

And users are encouraged to start using the platform as soon as they sign in for the first time. 

As Instagram is a social networking site, the first thing new users are encouraged to do is follow accounts that they’re interested in. To make this easy, Instagram shows new users a list of the most popular accounts that they might appeal to them:

All users need to do is hit the blue ‘follow’ button and their feed will start to populate with posts from the following accounts. 

Instagram then suggests next steps for users to help them get the most out of their account. All of these suggestions are optional, so if users don’t have time to complete all of the steps at once they can come back and continue their onboarding at a later date. 

And that’s it for Instagram onboarding! The popularity of this platform shows that you don’t need to be over-the-top with your onboarding efforts, people will take just as well to simple, clear instructions that help them get off to a running start. 

4. Slack

With over 600,000 organisations using it, and 12 million daily active users, you’ve probably heard of Slack. It’s an instant messaging platform that acts as an alternative to email.

Slack’s onboarding is not only simple, but engaging too. Just take a look at the fun illustrations and witty copy:

The initial set-up is quick, painless, and features some nice animated microinteractions

In just a couple of clicks, anyone can create a Slack workspace and invite their team. Slack uses the information given during the initial onboarding process to create automated message and groups, but these can easily be tweaked later: 

During a user’s first couple of interactions with Slack, they’ll be helped along with little tips and tricks: 

This approach is really great because it gives the user enough information to help them, but isn’t overwhelming or disruptive. 

5. Dropbox

File hosting is a necessity, but it’s not necessarily something that we all enjoy. Uploading and organising files can be a dreaded chore, and Dropbox understands that. 

When new users sign up to Dropbox, they’re able to progress at their own pace. Everything is optional.

Users are invited to take a product tour that covers four important features of the service: adding files, organizing, sharing, and the help centre. 

Each feature is accompanied by a useful gif that shows users exactly what to do:

In addition to this, there’s a ‘Get Started with Dropbox’ PDF available for users to look at any time if they need to refresh their memory. 

6. AirBnB

When AirBnB crashed onto the scene in 2008, it really disrupted the travel industry. And to cause that level of disruption you need to have incredible user onboarding because you’re taking people away from what they know and introducing them to something completely alien. 

Nowadays, AirBnB has around 150 million users from more than 65,000 different cities. So let’s take a look at how they welcome new users.

When you first click on the Sign Up button on the AirBnB site, you’re given a variety of sign up options – so, straight off the bat, it’s easy to get started.

After signing up, users are asked to add more details, like their phone number and a profile photo. AirBnB makes it very clear why they ask for these things, but what’s really great is that you don’t need to do this immediately. 

Everything is skippable, meaning you get started within seconds: 

After clicking the ‘Start Exploring’ button, it’s easy for users to find exactly what they’re looking for. In just three clicks, we were able to view AirBnB’s in New York:

7. Notion

Notion is a workspace that teams can use to write, plan, collaborate, and get organised. It basically blends all of your everyday work apps into one! 

Users simply sign up with their work email and answer one question about their role: 

From there, they can immediately get started with a workspace that can be personalised at any time. 

The Getting Started page invites new users to try different features in order to familiarise themselves with them:

After playing around with these features, users can then explore the rest of the workspace. Each feature has a helpful description that assists users in getting the most out of the software:

8. Calm

Calm is a meditation app to help people get better sleep. 

As soon as new users open the app for the first time, the calming atmosphere of the app is made clear through the branding:

Users are invited to personalise the app to make all recommendations relevant to their goals. Again, the calming colour-scheme helps users feel at ease: 

After answering the initial questions, users are given a personalised home screen with recommendations of things they can do to help them relax:

But the onboarding doesn’t end there! Whenever new users interact with the app, they are given mini tutorials to help them along: 

Similar to DuoLingo, the app also encourages new users to keep opening the app with gentle push notifications:

9. Lumosity

Lumosity is a brain training app that encourages users to play games that challenge their mind and improve their memory. 

Similar to Calm, the onboarding process revolves around creating a personalised user experience:

It also explains the science behind the software and what users can hope to  achieve with the app:

As the games on Lumosity are all about improving cognitive ability, they change daily in order to give users a new challenge. This means that onboarding is a constant task for the app because new games need to be explained before use.

When a user opens a game they’ve never played before they are offered a quick and easy demonstration that helps them to get started. Most of these demonstrations are also interactive, so users can have a go before starting the actual exercise:

10. MyFitnessPal 

Losing weight is tough, and something that a large percentage of the population struggles with. According to research by Kantar, 38% of adults in the UK are ‘trying to lose weight most of the time’. 

So fitness software, like MyFitnessPal needs to have incredible user onboarding in order to encourage users to get started with the app and also to make them want to keep going. 

Onboarding with MyFitnessPal is easy. The app only asks you the necessary questions required to create a unique experience for you: 

The progress bar is useful for letting users know how far through the onboarding process they are.

After entering their personal details, users are instantly presented with a custom plan to help them lose weight:

Then, step-by-step instructions let users know how they can track their calories by selecting the food they ate:

And the portion size:

Throughout the process users are guided with helpful pop up boxes of information:

Overall, MyFitnessPal’s onboarding is clear, simple, and non-intrusive. It makes it easy for users to get started with their app and keep working towards achieving their goal weight! 

11. Natural Cycles

Natural Cycles is the world’s first contraceptive app. So, as an industry pioneer, you can bet that they have some incredible onboarding! 

It starts with a detailed rundown of terms and conditions. As a personal health app, it is important that users understand how to use it correctly and accept the terms of use. These are laid out in a clear and succinct manner: 

After clicking ‘Accept’, the user is invited to enter their name and birthday. No other information is required to get started.

From there, a quick 4-step demo tour begins, allowing users to thoroughly explore the app before committing to purchase: 

The app works by helping users to track their menstrual cycle in order to prevent pregnancy, so it’s extremely important that users know how to correctly use the app and also that they use the app consistently.

After onboarding users, Natural Cycles persuades them to continue tracking with engaging messages of encouragement:

12. Evernote

Evernote is a popular note taking app that helps you to capture and prioritise your ideas, projects, and to-do lists. It currently has over 8 billion notes made by 225 million users

Just like AirBnB, Evernote has an added challenge when it comes to onboarding – breaking the status quo. They need to convince people that using their app is better and easier than using the notepads they already have. 

It starts pretty simply, by allowing you to sign up with your existing Google account or with another email address: 

From there, users are taken directly to an interactive demo – complete with fun animations and a great step-by-step walkthrough: 

Users can choose from a variety of different notes for their first Evernote task – a to-do- list, a project plan, a meeting note, or a blank note. 

There is also a ‘Getting Started’ pop-up that takes users through a more in-depth tour: 

When this starts, users will be prompted on what to click on next by pulsing hotspots like this: 

All of these features ensure that Evernote’s onboarding is really hands on and doesn’t miss a trick! 

Final Thoughts

Incredible onboarding is your way of offering new customers a warm welcome and the first step towards converting them into lifelong users of your product, brand or software. 

And, with 97% of people agreeing the video is an effective tool to welcome and educate new customers, what better way to start than with an onboarding video?

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