Customer onboarding is a key contributor to finding success with mobile app development. Great customer onboarding not only lowers user abandonment rates but can also help encourage long-term success metrics like user retention and user lifetime value.?
To increase user retention, mobile apps need to offer a seamless user experience, which involves design components, customer delight, and a great deal of value. This post describes the best practices for creating an effective user onboarding experience that will turn initial downloads into highly engaged users.
Lengthy forms are a bad approach to user onboarding, especially on mobile where screen sizes are smaller. The ideal scenario is to allow users to sign-up or login using a single form, like a social media account. However, some apps will require more information, for example, a service-based app with a user base of existing customers.
In cases like these, you want to gather only the information that is essential. If that is a lot of information, consider breaking the process into more than one screen. Below is an example of an application for a large home services company that splits the sign-up process.
The overall goal is to minimize user input. For many people, typing on a small screen is an uncomfortable experience, and in many cases, it’s often error-prone, which adds to the frustration. Here are several best practices for simplifying sign-up and login fields:?
Source: Smashing Magazine
Source: Smashing Magazine
Source: Think With Google
Feedback serves multiple purposes in mobile app onboarding, most commonly to indicate errors or successes in the validation process. It can also be used through animations that act as positive reinforcement for completing interactions.
In the case below, the feedback indicates to the user that their password fails to meet the criteria, and makes it easy for the user to understand why. Error notifications should always be clear and contextual so the user knows what they’ve done wrong. This helps reduce failures and makes it easier for users to navigate the app.
Whatever the cause, error handling has a huge impact on UX. Poor error handling paired with unclear error messages can also cause frustration and cause a user to abandon an app. In contrast to the example above, examine the error-state screen from Spotify below. This screen does nothing to convey context or reason and does nothing to help the user fix the problem.?
You should never assume a user is tech-savvy enough to figure out errors. Always tell users what’s wrong in plain and concise language. Every error message should indicate:
If you’re looking for more information, Smashing Magazine provides a helpful article on How to Design Error States for Mobile Apps.?
There are three reasons to use animations in a mobile onboarding experience:
Using animation in mobile app onboarding should always be used with one of these purposes in mind and should be used sparingly. They should draw attention, but not irritate the user. Examples of good practice include subtle animations that show something is undiscovered or the use of pagination dots to show progress or load times.
Consider breaking your retention rate down into three sections. Doing this will help you identify why your users aren’t sticking with your app. ?
Do users engage with the product more than once? If they aren’t, it’s likely that they found it hard to use, or the mobile app onboarding process is confusing.
Clearbridge’s UX/UI Designer Shelly Jameer explains, “Onboarding is important for retaining users because if users don’t understand how and why they are using an app, they simply won’t end up using it.”
Establish a pattern of usage. Are users moving through the mobile app properly? Identify any barriers in the user flow that prevent users from achieving their goals.
Are your users relying on your app as a valuable, indispensable tool? How is it a part of their life?
One of the most effective ways to get users to rely on the product as an indispensable tool is simply to get them using it more than once with a seamless mobile app onboarding process.
The onboarding experience is something that needs to be given more attention if companies want to increase overall user retention. One of the biggest concerns for companies developing an app is retention rates. Acquisition and downloads are crucial, however, true mobile app success is measured by high retention rates because they show that users find continuous value using your app. The user should be the center of all onboarding decisions so make sure you are collecting feedback and modifying your onboarding process to suit the needs of your users. Following these best practices will help you create a highly effective onboarding process that will not only drive user engagement but enhance the product’s overall UX design.