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App Onboarding Guide: 10 examples of Best User Onboarding Flows

App Onboarding Guide: 10 examples of Best User Onboarding Flows

Take a look at 10 examples of mobile apps that get user onboarding flows right. Get inspired by proven app onboarding approaches and improve your own.

February 22, 2021 by Jonas Kurzweg

App Onboarding

Everyone has their own approach to user onboarding. Here at UXCam we think it is a good idea to reverse-engineer what successful players are doing and learn from them to create your own app onboarding flow. But first, let's start off with a little introduction.

What is app onboarding?

App onboarding is the process of introducing users to your mobile app, often with the goal of user retention and long-term engagement. It's the critical first impression that app users have with your product. Mobile app onboarding could be a combination of informative welcome pages, login/register, and any other educational screens about the benefit that will get a user onboarded onto the app. If it's well-designed and welcoming, they're likely to continue their journey with your app.

Why is mobile app onboarding important?

Mobile app onboarding is important because it puts the product's value in the front and center. From the second users open your app, the onboarding should get them to their "aha, this is what I needed!" moment faster and drive app retention. The onboarding process usually answers questions like:

  • How can I start using this app?

  • How does this app work?

  • What are the benefits of this app?

  • How does this app solve my problem?

  • What data do I need to give to use this app?

Nowadays, users have to login to use an app. This process should be as simple and straightforward as possible while being friendly.

Is app onboarding necessary?

App onboarding creates a positive user experience and contributes to user retention, leading to app success. An engaging and seamless onboarding experience keeps users interested in your app and coming back.

What is mobile onboarding flow?

The onboarding flow is the sequence of steps that new or existing users take when they open your product. An example of a flow includes a welcome page, two informational splash screens, and a login and registration page. The mobile app onboarding flow can differ from the flow on a desktop.

Best mobile app onboarding flow examples

Let’s look at some app onboarding examples — 10 apps that get user onboarding flows right.

Contents

    LinkedIn User Onboarding Flow

    LinkedIn — a professional social network — has a 740+ million user base from over 200 countries.

    The LinkedIn app has a consistent user onboarding flow across different devices, meaning that regardless of whichever mobile device you choose to use, you have the same user experience.

    When you download the LinkedIn app and open it, you see a simple message: “Make the most of your professional life.” This gives you a hint of what the app is about.

    You can swipe through the onboarding screens to learn about the benefits of using LinkedIn.

    This app has a progressive onboarding flow where the app guides you into setting up your profile.

    Onboarding flow examples

    As you log in, LinkedIn welcomes you with a personalized message.

    This divides the new user onboarding into 4 stages:

    1. Complete your personal information.

    2. Receive email confirmation.

    3. Follow LinkedIn groups and thought leaders.

    4. Get suggestions of people to add to your professional network.

    You might also be interested in: How to solve usability issues with filters

    App Onboarding examples

    After you finish setting up your profile, you are taken to the main app page.

    LinkedIn divides the main app page into two sections. First, a menu section with customizable tabs; then, a page feed with the message: “Nice! You are all set”, which brings a human touch to the app.


    Tip: If the user is a repeat customer, personalize your welcome screen for deeper user engagement and make the experience more memorable. Check out our FREE guide to user-focused app onboarding.


    Instagram App Onboarding Flow

    Instagram — the most used photo-sharing app — provides an easy-to-navigate onboarding experience.

    It allows you to sign up either with your email ID or with your Facebook account.

    instagram onboarding

    Facebook then uses the power of its social network to do the work for you and provide you with prefilled form fields. It also suggests friends that already use Instagram. This creates FOMO: fear of missing out. FOMO serves as a motivation trigger to complete the onboarding flow.

    Instagram gives you the option to follow celebrities and other public figures — chances are that these suggestions are based on your Facebook friends.

    onboarding flow instagram

    Instagram is a great app with a perfect example of how to create FOMO to push users to register. Not to prey on your anxiety, but if you aren't analyzing your app's onboarding, you really are missing out.

    SoundCloud In-App Onboarding Flow

    SoundCloud is a popular music social network app. It allows you to sign up using your email address, Facebook account, Apple ID, or Google ID.

    Note that the email field is highlighted the least because it’s likely to have a lower conversion rate due to the increased friction. How can you identify your most popular options? With funnels, of course, but also with heatmaps.

    soundcloud onboarding flow

    After its one-step sign-up process, SoundCloud asks you to continue by accepting the terms and conditions of the app.

    Afterwards, it asks you for your age and gender — possibly to gain a better understanding of audience demographics.

    mobile onboarding examples

    Next, the app asks for consent to track what you do within it. In turn, it offers you personalized ads. Then you are done and can enter the main page.

    SoundCloud does not bother explaining the benefits or functionality of its app — instead, you can immediately start exploring music.

    This is great onboarding because the UX is self-explanatory and SoundCloud gets users to the aha moment as fast as possible.

    soundcloud aha-moment

    The aha moment occurs when the user experiences the value of an app for the first time. Get users to the aha moment as fast as possible!

    On the main app page, you can follow music based on playlists. Given its minimalist user interface design, users with any background can explore the app to search for music, follow users or stream their own audio or podcast.

    Wise Mobile User Onboarding Flow

    Wise enables you to transfer money abroad easily and quickly with their low-cost transfers. In a perfect example of "show don't tell", the Wise welcome screen enables visitors to check out their rates before logging in or signing up.

    wise app onboarding flow

    This new feature for non-logged in users was only release in the past 6 months. The low rates that Wise offers is one of their main selling points, so it puts the value of their app front and center of the onboarding process.

    If that doesn't convince you of the benefits of the app, they've got tons of welcome screens that remind you of exactly why you downloaded this app. Unlike PayPal, Wise also gives the option of choosing what type of account you'd like to open, business or personal.

    Considering money transfers overseas is a common feature that small businesses need, they're really speaking to their target audience.


    To get an in-depth analysis of PayPal vs Wise, access our app analysis for free. See over 30 screenshots of the app experience of these financial apps.


    If you want to effectively monitor your onboarding, start a free trial for our analytics platform UXCam.

    MyFitnessPal App Onboarding Flow

    MyFitnessPal is a calorie-counting and diet plan app to help you gain, maintain or lose weight. This app has a nice onboarding experience, particularly considering the amount of features it has.

    After letting you sign up with Facebook or email, the app guides you to set your weight goal.

    Let’s say your goal is to gain weight. The app will ask you about your height, current weight and your desired weight so it knows how much you want to put on.

    The only hiccup in user onboarding takes place when the app asks you to fill in your user name and password, even though you already signed up using Facebook.

    After you have set up your goal, MyFitnessPal has a step-by-step guide to get you acquainted with the functionalities of the app. You then fill in your daily diet and how much water you consume, and you’re all set to start tracking your fitness.

    Myfitnesspal User Onboarding Flow

    Typically, apps should be simple to use with little to no instruction. But what about when they offer more complicated features that you can’t pick up that easily?

    Holding your user’s hand to show them around is a good approach. MyFitnessPal is a good example of using progressive onboarding combined with function-oriented onboarding.

    Binance User Onboarding Flow

    Binance - the cryptocurrency trading platform, make it possible for users to view the play around with the app before completing KYC (know your customer).

    Binance App Onboarding

    As many finance app fans will know, the KYC process is a bit of a pain: waiting in virtual line, having your documents physically available, and of course, tilting your ID up and down till the shiny thing shows. So letting users check out the app before going through this process really considered their journey.

    With just your phone number and email address, you can view the different markets, check out different currencies, and the news associated with them, see limited functions of features, read a beginners guide and other educational content.

    Not to mention, users can also view videos on how to buy and sell on the app. The onboarding is designed for people who are both new to the app and the industry.

    Strava App Onboarding Flow

    Strava — a social networking site for athletes and cyclists — helps track your runs and rides through GPS. With over 55 million users, Strava is quick to onboard them.

    Strava onboarding top 10 User Onboarding Flow

    It allows users to either sign up via Facebook, Google or email. When you sign up, it directs you to a page where you can import your Facebook contacts or search for users by name.

    The next onboarding screen, after following people, directly asks you to begin to use the app. It encourages you to start an activity like running or riding, and after that, you are on your own to check out the rest of the functionalities.

    Their approach is presenting you with an easy and relevant task with a tidy and simplistic UI.

    Tinder Mobile Application Onboarding Flow

    Tinder — a location-based dating and social discovery application — is another app with a great onboarding experience.

    The app facilitates communication between mutually interested users. Once users have matched, they are offered the option to chat. It uses Facebook to sign you up, and then you’re all set.

    With its simple use of UI, whenever you stumble upon an app feature for the first time the app explains it to you with a pop-up message.

    Within seconds you will be using the app as if you had been on it for ages.


    There's more to Tinder's onboarding, and you can read all about it in our free app analysis.


    Expensify Mobile App Onboarding Flow

    Expensify is an app that helps you track, manage and report your expenses. This financial app has a user onboarding flow we can get behind.

    Before signing up, the screen tries to communicate the benefits of the app to the prospects.

    Extensify onboarding top 10 User Onboarding Flow

    The signup process of Expensify is the simplest of any app.

    Just provide your email address, and you can later set the password from an email that will be sent to you.

    The app has a clear message and CTA, letting you know what to do. The first time that you use it, Expensify will guide you with pop-up messages.

    The rest of the experience of using the app is self-explanatory. It also does not impose much on the app user on any given page, but rather keeps it simple by only exploring one idea per page.

    Hootsuite App Onboarding Flow

    A social media management platform, Hootsuite allows you to manage all your social media from one place. It lets you sign up via Google, Twitter, Facebook or email.

    Once you are signed in, the app asks you to connect the social media accounts that you want to manage through it. After only two steps, you are ready to use the app.

    How can I improve my onboarding flow?

    There are many ways to improve your onboarding flow, starting with monitoring it closely. You can use session, user, and funnel analysis that provides insights into the drop-offs during onboarding or any other part of the journey (e.g. search flow, browsing flow, checkout flow). Monitoring make it easier to find and fix bottlenecks, know where and why users churn, and understand what actions get users where.

    You can try UXCam for free without a credit card to improve your onboarding flow. Use funnel analytics, heatmaps, and session recordings to see why users aren't making it through their onboarding journey.

    You might also be interested in 4 Actionable Tips on App Onboarding by David Jones.

    How do I onboard customers onto my app?

    1. Frontload the value. When users open the app, have a page that reminds them of why they downloaded it. Keep this short, sweet, and easy to read.

    2. Collect essential information only. When setting up the sign up / registration process, try to be as swift as possible if registration MUST be at the beginning of the app. It's likely the user will have to go in and out of the app for security protocols e.g., checking their email, Sms notification, push notification or Whatsapp confirmation. At this stage, don't ask for too much like access to contacts or sending invitations.

    3. Keep instructions simple and concise. If using welcome screens, try to make the steps easy like pay, click, go. Keep the page as visual as possible and avoid lengthy text.

    4. Request permission. Once the person is already onboarded onto the app and registered, you can begin to request permission to contacts or other information absolutely necessary to use the app. e.g. if it is a scanning app, asking for access to the camera seems reasonable registration.

    5. Make it easy to skip steps if the user doesn't have to register to view the benefits of the app. It's a positive user experience if someone wants to view the products on a shopping app before having to give up their personal information. Opening an app and being able to see the value immediately often leads to a positive experience.

    Mobile app onboarding best practices

    1. Track your onboarding funnels to see why users are dropping off of the app onboarding process. This is the first step of hypothesizing whether your onboarding flow is too challenging e.g. password creation is difficult.

    2. User micro copy to guide users through the experience and to add personality to pages. If you've got a page that takes a few seconds longer to load than usual, share fun facts related to your product to make the time pass by faster. When users are choosing their login name or password, give them helpful hints and tips to increase the success of their registration.

    3. Collection information without friction. The faster users can login and activate their account without frustration, the more likely they are to stay with your app. AB test whether it's better to login with a social account or an email account. Test different flows to figure out what works best for your customers.

    You might also be interested in:

    Onboarding Examples: 8 Great Flows 2022

    3 Hidden Secrets for Tracking Mobile App Onboarding

    9 Key Lessons from ‘The Elements of User Onboarding

    5 Ways to Boost In-App Engagement Metrics

    How Does LinkedIn Onboard New Users?

    Jonas Kurzweg
    AUTHOR

    Jonas Kurzweg

    UX, marketing & product nerd. Coffee enthusiast. Working at UXCam. Leave me comments if you have any!

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