The future of app onboarding is user-centric

And unspecific onboarding will lead to uninstalls

The future of app onboarding is user-centric 1

Have you ever tried to give your granny a new mobile device with a complex to handle app on it?

With a fancy onboarding process and complicated gesture controls?

I don’t want to say that your granny isn’t cool and “on time” but I think she could be deterred.

I’m sure my granny would be!

When you design your onboarding process you have to care about the target audience that uses your app.

Why should you care about your target groups for your onboarding process?

Target Group onboarding gif

Designing your onboarding process is essential for the success of your mobile app!

The onboarding process is the first thing the users get in touch with.

The most important seconds are the first ones in which you present yourself to your users.

If you deter them or don’t fill their preferences or issues you’ve lost them as users.

Examples of mobile app target groups

There are a lot of different people who could use your mobile app. You can separate them in different ways and on different aspects.

One way to do it is to look how used they are to technical devices.

The app beginner

You can find two types of users in this category:

  1. The users who are not comfortable with technical stuff in general.
  2. The users who are not comfortable with your specific (complicated to use) app.

The onboarding process should give them an overview of the functionalities and help them to understand the basic usage of your app.

Keep it simple and don’t overwhelm.

A walkthrough could help to find and understand the features needed to use the app.

Evernote gives a great example of progressive onboarding. It guides the users through every offered function.

Onboarding Evernote
Onboarding Evernote

Strategy to use for these users: progressive onboarding

How to design it: Using fancy control elements is not the best idea.

Explain to your users step by step how your app works.

Just focus on what’s important and helpful.

With a progressive onboarding, you simplify complex workflows.

Moreover, you point out hidden functions and gestures in your app.

The users learns how to use the app correctly.

The advanced users

In this category, you find users which understand most of the common UI and app interactions and elements.

Take a look at the complexity of your app.

If your app is easy to understand and use you don’t need to explain every simple step.

Strategy to use for these users: Progressive-, Benefit- and function-oriented onboarding

How to design it: You can be creative. It’s possible to play around with uncommon gestures, animations, and elements to stand out from the crowd.

The business users

You can expect that this group of users know how to work with technical devices like smartphones.

It’s probable that they understand the common app UI, app interactions and elements, too.

For this target group, it’s helpful to focus on the value you can offer.

Trip.com offers the users a benefit-oriented onboarding process. It clearly communicates the benefits of their app in the headlines.

mobile app onboarding

Timely gives a function-oriented onboarding process.

The focus is on what the user can do with the app, instead of the benefits.

mobile app onboarding

Of course, a combination of both types is possible. Sleepzy uses function-oriented onboarding.

The app shows the users which function it offers.

mobile app onboarding

On closer inspection, it can be seen that there is benefit-oriented onboarding too.

The app describes the function of “sleep sound analysis”.

Strategy to use for these users: function or benefit-oriented onboarding

How to design it: Play around with swiping, moving elements or even with some fancy features during your onboarding process.

Just don’t overdo it, stay serious!

Educational words give the users a more detailed explanation of the benefits they can expect.


That concludes the article – which target group does your app have?

And how do you take this knowledge in consideration for your onboarding?

To find out how your users exactly behave during your onboarding, start a free trial with UXCam!

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