How not to lose users during app onboarding

There are different ways to onboard your user - The main goal should be to make it as easy as possible for the users to start with your app.

App Onboarding Process

According to Harvard Researcher Amy Cuddy, trust is the most important when making a first impression. 

Consider this when you design onboarding. Your users have very limited storage space on their smartphones.

If your app manages to stay on it: Congratulations, you became part of their life.

If your app makes a bad first impression –> it’s gone in seconds.

In the first part, you’ve learned what onboarding is and why it is important.

In the second part, we go a step further and take a more detailed look at app onboarding.

There are different ways to onboard your user.

It doesn’t matter which option you choose for your onboarding process and if you decide for one option or a combination of them – the main goal should be to make it as easy as possible for the users to start with your app.

Benefit-oriented: Explaining the core value

Take in mind that your users have downloaded your app to solve a problem.

The first screen of your onboarding process should explain what kind of problem your app solves and what the users can expect from your app.

It doesn’t explicitly explain how to use the app.

This can be the point where you convince the users to stay with your app – or the point where the users recognize that your app is not the right choice.

It doesn’t matter what your users decide for.

The onboarding process will give them a clear explanation of the app’s core values and prevent disappointment.

Benefit oriented onboarding

Function-oriented: Explaining the functionality

Another way to onboard your users is to introduce them to the functionalities of your app.

This technique is a great choice when you have complex features.

You highlight the key functionalities, how they work and when to use them.

However, don’t explain the obvious.

One example of this are icons and symbols.

You can assume that your users have seen these symbols and icons before.

Moreover, you can be sure that they’ve already learned the functionality of them and that you don’t have to explain it again.

Function oriented onboarding

Progressive Onboarding: A guided tour through the app

This way to onboard your users focus on a guided tour through the app.

During this tour, you should show your users the most important features by letting him interact with your app.

Teach your users step-by-step how to get started, how to use the main functionalities and where the most important features are placed.

The progressive onboarding is a great approach if you have hidden functionalities, hidden gestures, intricate workflows or multiple sections in your app.

Progressive Onboarding


The most important seconds for your app are the seconds in which your onboarding takes place in.

The seconds where you help them to understand what the benefits and/or functionalities are and where you can convince them to stay with your app.

There are three different ways to onboard your users:

  • Benefit-oriented onboarding
  • Function-oriented onboarding
  • Progressive onboarding

You can decide on one of these ways or combine them.

BUT you should make is short, easy, precise and focused! Don’t overload your user with information. You also can use tools like UXCam to monitor your onboarding.

And by the way: Don’t forget to spend time with the design.

The onboarding process is the first point your users get in touch with your app. It’s up to you which picture they get from your app.

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How not to lose users during app onboarding