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Ways to simplify user onboarding

What are the ingredients for a great user onboarding experience?



In our previous blog post, we discussed why first impressions matter


Since our product updates and changes every day, we’ve made it a habit to review the onboarding process every single month.


We believe that as Klarity Works evolves, so do our users, and so should our onboarding process.


Recently, we asked:


  • What happens once registration is complete and a user steps into our product?


The discussion evolved into further questions:


  • How easy it is for new users to understand the core benefits of Klarity?
  • What core value and benefit are we trying to deliver during onboarding?
  • What is the user journey towards receiving that core value and benefit?
  • What pain points, blockers or friction exists in this journey?


Previously, logging in landed users on their homepage, within their Personal Workspace.


From here, users could explore the product, start creating content and connecting with others.


Basically, they could do anything.


So, where to next?


Before we dive in, let’s take a moment to review what user onboarding is and why it’s important.

What is user onboarding

Onboarding can be compared to waiting for a bus.


You arrive at the bus stop, check the timetable and get a sense of how long you’ll be waiting.


However, remove this timetable and suddenly you are unable to determine what your journey is going to look like – you find yourself without timelines or clear guidance on what bus to get, and your journey becomes much more difficult. 


The timetable is important for many of the same reasons as onboarding: 


  • It confirms that you are in the correct place, to achieve your set goal 
  • It provides you a timeline that you can plan around
  • It gives you clear guidance – removing the guess work


Without timetables, far fewer people would get the bus – and without good onboarding far fewer users would take the time to learn and implement new tools and products into their day to day, regardless of their potential benefit.

(source, Daniel Elizalde)

Good onboarding experiences ensure that your first experience with a new product starts from a supported, informed place.


It can be as simple as a cheery ‘Welcome!’, or as complex as a personalised checklists.


This is where it gets tricky.


We want… to tell users all about how wonderful our product is.


But… onboarding isn’t just the product bragging about itself.


And needless to say, we want… conversions, adoption, retention.


But… onboarding it’s also not what we want to get out of users.


In fact, it’s the other way around.


Onboarding is all about what users want to see and what core value they can get from the product.

Why is user onboarding important

User onboarding is important because it’s a once in a user’s lifecycle moment that can add a lot of value to their experience.


The numbers speak for themselves:


63% of customers report that the onboarding experience affects their decisions on making a purchase.


80% of users say they’ve deleted an app because they didn’t know how to use it.


86% of users say that they would keep buying from companies that employ welcoming and educational onboarding after purchasing.


These statistics are not only relatable, but also really drive home on the importance of proper user onboarding.


Simply put, good user onboarding creates the momentum needed for the user to stay engaged and motivated to continue using your product.


In other words, it’s a process that can jumpstart acquisition, retention, and customer satisfaction.

The 4 types of onboarding

According to CXL, onboarding can be put into 4 different categories:


  1. Benefit-Focused: Explains the 2–3 core benefits and how to achieve that benefit via the site/product/app
  2. Function-Focused: Explains the 2–3 core functions of the site/product/app and how to use them
  3. Doing-Focused: Walks the user through the first or most common actions
  4. Account-Focused: Walks the user through the account/profile creation process, including finding and adding friends or interests


*The exception: All: For particularly complex sites/products/apps, it may be necessary to combine the above four

The Klarity Works approach

Given that Klarity can be used to solve different problems, it was decided that a mix of the above would be the most suitable route.


We kept two things consistent: the ability to hide, and the choice to skip.


As a first interaction with the product, the last thing we wanted to do was force people to sit through something they might not want, or be interested in.


But we also know that life happens, and minds change.


So we’ve also made it so that onboarding can be accessed again after being skipped or cancelled.

Product walkthrough tour

Walkthrough tours are great for onboarding brand new users who don’t know anything about the product.


Let’s break this down further:


One feature or page at a time: the screen orients users around the product while showing where the value is.


The scrim and hotspot highlighting have enough contrast with the interface to get easily noticed.


The copy is entirely focused on value or benefit, rather that a how-to.

Next, a series of tooltips point the users to relevant features, whilst explaining either the value, or benefit of each.


Hotspots are great for pointing out features that otherwise might go unnoticed.


A little bit of contextual help to draw attention whilst following a specific path.


And in line with the onboarding categories, the copy is entirely focused on value, rather than a how-to.

Take the product tour… as many times as you need

We love asking questions, so of course we wondered… as a user, when was the last time we experienced an onboarding flow from beginning to end, without immediately reaching for the ‘Skip’ button?


We have our power-level, admin-type users who typically, are very familiar with this type of software.


We also have our end users, who perhaps might use the product sparingly, returning every once in a while.


Choosing to ‘Skip’ shouldn’t have a permanent consequence.


We devised a simple solution for this: a button that can be clicked anytime in the product, bringing the product tour back on.

Klarity quickstart

Persistent until completion, the Klarity quickstart is a mini to-do list of the top-value in-product experiences. 


For our kinaesthetic users, who prefer learning by doing.


We’ve also made it so that users could select to hide it, or skip it altogether.


Delving into psychology of how we form habits, we explored the neuroscience behind reward.


Essentially, our brains are wired to enjoy tasks that are rewarding – and so we looked to tap into this by ensuring that our onboarding (learning the product) is as enjoyable and rewarding as possible.


Checklists became the obvious, visual answer as they are simple, achieveable and manageable.


Features such as progress bars and checklists encourage progress whilst setting clear expectations.

Gradual engagement

Not just a nod to gamification, gradual engagement breaks down large, overwhelming concepts into smaller, manageable and easily achievable steps.


It helps the users move through the product at their own pace and convenience.


As each task is completed, the checkboxes and component turn gold – celebrating each milestone.

In short, we’ve taken care of the in-product user onboarding so you don’t have to.


However, we like to make data-driven decisions so we can constantly improve and relate our products to user needs – something we will be detailing in a future blog. 


Follow us on Linkedin and Twitter for our follow-up post with the results of our research.


If you’d like to see the full onboarding process for yourself, sign up today.


For any other other questions, feedback or help, or if you’d like a demo of Klarity Works, just get in touch – we’re here to help.

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