User onboarding is one of the most crucial stages in an app’s user journey. It is essentially the first point of contact after a user signs up and therefore, it is vital for making a solid first impression.

Wait, what exactly is user onboarding again?

Before we delve into the reasons why user onboarding is super important for any app, let’s quickly define what it actually is. User onboarding is “the process of actively guiding users to find new value in your product or service,” according to OptinMonster.

You can view it as a bridge between acquiring new users and turning them into highly engaged ones. Alternatively, think of user onboarding as a small conversion funnel for new signups on their way to becoming heartily paying loyal users.

Why is it needed?

It may be challenging for new users to intuitively know how to navigate and get the most from your app, no matter how well you design it. That’s where user onboarding makes its value known.

Onboarding helps familiarize users with your app and allows them to quickly get started. It enables businesses to strategically communicate with new users, revealing the app’s value right from the start and ultimately, facilitating positive user experience.

Still not convinced? Here are three big reasons why you need user onboarding even if your app has stellar UX:

It makes good UX great

Your app may be extremely intuitive and user-friendly when you dive deep into it, but first-time users might not be able to appreciate that.

Don’t think of user onboarding as a confession that your app’s UX is poor because the user requires “assistance” in order to engage with the app in a meaningful way. That is simply not the case.

All major league apps the likes of Gmail, Facebook, and Tinder have a minimalist user onboarding that enhances their UX, not ruin it.

It sets up user expectations

People often install a bunch of competing apps in the same category and then choose one based on their first impressions. Consequently, the first few seconds of interaction that a new user has

with your app are pivotal.

A sublime user onboarding process that instantly shows the app’s value will make the user feel “Aha! I totally get it. This is what I needed the whole time.” This aha moment is what you want your users to experience as soon as possible.

Potential users shouldn’t have to guess or even think to understand what your app is going to offer once they start using it. In a matter of seconds, they should be able to understand what you have to offer and why they can’t miss it.

It makes your app look more professional

Another benefit that deserves attention is that a well-designed user onboarding process makes your app look much more polished.

When you log into an app for the first time and go through some thoughtfully designed swipeable screens that crisply explain what lies in store for you, you can’t help but feel that the app was designed by a competent company and not a bunch of amateur developers.

It allows you to neatly explain the advanced features

If your app is a bit complicated and has various advanced features that need further explanation, you can have a user onboarding process split into multiple phases. Use one phase for the initial onboarding and other phases later, when they are needed.

Because even with the most flawless UX design, there will always be users who would appreciate a helping hand in navigating your app.

Final thoughts

Designing an appealing first-time user experience is integral to your app’s success and increasing long-term user engagement.

Users would easily lose interest if your app if it is confusing and tricky to use when they open it for the first time. An elegant onboarding process helps make the first-time user transition as seamless as possible, mitigating potential pain points.

User onboarding is your chance to create a stellar first impression on newly signed-up users. So, commit to an intuitive and useful user onboarding regardless of how great you think your app’s UX is.