A warm onboarding process to quickly engage new users can make or break the success of your product. This is your chance to make a good first impression and introduce users to the value of your product. It’s all about turning new users that are not familiar with your product into activated and engaged users.

So how do you create a meaningful onboarding experience that delivers value and shows users how and why to use your product?

In the article “Welcome, Bienvenido, Willkommen, 欢迎” I discuss the research methodology and design approaches to create a great onboarding experience.  Here’s a preview, and check out the original post on the Headspring UX blog to read my full guide.


The results of our UX research will have an important role in the process of designing a successful onboarding experience. It’s important to ask ourselves:

  • What’s the user’s motivation?
  • What has driven the user to sign up for your app?
  • What is the users task or goal?

The WHY?

Why is this important? Because the onboarding process is very related to the engagement of users, there’s no second chance for a good first impression and we definitely want to avoid the user feeling lost or frustrated because they cannot accomplish their goals.

Types of Onboarding: Explain is good, show is better and do is the best.


The explain method is used by products who solve lots of problems and they have many use cases. Normally they don’t have an onboarding process, however they do provide users a support website or section with videos or articles in order to explain how the product works.

I would not recommend “explain” as a primary method since it only works with users that are very motivated. Explaining how the product works is a great supplement to a good onboarding experience.


The show method might be one step above “Explain” but it still might have some issues. The whole intention of this method is to assist and help users. It’s not to fix the user experience, this should not be a patch.

  • The screen overlay consists of highlighting the functionalities and parts of the user interface. Usually, this includes lots of indicators.
  • The product tour, which is a very common pattern on mobile apps, consists of showing the users a series of slides that highlight the features of an app.
  • The tooltip walkthrough is a contextual method; it consists of showing tooltips to the user that will highlight an action of the user experience. This method is commonly used as a first-time user experience and it is attached to a specific user interface element.


The “do” method is the best way to onboard users. The main idea of this contextual methodology is to encourage helpful actions for the user. Basically, it’s all about offering guidance to the users in their journey while they navigate your product.

Another reason why it’s so important to follow a contextual onboarding approach is that it provides you more scalability. As your product grows you can introduce the changes or new feature updates contextually.


Head over to the Headspring UX blog to read the full post for a deeper dive into great onboarding.


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