What Does Good App
Onboarding Look Like?
Get inspired by onboarding from apps
Why is onboarding so important for apps?
“A poor onboarding experience makes every part of a product company work harder:
marketing teams have to acquire more and more visitors to keep filling a leaky funnel, and
sales & support teams have to spend their days hand-holding confused signups instead of
scaling things out for the whole user base.
That pulls resources away from the product itself, resulting in slower growth, missed
opportunities, and competitors passing you by.”
Samuel Hulick, UX Designer & App Onboarding Expert
Gilt | Retail eCommerce
Onboarding doesn’t have to be a deep dive--for a new user, just the highlights are often a better call. In just 3 screens, Gilt covers the
essentials (along with suggested actions) to engage this first time. Out of these 3 screen, one is dedicated to the push notification
request--and since push can increase engagement up to 88%, that’s a good call. Gilt dedicates space to clarifying why push is good for
the user, so they’re more likely to allow them.
Shake Shack | Restaurants
So we know we just said to try to minimize the number of screens used in your experience. But here, the design and copy are so simple
and direct that it never becomes overwhelming, and it’s clear that you can exit the experience whenever you want. Each illustration
clearly depicts the point made, too--no generic stock photography here.
Audible | Media/Entertainment
Audible proves that onboarding doesn’t have to take over the full screen. The next two are smaller messages that directly point out the
two core actions that Audible users take: Selecting a book and adding channels to their Following tab for easy access later. Everything
else users can discover on their own--they’re on as key to maintain user engagement.
Trello | B2B
Trello’s onboarding is efficient, and clear on what kind of value you’re getting. Even though you’ll need an account to use the Trello app,
the onboarding experience addresses form abandonment by communicating the value of the app to the user first. You can sign in or
create the account at any time, but in 4 screens you know what Trello can do, with the same branding that reassures you that you’re in
Spotify | Media + Entertainment
Spotify’s onboarding works for 2 key reasons:
1. They highlight their number one value prop right on the first screen: you can listen to music, free. From there, they highlight all the
features that enhance this key value.
2. It aligns perfectly with their brand, highlighting rich color photography (that ties perfectly with the copy) and creating a modern,
Airbnb | Travel
In this onboarding experience, Airbnb demonstrates how well they understand their audience: people looking for something different
(and a bit more aspirational) than a traditional hotel or rental experience--but still want creating that experience to be seamless. Is that
beautiful imagery a distraction? No way. Even if the user skims the text, the images and headlines serve as inspiration for the next trip.
Spring | Retail/eCommerce (pt. 1)
Spring offers a huge selection of styles and brands for men and women. They recently re-launched their app to offer users a more
directed experience, and make the experience of finding items less daunting. Spring’s onboarding takes you through a simple, 3 step
survey that helps ensure that in your first encounter with the app, you discover products you like. (Continued on the next slide.)
Spring | Retail/Commerce (pt. 2)
Spring wraps up their onboarding with what may be the most important part of the experience: the request to send push notifications.
When users allow them, our data team found that apps see up to 88% better engagement! The official iOS notification by itself is jarring,
and doesn’t let brands clarify the value of push to the user. Spring’s screen prior resolves that issue, and makes it more likely that users
will allow push.
So, what should you focus on?
● What do you do? Why do your users care? A surprising number of users aren’t clear as to what an app does, and
how it benefits them. Reiterate that right at the start of your onboarding, and save confusion (and a higher likelihood of
● Make the path clear. Every app here indicates where you are in the onboarding process. Clarity around the number of
steps means users are less likely to abandon your onboarding experience before completion.
● If you use images, make sure they clearly align with your message. Images represent an opportunity to
communicate just as much as the copy in your experience.
● Don’t force users to create an account or log in right away. Reinforce your value first.
● Keep it simple. (That doesn’t necessarily mean short.) Your app might be jam-packed with functionality, but your
onboarding should focus on:
○ The actions users tend to care about most.
○ Or what they should do first in order to feel successful.
Create app marketing your users can’t resist.
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