5 Best Mobile App Onboarding Experiences

A key performance indicator of every app is the number of Monthly Active Users (MAU). This metric single-handedly can decide your performance in the App Stores and Play Store. After a user installs your application, they are introduced to the interface, and this is a crucial piece in getting more active users. This process is referred to as onboarding.

In the most basic sense, mobile app onboarding is the process of getting new users to understand and engage with your app enough to keep using it, instead of dropping out after the first use. The onboarding process varies from app to app, and the style adopted by the UX designers depends on the functionalities of the app. Let’s look at five of the best app onboarding experiences, which give the users a seamless and comforting experience:

Slack

One of the youngest billion-dollar startups, Slack, the popular team messaging app has a very smooth onboarding experience with little to no hassle. Slack creatively uses empty states and personalizes the app after each user-defined setting.

Source: Usability Geek
Source: Pinterest

Slack’s onboarding features:

  • The signing up for Slack can be done quickly by entering just your email-id with the workplace URL.
  • The Slack bot is an innovative way of introducing its users to the many features of the app in a non-clumsy and efficient manner.
  • The walkthrough screens are a great example of value-oriented onboarding that builds context around the app revealing its benefits.

Duolingo

The American language platform, Duolingo, adopts the gradual engagement process of onboarding. This tactic lets the users postpone the registration as much as possible until it is deemed to be necessary for further progress. Duolingo’s onboarding process starts with making the users pick a language to learn, the goals, and their skill level. It is essentially the product-first approach where the users get a chance to poke around and engage in the application’s features.

screenshot image of duolingo mobile app's user onboarding experience featuring the duolingo mascot. this is a great example of user onboarding for mobile. this is the duolingo signup screen
screenshot image of duolingo mobile app's user onboarding experience. this screen asks users to pick a goal. this is a great example of user onboarding for mobile
screenshot image of duolingo mobile app's user onboarding experience. this screen asks users to pick a goal. this is a great example of user onboarding for mobile
screenshot image of duolingo mobile app's user onboarding experience. this screen asks users to choose their language level. this is a great example of user onboarding for mobile
screenshot image of duolingo mobile app's user onboarding experience featuring the duolingo mascot. this is a great example of user onboarding for mobile. this image shows the duolingo mascot waving.
screenshot image of duolingo mobile app's user onboarding experience. this mobile screen shows a korean language placement test. this is a great example of user onboarding for mobile

screenshot image of duolingo mobile app's lesson dashboard
this gif shows a duolingo account creation signup prompt. a progress bar fills up and the screen changes to show duolingo's mascot with a signup CTAu
this gif image shows duolingo's animated mascot waving and encouraging users to continue learning
mobile screenshot of duolingo. this screens appears when you complete a lesson. this image shows a full progress circle
Source: ReallyGoodUX

Duolingo’s onboarding features:

  • The postponement of registration helps users to commit to the app and makes the sign up less of an obstacle and more effortless.
  • The animations and the mascot ‘Duo’ adds a wholesome effect to the application and makes the interface visually appealing.
  • Setting goals for learning helps the users commit to Duolingo and hence, remain active on the application. With an elegant progress bar and lesson flow, they make learning and onboarding a much comfortable experience. 

Behance

The Adobe owned social media platform to share creative work and designs has a very creative onboarding flow. Behance’s onboarding flow involves three main features—a tidy interface, content backed designs, and tooltips. Behance’s interfaces have a lot of powerful and easy on the eye visuals, which instantly engages the users. Their UX copy allows the users to navigate the app gracefully.

This is a mobile screeshot from behance's app that shows a simple white theme interface. There are two sections on the screen—notificationa and messages—both of which have empty states. Two big CTA buttons say "add a new project" to Behance and "Create a New Message" in white text on a blue background.
This is a mobile screen shot from Behance mobile app showing a high contrast tooltip against a blurred background. The tootltip title reads "import photos and videos"
Source: ReallyGoodUx & UISources

Behance’s onboarding features:

  • Behance’s tooltips are very discreet and never get in the way of the users’ experience. In the mobile application, the tooltips stand out and increase the learnability.
  • The hotspot feature helps some posts stand out, and this helps the user’s to consume more content instantly.
  • Their clutter-free UI and well-explained product copies make navigating the app easy and promise a delightful user experience.

Tumblr

David Karp’s microblogging platform, Tumblr, has a delightful user onboarding experience. Tumblr’s sign up page does a great job in capturing the users’ attention by showcasing user content. After the signup process, Tumblr lets the user choose five or more categories they might are interested in and personalizes their entire feed. This is an example of the endowment effect that gives the users a sense of ownership over their account, which boosts retention rates.

Source: UISources

Tumblr’s onboarding features:

  • The witty UX copy combined with user content packs compelling visuals and engages the audience immediately. It also does a great job of explaining the microblogging platform.
  • The platform’s walkthrough allows users to learn the essential UI elements and features needed to navigate through the app. Tumblr’s onboarding also teaches the user to share and like other user’s work to grow a strong network of user-generated content.
  • The app takes personalization of user feed to the next level and uses the endowment effect to connect the platform and the user strongly. Along with this, wholesome animations and tooltips pop us as you are navigating through the app.

Brilliant

One of the best educational apps, Brilliant’s mobile app stands out from the rest by using a unique user onboarding experience. Their onboarding experience is simplistic yet elegant and uses a minimal amount of elements to showcase their product. After the signup, each screen shows the importance of Brilliant and the features it promises. This straightforward way of introducing the product can be very compelling and brings out a necessity for the app.

Source: UISources

Brilliant’s onboarding features:

  • After the initial onboarding flow, Brilliant asks the users about their needs through a single character question and instantly personalizes their interface with the required material. This hassle-free experience can quickly boost retention rates of their vast user base.
  • The app uses simple designs, a strong UX copy, and quotes to explain their product and the need for their product. Being a freemium software, their straightforward approach highlights the value of the app and takes the user one step forward to buying it.
  • The app also categorizes the learning material, which makes it very easy for the users to navigate through the app. 

If you know of any other mobile app with an impressive onboarding feature, put it in the comments!

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Team UserExperior