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Your Guide to Web Application Onboarding Best Practices

Woman looking at laptopSet yourself up for success with these five tips for web application onboarding. 

Your enterprise web application development journey doesn’t end after you’ve built your web application. In fact, it doesn’t even end after you plan a successful rollout. The final step, and one of the most important ones, is to get customers to use your application regularly. Unfortunately, that’s easier said than done. 

According to SAP, 78% of mobile applications are abandoned by users after the first use and the adoption rates for web applications are even lower. For SaaS applications, the average eight-week retention rate hovers around 6-20%. These statistics show that it’s harder than ever to entice (and keep!) users when most enterprises have web applications these days. To stay competitive, you have to make sure your web application has an easy, seamless onboarding experience that will keep customers from seeking greener pastures. Here’s how. 

What is application onboarding?

Application onboarding is the process of introducing a user to your application by taking them through a series of screens, videos, and images that direct them through the application’s interface. The ultimate goal is to sign users up as new customers and demonstrate the true value of your application so users will continue using it. The three most common types of application onboarding are:

  • Benefits: This type focuses on the features of the application, demonstrates how it can improve your users’ lives, and aims to boost conversion rates 

  • Function: This type teaches users how to navigate your app and use the most important features 

  • Progressive: This type highlights the more complex workflows in your application, typically involving gesture-driven interaction

No matter what type of application onboarding process you use, having one is crucial to your application’s long-term success. In fact, research has shown that retention rates can increase by 50% after an enterprise implements a solid onboarding process. Here are some tips to keep in mind when designing your application onboarding experience.

5 key tips for acing application onboarding

1. Nail down your value prop

Every customer decided to open your application for a reason—don’t let them forget that! If your users are unclear on what exactly your application will do for them, it won’t matter how many fantastic new features you show them. Always lead with the value of your application and be sure to show that your application can live up to your users’ expectations. Then and only then can you start showcasing your application’s key features. 

2. Get in and get out

72% of users say that speed is a key factor when deciding whether or not to keep using an application.

72% of users say that speed is a key factor when deciding whether or not to keep using an application, and completing the application onboarding process in less than a minute is ideal. To keep your onboarding process short and sweet, stick to the key features and UI elements that are absolutely necessary to help users navigate and experience the app. Avoid text-heavy explanations and instead opt for screenshots and intuitive illustrations.

It also helps to include progress indicators to help give the onboarding process a sense of forward momentum and keep users from feeling like they’re on an endless journey.

3. Don’t overwhelm users

Keep in mind that you won’t be able to cover every aspect of your enterprise web application within a short, streamlined onboarding session. Also, you want to give your users the chance to actually interact with your application and learn on their own. Trying to do too much too soon can bore and alienate users! Limit your onboarding process to five or six screens with one feature explanation per screen.

4. Avoid the obvious

This tip might not have been necessary 20 years ago, but we’re entering an age where the vast majority of your app’s users will be digital natives. Even baby boomers are more tech-savvy than ever before! 

To make your web application onboarding session as efficient as possible, you have to strike the right balance between showing users what to do and assuming they know what to do. For example, most users will understand that a thumbs-up icon means “Like” and an arrow icon means “Share,” so you don’t necessarily have to explain these elements. Still, be prepared to do some user-testing to ensure you’re not taking too much for granted.

Start onboarding your users to new applications sooner with Unqork.

5. Only ask for what you need

Today’s users are accustomed to granting data access and messaging permissions to applications, but that doesn’t mean they want to be inundated with permissions requests as soon as they start onboarding. In fact, 60% of users have chosen not to install an application after finding out just how much personal information it required.

To avoid spooking users, only ask for the essential permissions upfront, explain exactly why you’re asking for these permissions, and explain how that information is critical to getting the most out of your application. Reserve any additional permissions for later on when the user is fully engaged with your application.

Start strong with Unqork

If you keep these tips in mind, you’ll be well on your way to building a web application onboarding experience that encourages users to stick around for the long haul. A bonus onboarding best practice is to gather and track user metrics so you can determine what works and apply it to future projects.

When you build an application on the Unqork platform, you gain access to the platform’s built-in customizable performance dashboards that allow you to monitor user engagement and gain insight into the metrics of your choice. These features give you everything you need to optimize application onboarding, increase conversion rates, and boost adoption. Plus, you will get your application to market faster with an intuitive build process since Unqork requires zero coding.  

Want to learn more about how no-code can be used at your organization? Schedule a personalized demonstration with one of our in-house experts. Also, sign-up for the Unqork newsletter to keep up-to-date on the latest in the world of no-code.