What is user onboarding?

User onboarding is the practice of making your product or service as easy as possible for new customers to get value from. It’s a way to build retention directly into your business, ensuring that customers understand how the product works and why it’s worth paying for.


Improving onboarding can:

  • Decrease drop-off after sign-up
  • Increase free → paid conversions
  • Speed up trial → paid period
  • Improve user engagement
  • Reduce churn/non-renewals
  • Increase retention

User Onboarding Strategies

The goal of onboarding is to help users find your product’s core value(s) and benefit from it regularly. A good user onboarding strategy gets users to realize these values quickly, turning them into enthusiastic, profitable customers.

A number of SaaS companies are pioneering the art of onboarding. You’ve probably seen—and even been swayed by—many of these. Recognize and master them:


User Onboarding Examples

Good onboarding can vary drastically from product to product. While there’s no magic bullet, there are tons of great products and apps to draw inspiration from. Here are some of our favorites:

Onboarding Deep Dives

Onboarding Throwdowns


Good User Onboarding Design Keeps Users Engaged

Users often encounter information (and product) overload, so making a good first impression is paramount. The best user onboarding designs not only look great, but also keep users engaged and move them towards Aha! quickly. When it comes to designing the UX/UI of your onboarding experience, there are many proven UI patterns and practices to delight your users and keep them engaged.

Tools and Methods for Testing UI/UX


Aha! Moments Deliver Immediate Value to Users

An Aha! Moment is the moment of first value received by your new users. It can be so powerful that they are inspired to exclaim ‘Aha!’ By designing your onboarding experience to drive users to your Aha! moment, you can improve new user user retention.


User Onboarding Emails Can Provide Added Value

Email can complement your product’s onboarding process by assisting and re-engaging users that get stuck or drop-off.


Measuring User Onboarding

Measuring and analyzing the success of your onboarding experience is a bit of a unique process. The better you do it, the more insightful data you’ll have to iterate and improve in the future.


Understand User Psychology to Hack User Behaviors

Users can be demanding individuals with difficult-to-understand behaviors. By having a handle on customer and user psychology, you can better drive yours to conversion.

Designing for How Users Behave


The Best in User Onboarding Software

There are several user onboarding softwares available to help you build, measure, and iterate your user experience.

Start Improving Your User Retention

Test out Appcues today!

Get a personalized tour of Appcues. Request A Demo

Appcues customer logos