Customer Success

5 Helpful (& Beautiful) Product Onboarding Examples

Build a great product onboarding experience with real-life examples and discover the key elements for a successful user experience.

Introduction

Picture it. After endless hours of hard work, your new product is out and you know two things about it: it’s a great tool and has huge potential to help many people.

But your product can only make a difference if users are able to onboard and adopt it fast and effectively.

It's time to plan a good product onboarding experience to connect that awesome product with users who need it. 

This article will show you the basics of product onboarding and explore how to search for the right tools to build an effective onboarding experience. 

If you’re looking for some inspiration, we’ll showcase how some brands have set a high standard with eye-catching and helpful product onboarding examples. 

What is product onboarding?

Product onboarding is the process of introducing your product to new customers.

It’s a learning experience that highlights your product’s features and briefly explains how to make the most of them.

The ultimate goal is that users learn quickly and adopt your product. 

When creating a product onboarding flow, aim to build a smooth journey for new users. They are adapting to your product’s layout and features while learning important information. 

Why is onboarding important?

A good onboarding experience boosts engagement, educates users, and can increase conversion rates. 

And just like most things in life, from job interviews to pitching to potential clients, first impressions count. Up to 60 percent of new users will abandon an app at first sight, and up to 80 percent will delete an app if they don’t understand how to use it.

This doesn’t mean it has to happen to your product. You can reduce friction for first-time users by learning how to welcome them properly. 

Product onboarding involves technical skills and a deep understanding of your target audience. When the onboarding is successful, it can:

  • Lower customer acquisition cost (CAC). 
  • Lower customer support costs. 
  • Retain new customers and reduce their learning curve. 
  • Increase the satisfaction of first-time customers. 
  • Allow you to capture consented first-party data.

How to build an effective product onboarding experience

Every product onboarding experience is different, and the way you approach onboarding will depend on your product, target customer and industry. Yet, there are some essential elements for everyone to remember while planning and creating an effective product onboarding.  

1. Set clear goals

Before mapping the journey users will follow, ensure your goals are clear and plan accordingly. Here are some practical questions to ask yourself beforehand so that you can set onboarding goals:

  • Who are your users?
  • What does your product solve for them? 
  • What is the purpose of this product onboarding in terms of usability? 
  • Once the onboarding is complete, how will users learn about future product updates?
  • How are you going to get feedback from them?

2. Write effective copy

Write exciting, simple, and direct messages. New customers don’t need lengthy explanations of each element involved; they need to get familiar with the product first. 

Be conversational, and encourage them to try your product’s main features. Teach customers to find what they’re looking for or where to ask for help in case they need it. 

Compelling copy is vital inside the product and should be reflected across your communication channels, from email to your social media posts.

3. Use the right tools

When choosing the mechanics and tools to build your product onboarding, consider your tech stack, audience, budget, and goals. You will set a straight path to guide both you and new users.

Here are the most common tools that will help you showcase your product to new eyes: 

Product tours

Product tours are guided visual walkthroughs of a product’s primary features, but they’re not supposed to explore everything. Three or four steps should be enough to let users learn the key information at their own pace. 

Think of this as a short introduction to your product to welcome new users experiencing it for the first time. 

Onboarding emails

Triggering emails when new users sign up for your product is an effective way to explain more about specific features.

Engaging emails are vital for first impressions, so send a simple but exciting welcome message. First emails must have the following:

  • Strong CTAs that encourage users to discover and learn more.
  • Follow icons for social media channels.
  • A compelling explanation of what to expect when using your product.
  • Focus on a positive first experience, which will eventually drive engagement. 
(Source: Grammarly Onboarding Email)

Tooltips

Onboarding tooltips are popups that help users understand a feature with precision. They appear during the natural flow of onboarding and instantly draw users' attention to offer contextual help. 

Tooltips are valuable at different journey stages, not just the walkthrough. They help educate users on a product and can also highlight a new feature or link to other tools relevant to the onboarding experience. 

(Source: Asana)

Videos

An onboarding video is one of the most straightforward ways to introduce your product to users. Get them started with basic yet relevant information. 

If you don’t have time to start from scratch with animation or motion graphics, you can use video templates and adapt them to specific onboarding flow and users’ needs.   

Checklists & progress bars

Setting a progress bar or a checklist will help new users visualize how far they’ve come. They’ll also know what to do to complete the onboarding process. 

Once they reach 100 percent or see the completed checklist, users are satisfied with concluding their onboarding program. 

KH4. nowledge base

A knowledge base is a repository of documentation and product information. It is a virtual toolkit with tutorials, how-tos, frequently asked questions, and user guides. Users can access this self-service vault 24/7 and get the answers they need immediately without contacting customer support.

(Auto-generate step-by-step guides — Source: Scribe)

Automating the most frequent and simple requests relieves the burden on customer support reps, which allows them to focus on more complex queries. 

H3. 4. Get feedback

Improving your product means always keeping an eye on feedback. 

Ask new customers what could be done differently. Analyze data and track how things are running throughout the onboarding process. 

(Source: Typeform)

Use these questions as an opportunity to learn more about what’s happening on the other side of your product:

  • Is it taking too long for users to complete the onboarding process? 
  • Is there a baseline for completion rates? Are you measuring them? 
  • Are users leaving halfway through the onboarding?
  • Are you able to spot potential roadblocks? 

5. Consider the mobile onboarding experience

Many products are available in both desktop and mobile versions. Building a responsive version of the onboarding experience is essential to make it suitable for mobile users. 

People spend 80 percent of mobile time in-app versus web browsers. If your product is an app, your business growth will depend on an effective onboarding process and a mobile-friendly experience. 

To provide a mobile-friendly experience, you need to understand what can be a potential cause for user frustration or dissatisfaction with your application. Testing the usability of your app and the ease of its navigation is a great way to ensure that the mobile experience of your product lives up to your customer’s expectations and the onboarding process is effective. 

Is user onboarding the same as product onboarding?

User and product onboarding are very similar; nevertheless, they’re not the same. 

The first one aims to give new users a clear understanding of your product so they can recognize its value. The user onboarding experience focuses on building a relationship with the person that found your product. 

Product onboarding is a discovery process. It’s mostly about interaction and learning how things work inside the product.  

That being said, each form part of the UX onboarding process. Both have the goals of achieving customer success and inspiring brand loyalty. 

Steps to build an onboarding experience

Show your value proposition and follow these steps to deliver a powerful product onboarding experience:  

  1. Map the user journey. Establish a clear path to take users from point A to points B and C. The journey should start with simple information without overwhelming users. 
  2. Focus on the actions and decisions you want users to make. Onboarding should be straightforward and precise to ensure a good learning experience. 
  3. Prioritize the onboarding process. Instead of jumping into offering upgrades, bundles, or related products, put this learning process first. 
  4. Iterate and run A/B tests. Set short-term goals to try different things with new users. Iterate and learn what works best. According to this case study, an iterative approach will help you move fast and define effective solutions for your product. 
  5. Adjust and update. If things don’t go as expected, keep an open mind and adapt to change. There’s no such thing as a completely perfect product. 
  6. Keep building your relationship with the user. Keep your community in the loop and follow up once the onboarding is complete. Share updates on social media and via emails regarding new features and fixes; you should do this continuously. 

Product onboarding examples

Great product onboarding experiences are more than just showcasing the product. These experiences should also build a positive relationship with users. 

The below examples all have simple and beautiful designs that make the process easier and the experience unique and memorable.

Headspace

This UX onboarding experience comes with a moment of positivity and calmness. 

Headspace welcomes new users with a short breathing exercise that leads to a relaxation course.

The CTAs are straightforward. Colorful and playful illustrations appear before the user completes the first 10-question check-in. 

Headspace’s first question is: What is your primary goal while trying this product? Users can pick from a list: Anxiety and stress, Sleep, or Trying something new. Then, the product experience enables users to discover new features based on their interests. 

Classpass

Classpass’ product onboarding is a brief introduction that goes straight to the point.

(Source: App Store)

From the start, the Classpass onboarding journey helps new users find classes and studios according to their interests, fitness goals, and location. 

Classpass is so easy to use that the onboarding experience doesn’t need extra information or product walkthroughs. If there’s an issue or users require help, they can find more details with a Help pop-up and read how to use the app or start a live chat. 

Slack

Slack’s product onboarding is full of practical features for new users. People can learn thanks to a combination of tooltips, product tours, and videos that improve the experience. 

Discovery happens naturally when using Slack for the first time, thanks to animated imagery and simple CTAs. 

The platform encourages the learning experience through Slack Skills, a knowledge base for users who want to become Slack specialists. 

Udemy

Udemy understands that no two users are the same. For that reason, the platform starts the learning process with personalization and guidance.

New users see a three-step progress bar with a strong CTA. Udemy highlights different options including enroll, learn from global experts, and high-quality content. 

Then, small popups and short messages appear to help users to take the next step. 

The welcoming email comes along after a few minutes. This works as an extra push to attract users to enroll right away. 

(Source: Udemy)

Shuffles by Pinterest

The new collective collage tool from Pinterest welcomes new users with beautiful transitions and straightforward copy. This first one is a hands-on, sensory experience, and that’s what makes it so effective.

Long-time Pinterest users are passionate about visual storytelling, and Shuffles delivers that. Over time, the brand has mastered the art of the UX onboarding experience by personalizing it.

(Source: App Store)

Product onboarding tools & software

The onboarding process can’t be perfect immediately, but plenty of tools and software will help you get there. 

Here’s a short list of onboarding tools that come in handy:

Pendo

Pendo is a product analytics software that allows embedding tools to improve the product experience. It also provides valuable insights for the product creator. 

Besides monitoring and recording how users interact, it embeds questions and polls at different stages of the user’s journey. 

Moreover, one of its best functions is gathering user feedback and updating them on the status of their suggestions to the product owner.

Scribe

Scribe is an extension and desktop app that allows you to capture any process on your screen. It generates step-by-step guides you can customize to fit your branding and tone of voice. In seconds, you can turn your workflow into fully fledged documentation — like this one!

Once the guide is ready, you can share it. Use a URL link, export it as a PDF, export it to Confluence, embed it in other tools, or simply copy it into a document with HTML. 

You can also combine Scribes with images, videos and more with Scribe Pages. Create longer process docs, instruction manuals, templates or any other educational materials, like this one.

Userpilot

Userpilot is a growth tool that helps users to discover a product through contextual hints based on interaction. It also provides growth metrics at every stage of the user journey. 

One of Userpilot’s most remarkable features is that you can run micro surveys in-app to get user feedback organized by segment. These surveys are customized to fit the look and feel of your product, or you can choose from their templates. 

Appcues

Appcues Builder is a Google Chrome extension to create flows for the product onboarding experience. This tool also has Appcues Studio. It’s a place to manage, publish and unpublish flows, explore events, target experiences and track in-app behaviors.  

The highlights of Appcues are that you don’t need code to use it, and you can visualize your dashboards in a very intuitive, beautiful display. 

Conclusion

New users of your product should get that “wow” moment instantly. The product onboarding experience must be valuable, unique, problem-solving, and memorable. 


Remember, there’s no magic recipe for getting it right the first time. Using the right tools and getting user feedback will help create an excellent product onboarding process. With extra work, your product will engage and retain new users and help you reach the next level. 


Author Bio

Alina Midori

Journalist-turned-content marketing writer at Envato. Alina is passionate about design and the creative industry. She’s a metalhead, jazz enthusiast, and hardcore Tori Amos fan.