Onboarding is a process that, like most great design, goes unnoticed. Until it goes wrong.
Being a baby-faced start up company, this crucial step of acquiring new customers relies upon a seamless and pain-free initiation to the product. After all, we’re trying to make people’s lives easier here, not scare them off before they’ve even got to know us.
I’ve recently stumbled across this gem, User Onboarding, which analyses the adoption process, removes the formality and injects some humour into understanding what works and what doesn’t. For starters, Sam Hulick explains that onboarding includes every step between viewing a website or app for the first time, to creating your account and the quality of guided support. Then he goes to town on all the latest web apps, including Twitter, Instagram and Netflix, being refreshingly honest and insightful.
I really enjoyed his analysis of the Slack introduction. We actually started using Slack as a replacement for group emails a few months ago and it honestly has changed the way we work. It’s a far more collaborative, intuitive form of communication and makes shared designs, notes or opinions easily visible. Plus, you gotta love the emojis. The best aspects of Slack’s onboarding were their use of microcopy, progress indicators and, of course, the product physically introducing itself (Hey, Slackbot!). It made the user, including myself, feel comfortable, confident and assured at each stage.
As users, we instinctively expect ease and clarity throughout the sign-up process. No one likes unnecessary faff. As a designer, it’s important to maintain a focus whilst creating this process. Only ask for the bare basics to get your user started. At first, I found it easy to get caught up in the buzz of intro animations and quirky icons. These days, I get giddy over password strength indicators and succinct microcopy. Nom nom nom.
If you haven’t seen much of Kong yet, I hope the first steps you experience are easy, clever and beautiful. Same goes for Sam.