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Mobile App Onboarding: 9 Best Practices with Examples

Development Workflow
Mobile App Onboarding flow

Onboarding is the brand identity of your app. The first impression, which largely means you will either get a loyal user or someone who refuses to use it.

When the user starts your app for the first time, it is very important for the experience to be easy, pleasant, and user-friendly. An onboarding screen is not required for all apps but it’s a good tool to quickly explain to the user what the app is needed for and how to use it.

In this article, we will share with you the best practices for creating a mobile app onboarding and provide you with some good examples that can be a source of inspiration for you.

Why is App Onboarding Important?

Nowadays, it’s quite difficult to attract users’ attention to a new product. This takes a lot of time, energy, and money.

Thus, it becomes clear that keeping an audience is even more important than attracting one. And the better the user understands the purpose and features of your app, the more likely that he will actively use it immediately after installation.

According to statistics, 77% of users no longer use a new app three days after the first installation. The reason for this is that the user simply didn’t understand how he could benefit from a particular product.

The right mobile app onboarding can save your app from being deleted from the device and turn the casual user into a permanent one. There are three main ways of practical use of this tool in mobile apps:

  1. Demonstration of advantages – the purpose of this onboarding type is to emphasize the value that this product provides to the user;
  2. Familiarization with features – in this case, onboarding is used to demonstrate the key functions of the app;
  3. Quick tips – a small instruction on how to apply the main features of the product in practice, often in an animated form.

The main purpose of onboarding is to create an interactive process of familiarizing the user with a mobile app to help them quickly and easily use it in practice.

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9 Best Practices When Designing Mobile App Onboarding Flow

It’s always better learning from other people’s successes, instead of your own mistakes. And here are some of the best practices for creating an onboarding app, which you should pay close attention to.

1. Emphasize the value

People download your app from the App Store/Google Play because they have certain expectations of it. They expect it to solve their problem, give them some benefit, or just be fun. Show them from the very beginning with the help of onboarding that they are not mistaken.
Onboarding - Explain the Value
[By Murat Gursoy]

It’s important not to just list the fascinating functions but to tell them how these functions will make their life easier. This does not only encourage them to take the next step but also contributes to the desire to leave the app on the device, rather than delete it.

Jason Fried Twitter quote

2. Focus on the main

Although the value of your app should be at the center of attention, it is still important for users to understand what opportunities your app provides. But you need to focus on the key functions that are most important.

Announcing additional (but no less cool) features can be done by using notifications inside the app. Pay attention to how this is implemented in the app onboarding. For example, Tinder; the developers of which made it simple, understandable, and very informative.

Tinder app onboarding example

3. Ask only the most necessary things

People want to start using the app as quickly as possible but many apps require the initial input of certain personal data or request access to additional information. If you need this too, then you should only request what is absolutely necessary, so as not to make users waste unnecessary time.

It’s very important not to overwhelm the users with requests for permission to access personal information or device functions when the app is first launched. You can always ask for more information later – launching it for the second, third or any other time.

4. Do not overload with information

Do not make users scroll through a dozen screens before they can start using your app. Also, you can add a progress bar to see how much is left before the end of the preview.
User onboarding example 2
[By Khurram Butt]

Try using less text and remember that there are such useful things as animation and video that you can use instead of static images.

5. Prompt what to do next

If you need users to perform a specific chain of actions, inform them what the next step will be. Call-to-action (CTA) works great in terms of increasing engagement and retention of the audience since it can clearly explain to people what they need to do next.
Call to action onboarding example
[By Frank Rapacciuolo]

6. Use animation

Given that you have literally 5-8 seconds to capture the user’s attention, animation in the intro is perfect for creating a “wow effect” and induces further interaction with the app. It’s also a great choice for providing a brief explanation of the product’s features or demonstrating it in operation.

[By Ramotion]

Animated step-by-step illustrations draw attention and are much more interesting to users than ordinary pictures. Also, you can combine animation with short textual explanations.

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Our team is ready to implement your ideas. Contact us now to discuss your roadmap!

7. Do not ask for too much

The more time a user needs to spend dealing with your app in order to get started, the fewer users will do it. First of all, it concerns registration and all sorts of personal information – ask for only the most necessary information and simplify the registration process where possible.

For example, you can add the ability to log in through existing profiles on Google/Facebook, which will save them a significant amount of time. If you ask for too much information, it can make the user leave.

8. Offer the opportunity to skip

There is a category of users who prefer to sort everything out on their own or are, simply, too impatient; therefore, we recommend that you give them the opportunity to skip the app onboarding.

Slack Onboarding

In some cases this can increase the number of those who continue working with the app by 5-10%. There are always people who prefer to explore the product on their own, rather than read the instructions.

9. Stick to the original goal

The whole process of Mobile App Onboarding should be developed taking into account reaching the originally set goal. This can be a short description of how to work with the app, demonstrating its features or conversion action. Do not be distracted from the original goals; concentrate efforts on their achievement.

Now, here is one more important piece of advice you need to remember – test and measure the results. By checking various types of messages and ways to design screens, you can constantly improve the app by adapting it to your goals and target audience expectations.


There are no two completely identical apps, and therefore there is no universal recipe for creating the perfect app onboarding. But the tips listed in this article will help you in creating the optimal solution for your product.

The chance to make a good impression on users and encourage them to continue interacting with the product are of paramount importance for any business. So, it is definitely worth using.

What practices did you run to improve your app’s onboarding flow? Do share your thoughts in the comments.

July 12, 2018

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