5 Actionable Tips in Improving Mobile User Onboarding Process


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Mobile app retention rates are famously low. With only 25 percent of people continuing to use an app after day one of installation, it’s clear customers have high expectations when it comes to their value.

Fortunately, a clear and focused mobile user onboarding process can decrease customer churn by up to 50 percent. The goal is to create an onboarding experience that demonstrates the value of your app while teaching your user how to navigate it. 

You want your onboarding flow to be simple, informative, and engaging. Here are some actionable tips to improve your onboarding process.

1. Create a Clear and Concise Tutorial 

Overloading users with new information can quickly overwhelm them. While you want your tutorial to be as informative as possible, one that’s too long or convoluted will leave users frustrated and bored, especially if you don’t provide an easily accessible skip button.

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When it comes to your tutorial, prioritize quality over quantity. Explain your values, features, and basic functions, saving in-depth information for how-to guides and FAQ pages. If your app uses new, emerging, or complex technologies, you could even consider scheduled webinar hosting.

Another thing to keep in mind is your target audience, as this will give you a good indication of how in-depth your tutorial should be. For example, if users are likely to be young, tech-savvy individuals, they’ll probably be much more intuitive and require less guidance than other audiences.

Remember, you want to get your customers using your app at its fundamental level as soon as possible.

2. Simplify Your Sign-Up Process

As a business, you want to gather as much information about customers as possible to tailor and improve your app’s user experience. However, requesting too much information is a serious faux pas, especially if a user isn’t familiar with your brand. Similarly, a sign-up process that’s too long – for example, one that includes multiple verification processes – may turn off potential customers.

Keep your sign-up process short and sweet by only requesting the necessary information. If your app heavily values personalization, incorporate this into it. Not only will it provide you with valuable user information, but it’s an engaging way for users to interact with your brand.

Reddit, for example, allows users to pick from a wide range of topics before signing up, allowing them to browse the app through the lens of their personal interests. This makes the user much more invested in the app and enthusiastic to sign-up.

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Allowing users to sign up via their social media accounts is a great way to automatically reduce the length of your sign-up process while also gathering basic user information for analysis.

3. Show Instead of Tell

For many people, experiential learning, or the learn-by-doing approach, has proven to be a more effective and engaging learning strategy than reading blocks of instructional text.

Teaching new users how to navigate and utilize your app by having them perform tasks within a walkthrough is a great way to prevent customer churn. It provides an interactive experience that both engages and familiarizes them with your app.

Walkthroughs also influence user behavior by attracting users to the most important elements of your product. This benefits the mobile onboarding process because it ensures users are invested in the most important values and functionalities your product has to offer.

4. Be Personable 

While your priority is to inform and familiarize users with your app, you don’t want to come across too formal or salesy. 

Your onboarding process is often the first real interaction a user will have with your brand. To increase retention and loyalty, you want users to connect not only with your app but with your brand’s values. In a nutshell, you want to speak your audience’s language from the get-go.

Use personalization strategies to tailor the experience to your user while injecting some of your brand’s personality. Whether it’s adding emojis, slang, images, or on-topic jokes that make your user chuckle, you want to connect with your customers on a personal level.

Take a look at Headspace’s charming, on-brand onboarding process for inspiration.

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5. Gather Feedback for Analysis

The feedback you receive from users is the most valuable tool you can use to measure customer satisfaction at the end of the onboarding process.

Star ratings and multiple-choice surveys are great ways to receive feedback because they’re quick and easy to complete. While engaging with active users is helpful to establish your onboarding strategy’s strengths, don’t be afraid to reach out to dormant users via push notifications, particularly those who didn’t make it past the tutorial stage. These users will give you crucial insight into potential areas of improvement.

Another way to gain customer feedback is through analyzing metrics. This is particularly beneficial for your automated processes as the software often provides these metrics for you. For example, if you’ve implemented welcome messages into your automated onboarding process, keeping track of how many people open and read these is a good indicator of how successful they are. 

Final Thoughts

In a world where there are a million different apps at our fingertips, it’s all too easy for users to jump from one to another. To reduce the number who ditch your app in the first few uses, make sure your mobile user onboarding process is simple, personal, and interactive, with a clear focus on your core values and functionalities. 

To assist the implementation of your onboarding strategy, consider using a project management system. This will ensure your workflow is standardized and centralized, streamlining and automating your onboarding process. It doesn’t have to break the bank either – while Process Street is a popular workflow software, for cost-effective and specialized solutions, consider a Process Street alternative.

What are you waiting for? Get to work to improve your onboarding process!

Alister Esam
I help businesses perform at their best using my expertise in business process management and strategic planning.


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