Onboarding in a mobile application: what is it and why
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Onboarding in a mobile application: what is it and why

If you find yourself in a new job, HR will take you on a tour of the office, tell you about the company, introduce you to colleagues and provide you with all the materials and supplies you need to work. All of these actions are called employee onboarding. The same principle works in mobile applications – your users decide to use the application, and you help them in this in different ways and introduce them to the application and its functions. What types of onboarding are there and should you use it at all?

Why onboarding

So, onboarding is a process that helps users learn about the functions of an application and make the necessary settings to use it more effectively. The right onboarding makes a good impression on users, affects the company”s bottom line and serves three functions:
Attraction: will help you understand the value of your product and will motivate people to use the application more often.
Informing: a hint in the interface will help users learn more about innovations and updates.
Retention: a person will use the application all the time if he understands that it solves his problems.
Ideally, the application should be such that users can use it without prompting. A good plan is to test how users will behave without onboarding. This will help you understand how well you thought out the interface and at what stages users need your help.

What onboarding is


These are the first few screens the user sees when they first launch the application. Usually they are used to get acquainted with a mobile application, talk about the tasks that the application solves and why the user made the right choice when he installed it. As a rule of thumb, it”s best not to design more than five slides and let the user skip viewing this information and go straight to the application interface.
People want to use the application right away, and not go through training and memorize a lot of information. Therefore, it is not a good plan to allocate multiple screens to train your product”s functions.


This type of onboarding may be needed when a user needs to fill in data about himself to be productive in an application. For example, in an application for learning foreign languages, you definitely need to find out the user”s level, vocabulary and the purpose of the study. So he will receive an individual training program as soon as he enters these data.

Application tour

When the user starts using the application, he sees interactive prompts that help him take the first steps and remember the functionality of the buttons. Remember that the best help is timely help. Try to use onboarding exactly at those stages when the user may need help, and in places where everything is obvious, do not distract with unnecessary actions.

Tips and hints

You can tell about the functions of this or that button using the hints built into the interface.
It is important to remember that they can overload the user and it may seem to him that the application is too complex. Therefore, it is better not to resort to such prompts too often and to explain the really important points of the interaction.

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