The one about on-boarding

Great on-boarding is like a skirt I guess. Short enough to get your attention, but long enough to cover all the important parts. That’s a terrible metaphor, but hopefully you get the point.

The most common on-boarding scenarios with apps I see are either:
– no on-boarding at all. You’re thrown into a pool of features and good luck…
– waaaay to many steps required to get you to experience the core features.

First of all. If you can make an incredibly intuitive design that doesn’t need any explanation…bravo. For the rest of us, some pointers are needed. And it’s not just explanation, some apps require information to make it useful, like fitness apps that need your current weigh and age, or investing apps that need your current available capital and risk profile.

Every developers think their app is amazing, if only the user would “get it”. If only she would have 30min to listen to everything this amazing app is capable of. But you don’t have 30min. Sometimes you don’t even have 30 seconds.

I think you can never get to perfection, meaning 0 on-boarding while having a fully engaged user, but your objective is to get as close to 0 as possible.

It is really hard to make something really simple. People that like to build things sometimes get this wrong. Because simplicity is about taking things away, not building more things.

The case for good on-boarding is that more people will actually use your app and convert to paying users (if that’s relevant). The average install-to-subscribe ratio depends on category and country, but on iOS it’s about 3%. If you’re on boarding is not great, it’s less. If you’re amazing it can go up to 10% – 15% for world-class apps.

That’s a huge difference! Let’s say three apps get 1mil new users each.

App A has 1.5% conversion.
App B has 3% conversion.
App C has 10% conversion.

If you charge $50 / year subscription, this is your revenue.

App A has $15.000
App B has $30.000
App C has $100.000

It’s worth investing in your on-boarding…

Removing few screens and making your messaging clearer, can make you a lot of money. Every new install will be more valuable.

I think of every on-boarding screen like a door in a store. How many doors would you have to find before you throw up your hands, say “fuck it” and turn around. There are apps that have 15 screens before you see the actual value. I would not enter a shop that forced me down a confusing hallway with 15 doors before I actually got to see the merchandise. No matter how badly I wanted whatever they had. Well maybe if it was actually fun to go through those 15 doors, but I have yet to see one app with on-boarding that was so much fun I wanted more. Every user wants less.

So how much is enough. Two see-through doors are perfectly fine. Meaning that I see what I have to go through to get to the merchandise and I already see glimpses of the stuff I want to buy. But 4 black doors would be too much.

When building looking at on-boarding, I start at the bottom. One of the single piece of information that user needs or I need, that is mission-critical. Okay, is there another piece? that’s mission critical? Be honest. Profile picture is not critical unless you’re making a dating app…maybe even then you can get the user to experience the rush without having a profile picture.

I think the only solution is to start as minimalist as humanly possible and test the hell out of it.

I don’t know the right answer.  The feeling or frustration and thinking “OMG what could you possible need THAT for? Just let me do X” is just too common.

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