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Who we are
Holly Norman
Publication Date
3 August 2016

5 Must-Haves For Your Mobile App Onboarding

“If you earn the right for someone to download your app, do not squander it.” Wise words from Mobiquity’s Chief Creative Officer, Mike Welsh, as quoted by Forrester in its recent report: “Mobile Onboarding Best Practices: How to Engage Your Mobile Users from the Start to Keep Them Coming Back (July 2016)

Did you know that nearly 22% of the 800 apps downloaded every second from the app store are never opened more than once? Scary, right? Now imagine the increase in likelihood of abandonment if your app onboarding isn’t a quick, easy-to-follow experience. You’ll encourage users to move away from your app before they even get a chance to see the value that it delivers.  Luckily, these 5 tips can help shape your onboarding and make sure your users get past the initial screen.

Don’t State the Obvious

86% of your impressions will come from millennials, of which 87% always have their phone by their side… Keep this in mind when you begin thinking about app onboarding. Assume your users have some shred of common sense and know more than you’d think about common technology. Besides, they were smart enough to download your app, weren’t they? Chances are, if you’re following innovation trends and your app design is human-centric, your users will be able to find their way around your app in no time based on heuristics. Instead of testing their patience explaining the simple things, use that initial moment of undivided attention to promote your brand; it’s the perfect opportunity to use graphics, images or slogans that emphasize what you’re all about, directly in front of your users. Airbnb does just that...


Count it Out

Rather than dropping your users into a seemingly never-ending introduction to your application, tell them where they are in the onboarding process; let them know that it won’t go on forever, and they’re just a few steps away from being able to enjoy their newest download.


Keep It Quick

The last thing a user wants to do after downloading your app is spend too long clicking through a tutorial or onboarding screens. Shorter is sweeter, and the less text-heavy the better. Try using email or social account log ins and sign ups to cut down more onboarding time.

Give a Little to Get a Little

Don’t start the experience by requesting access to an endless list of functions within your user’s phone. Start it off slow, and only request permission when it’s necessary. Take the lead from Airbnb who only requests permission to use the user’s location when they begin to search for accommodation “nearby.” The less clutter your user has to click through in the beginning, the happier they’ll be, the longer they’ll stay and the more likely they are to come back.


Make Assumptions

You should be aware and acknowledge that your users don't care about the same things that you care about; they want the experience on their terms. By leveraging common sense and fact-based assumptions, you will ultimately be able to provide a better experience during the user’s first few times in the app. Now, this isn’t “onboarding” per se, but it does impact the user’s initial impression of your solution and will make a dramatic difference in long-term retention and engagement. By making assumptions about how much your users know, how often they’re using their device, and the amount of time they’re willing to spend before bailing on your app, the more intuitive and engaging your solution will be.

Let our expertise complements yours

We believe that addressing customer challenges gives you opportunities to delight. Using our proprietary Friction Reports and  strong industry expertise, we dig deep into customer sentiment and create action plans that remove engagement roadblocks. The end result is seamless, relevant experiences that your customers will love.