As a developer, I’ve built user interfaces – and I’ve dealt with support queries. And through doing so, I’ve picked up a couple of handy tips that will improve your onboarding process, and make your users much happier.
The onboarding process is integral to the digital coaching experience. First-timers to the platform need to learn how the interface works before they can effectively use your platform and this process needs to be seamless and hassle free to build trust and sustain their interest.
A happy user will want to return to the platform, and be more engaged with your program and content. Here’s how to get that right from the get-go.
1. Interact with your users
Most users want some room to explore in their own way, but also need help or guidance when they get lost.
The interaction between your interface and the user should have the flow of a good conversation. It shouldn’t give them tasks to do, but rather, it should give them short and focused tips on how to use the platform. These tips should follow the format of a conversation, and be positive in tone.
Ending a tip with positive words like “Great!” or “Good to know” instantly makes the experience more ‘human’ and relatable.
Designing the onboarding process to feel like a conversation will make users feel more comfortable. And this makes your platform less intimidating to new users, and more of a pleasure to use.
2. Make form interfaces quick and seamless
One of the most frustrating things to do on any platform is to fill out a long form. Users find it boring and cumbersome. There’s nothing natural about it.
Web applications are meant to be quick and seamless ways to complete tasks. And the interface should do the same.
If you need to capture information during the onboarding process, capture only the bare minimum, such as the email address of the user. The rest, such as names and profile pictures, can be captured later.
Give users a focused tip on where they can fill in this information, but make it clear that it can be done at a later stage.
3. Expect users to make mistakes
No matter how intuitive your interface is, users are bound to make mistakes. A good interface will anticipate and accommodate this, allowing users to move past them.
If the user does make a mistake or encounter an error, don’t bombard them with error messages and orange warnings. Simply inform them that there’s a mistake, and make it clear and easy to fix.
Some mistakes can also be fixed later. For example, if the user enters a physical address that is in the wrong format, allow them to fix that at a later stage. Subtly let them know about the error, but save the data and give them the option to fix the error right away or to continue.
4. Make the onboarding optional
You may get some users who are tech-savvy, and don’t need a walkthrough to use the interface. Some users also enjoy exploring on their own, rather than following a set process.
Make the onboarding process optional. Get the bare minimum amount of information from the user, and make the rest optional.
An effective way to do this is to use pop-up tips that can be dismissed or skipped if they’re not relevant to the user.
5. Help users in subtle ways
The onboarding process is all about guiding users to get to know your interface, and getting them to use the platform quickly. To do this, you need to give them a guided tour.
Much like inviting a new friend into your home for the first time, you want the experience to feel welcoming rather than overwhelming. You wouldn’t drag a friend through every room of your home right away; likewise, you shouldn’t bombard users with unexpected pop-ups or dialogues.
Rather show focused tips using small tooltips that don’t dominate the page. Point users to important parts of the page using small UI components. Only show the most important parts of the interface.
6. End your onboarding process with a call to action
Give users something to do at the end of the onboarding process. This gives them a clear goal to achieve, and encourages them to complete this process.
You don’t want your users to have gone through the onboarding, only to end up not knowing what to do next. If they don’t have a clear idea of what to do, they may feel stuck and leave the platform.
When users complete a call to action they feel a sense of accomplishment and gain trust in the interface. They’ll feel compelled to do more on the platform, because they’ll already have completed something.
The end of the onboarding process is a great time to ask users to start their first digital coaching session!
7. Keep it simple
New users need to be able to learn quickly, so that they can begin using the interface effectively.
The interface during the onboarding process should be simple. Keep the instructions short and to the point, and use the smallest number of steps possible.
Keep the interface simple, but also make it easy to learn. By completing the onboarding process, users should have enough information to discover the rest of your platform on their own.
What other tips do you have to help create a positive onboarding experience? Leave a comment below.
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