Debunking User Onboarding Myths
Written by Inna Kerzman on Jul. 29 2018
We hear more and more buzz about user onboarding lately, but also many miss-conceptions about it’s purpose and how to create an onboarding experience that really helps engage new users. So we, at Retention Design, are here to help. And we’re going to do that by busting some major user onboarding myths. With the help of notorious onboarding experts we’ll shutter those myths and establish user onboarding for what it really is – the process that gets new users to experience their first success with your product. 

Let’s do this.
Myth #1: Onboarding is a tool tip tour
The tool tip tour on web products and it’s cousin the slideshow on mobile apps are still the most common onboarding design patters. In spite of their popularity, these patterns are product focused and not user focused, which makes them less effective in driving users to their first success with the product.

Here is Samuel Hulick, founder of useronboard on why onboarding should not just be a tool tip tour, and what it should be instead:
Samuel Hulick at TNW Conference Europe 2015
Myth #2: Onboarding is a feature your roll-out once
Des traynor, CEO of Intercom, claims that the biggest mistake companies make is launching their onboarding and never looking at it again. Your product changes a lot. It’s your company’s goal to keep making it better, and deliver more value. This means your onboarding should change a lot as well.

Here is Des traynor, brilliantly explaining this in his talk “From Signed up to Satisfied”:
Des Traynor, Co-founder, Intercom — From Signed up to Satisfied
Myth #3: Onboarding happens only in-app
Hopefully by now you’re convinced that onboarding is not just a tool tip tour. Now we want to challenge onboarding being an exclusively in-app activity. Ty Magnin from Appcues explains that onboarding is a team sport. Product, marketing, sales and customer success each have their role to play and only when they team-up they win at onboarding. Read the post here: User Onboarding is a Team Sport: Who Should Work on What
We hope you enjoyed this episode of onboarding myth-busters! Want to know which onboarding experiences rock our world? though you’d never ask, here you go.

Inna Kerzman


Inna Kerzman is a multidisciplinary experience designer. Over the past 5 years, she worked with successful startups at the intersection of user experience and business analysis to create digital experiences that boost growth.

If you're interested in improving your retention rates, then definitely reach out and request a free strategy session today.
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