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March 13, 2024

Mastering Mobile App Onboarding: Best Practices for Success

According to statistics, the typical smartphone user installs over 80 apps but only utilizes roughly nine daily. They could use thirty within a month. 

Thus, while we joyfully spend hours daily using our preferred apps, many are just gathering digital dust. And the majority of the time, that results from an ineffective or defective app onboarding procedure. Simply said, consumers don’t understand your app’s purpose or recommended usage. An extensive onboarding process might be the difference between eventually discarded apps and those that have longevity. 

We’ll dissect the elements of a robust onboarding process in this blog, as well as how it may inform, motivate, and engage users to increase user retention.

Understanding Mobile App Onboarding 

2. Understanding Mobile App Onboarding

App Onboarding is the process of introducing people to your app’s UI by utilizing unique steps and design features. It explains how to use the app and finish the steps. Onboarding can introduce existing users to new software features and improvements. Your app must demonstrate value to new users; thus, onboarding should be simple.

Is app onboarding essential? 

Yes. New users are like first-day schoolchildren, unfamiliar with most functionalities. Onboarding simplifies it for them. 86% of customers think a firm takes them more seriously when it invests in post-purchase onboarding content. Explain your app’s worth and usefulness in solving users’ concerns. Your first user experience should have three goals:

  • The app’s onboarding help users register and log in. A complex tool like a CRM system includes several dashboard features. Users must log in for additional application data.
  • Onboarding instructs users on app features, navigation, and other advice. Most apps’ onboarding includes features and symbols.
  • Onboarding helps you capture data while users create profiles. Notifications and recommendations can be personalized with this info. KYC is required for government apps.

The saying goes, first impressions last. Onboarding UX helps acquire and retain customers. Many initial impressions are bad, and one in four users exit a mobile application after one use and never return. An excellent experience can boost user retention.

Benefits of App Onboarding

The app onboarding process offers several advantages:

Enhanced User Experience

A user’s initial interaction with your app is crucial in determining whether they will continue using it. Therefore, providing the best possible app user experience is essential for the success of your app.

Through the mobile application onboarding process, you can guide users on using the app and highlight essential details they need to know.

App Features & User Engagement

Sometimes, users may need help understanding the valuable features of an app. Therefore, highlighting specific features during app onboarding is an excellent way to increase user engagement.

Improved App Retention

Mobile app retention is another benefit of application onboarding.

By illustrating all the core features and functionalities to mobile app users, they can understand the benefits of using your app. These benefits will encourage them to continue using your app for a long time, thus improving your app’s retention.

Types of Mobile App Onboarding Process

The mobile app onboarding process might have many different types of screens, which means several variations. Let’s dive right into the many forms of mobile app onboarding.

3. Types of Mobile App Onboarding Process

Progressive Onboarding

Progressive onboarding is just what the name would imply. It elevates the experience of opening an app beyond simple screens. It gives users a comprehensive tour of the entire application. Usually, it takes the form of customized pop-ups that provide the user with a thorough introduction to the relevant parts on each screen. This onboarding is regarded as one of the best because it encourages users to engage with the app.

Example of progressive onboarding

A fantastic example of a progressive onboarding process is InVision, which gives users a sneak peek at the next step or related features without overwhelming them and gives them complete control over the process as they go through the phases.

Check the Best Push Notification Services & Tools to check out if you’re about to launch your app this year. 

Function-Oriented Onboarding

Function-oriented onboarding prioritizes the app’s capabilities and functionality above all else. It always puts them front and centre. Unlike a short and basic introduction, it provides a comprehensive explanation of each function and detailed instructions. Function-oriented design is always the best option for apps with distinctive and complicated features.

Example of Functional onboarding

App for design workflow Mockup does a fantastic job of summarizing its main features in just three straightforward slides.

Benefits-Oriented Onboarding

This time, the onboarding process will be more concerned with the advantages the software provides users with than with features. In order to ensure that a user finds everything they need when they first open the app, the onboarding flow takes advantage of the needs and desires of the user base and begins engagingly showcasing them. The idea that it can fix all user issues and change their life is emphasized.

Example of Benefits-oriented onboarding

The focus of the Evernote note-taking program is highlighting extra value. It gives users information and flexibility from the outset by showcasing the app’s features and letting them decide how to move forward with their app onboarding experience.

Best Practices for Effective Mobile App Onboarding in 2024

While the way you approach app onboarding will depend on your app’s complexity and your users’ needs, there are some universal truths that all developers can and should follow:

1. Get the Necessary Data Upfront

Many apps rely on the data their users provide. For example, a weather app can’t warn you of an approaching thunderstorm if it doesn’t know your location. So, ask for the information you need, but make it as easy for users to provide it.

4. Get the Necessary Data Upfront

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For instance, Upwork doesn’t just let its app users browse; it makes them “members.” After installing the app, users are asked for their email address and immediately greeted with a cool message that makes them feel part of an exclusive club. 

By requiring users to sign up before they can access the app, Upwork collects the data needed to create a personalized experience. However, it doesn’t introduce unnecessary friction by asking for too much information at once, reducing the risk that users will briefly browse and then delete the app.

2. Immediately Highlight Core Features

The best way to get users interested is to show users your app’s main features as soon as they open it. But don’t overwhelm them by showing every feature at once.

Instead, focus on the features that solve your users’ problems the most, and trust that they’ll find the other features on their own.

5. Immediately Highlight Core Features

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eBay is an excellent example of an app that does this well. It shows its main features right away, even before users create an account. Once users are ready to sign up, eBay keeps things simple and doesn’t bore them with a lengthy tutorial on how to bid on items. Instead, it gives users an easy-to-understand dashboard where they can quickly find what they’re looking for.

3. Allow Users to Skip

While you might expect a smooth and frictionless mobile onboarding, most users don’t want to be guided through every step — especially if they’re tech-savvy or your app is self-explanatory.

In that case, allowing users to skip parts of the onboarding process and explore the app themselves can be a great way to get them excited rather than feeling patronized.

6. Allow Users to Skip

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For example, the shopping app Flipkart allows its potential users to skip irrelevant onboarding parts and start enjoying the app right away. This is an excellent example of a progressive, user-focused approach.

4. Interact Through Various Channels

You don’t have to restrict your onboarding experience to the app itself. To get new users to return to the app, you can engage them in various ways. Think about promoting new features on social media, sending appealing emails, providing amusing push notifications, and sending SMS offers.

Including various channels within the app onboarding flow can improve the user experience and entice people to use your app again. Sending a user a personalized message depending on their current state or progress—for example, reminding them to finish registration—can motivate them to conclude onboarding.

7. Interact Through Various Channels

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Push notifications, sent as soon as an app is launched, are a helpful tool that online retailer SHEIN uses to keep new customers interested and provide them with instant savings.

5. Be Transparent About Data Usage

Users are increasingly cautious about apps that collect a lot of data, so it’s essential to be transparent about why you need specific information during onboarding.

For instance, excluding non-consenting iOS14+ users, where no user-level data is available for measurement, attribution, or optimization, you’re already required to ask for permission to access private information like GPS or a phone camera. However, it only pressures users into explaining how it will improve their mobile experience.

Grubhub, a food delivery app, does this well. Its app allows users to manually enter their address during onboarding (and every time they use it afterwards). At the same time, the app gently encourages users to enable their location while using the app, explaining that it makes the app easier to use.

6. Test Prior to Complete Implementation

When an application functions flawlessly overall, including a seamless onboarding experience, it might be deemed outstanding.

To guarantee seamless transitions and operation between each screen, testing and monitoring your mobile app’s user onboarding journey across many screens is essential.

7. Demonstrate growth and acknowledge accomplishments

When it goes wrong, onboarding seems like a pointless, boring process. Users are more likely to leave or, worse, delete your app if they think they will have to spend a lot of time onboarding before they can even begin using it.

Think of putting a progress bar indicating how far they’ve come to reassure users. Why do you throw some confetti or provide a happy “ta-da” on screen after a user completes a crucial task, like making a profile, uploading a photo, or even making a playlist, to keep users inspired and involved? 

Want to know Mobile App Marketing Strategies? Check out the blog for more details. 

Common Mistakes in Mobile App Onboarding

The engagement and user retention rates of your app can be significantly increased by properly implemented onboarding. But the flaws listed below may prevent your app from accomplishing these objectives:

Avoid Design Overload

One situation where design simplicity is essential to preventing potential new users’ confusion or annoyance is mobile app onboarding. Excessively inventive design should be manageable for the success of your software, even if you are purposefully breaking from conventional user interface (UI) rules.

For example, with a meal delivery service, it’s better to keep onboarding questions about the user’s location and favourite food type to a minimum instead of overloading them with the number of possible filter categories they can search. Rather than how to locate unusual restaurant recommendations or how many cuisine categories your app offers, new users are more interested in what’s instantly available to them.

With Spotify, for instance, you only need to create a login and password to begin using all its features. It is only at this stage that consumers learn about the plethora of open opportunities they should decide to interact with them.

Always Conduct Beta Testing

Users will likely rapidly remove your software if they need clarification throughout the onboarding procedure. You can be sure that your onboarding instructions are understandable and provide a clear demonstration of how to use your app by doing beta testing.

To sum up, don’t allow ambiguous instructions to prevent your app from succeeding. Obtaining relevant data to understand the user experience better and increase retention rates for app designers requires new views.

Once you’re all set and your onboarding plan is executed perfectly, it’s time to strategize your Post-Launch Marketing Plans.

Examples of Apps that mastered Mobile App Onboarding


Whether an organization is small or huge, Slack is an app made to make team communication easier. Instantly upon launch, users are presented with the functionality of the application. One may observe that Slack uses a value-oriented onboarding strategy in its four tour screens. These panels instruct users on how to set up data sharing and communication among teams utilizing the app.


Reddit is a popular app for Q&A. It is on the list because of its remarkable onboarding procedure. Reddit provides a “Skip for now” option that lets users explore the app without creating an account or logging in. This makes for a fantastic user experience. Reddit also requests permission to send notifications, which is another excellent practice for onboarding.


Calm is a well-known meditation app that assists users worldwide with problems including worry, stress, and erratic sleep patterns. Users are introduced to the app’s features and value proposition, including guided meditation, breathing exercises, and sleep stories, on the first onboarding screen. After that, users are assisted in setting goals, including selecting learning, growth, and improvement areas. Users are asked to allow access and join up using various platforms after two screens.

You can significantly raise conversion and retention rates in 2021 by implementing these best practices for app onboarding. Adding unique features and a smooth onboarding flow doubles the likelihood of your software becoming well-known.


We concluded that onboarding is crucial for mobile app success, boosting user engagement, retention, and overall app success. Leading apps like Slack, Reddit, and Calm have set high standards by focusing on simplicity, openness, and user-centric design. However, developers must stay ahead as user expectations evolve. 

Continuous improvement and adaptability are key to meeting and exceeding these expectations in a rapidly changing digital environment. Onboarding is often users’ first interaction with an app, shaping their overall experience and influencing their decision to continue using it. Prioritizing seamless, intuitive, and value-driven onboarding can build long-term user engagement and success.

For a seamless and user-friendly approach to mobile app onboarding, consider Twinr. With Twinr, you can convert your website into a mobile app effortlessly, ensuring your users have a smooth transition and a delightful experience. Start your app journey with Twinr today and make a lasting impression on your users!

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