In this day and age, there is an app for almost any and everything that you’d like to do. With the rise of devices, the experience with applications and the desire to accomplish any task from a device is no longer limited by a platform. With those as a common base for providing quality products, what is being shared amongst all things app related is the onboarding experience. In this post you will learn the top 3 ways, using the ECO Method to provide a good onboarding experience no matter what product or industry you choose.

1. Empathize With The User (E)
As human beings with the the most complex systems on earth (our brains), we use this to process and analyze our environment. As we review and analysis things with our cerebral, we act on emotion. Emotions tie into how a person feels when they proceed to take action and we as designers of seemingly complex systems, we must be empathic to that while crafting intuitive solutions. The ability to step outside of one’s self and share in a bit of struggle or discontent of an uninformed state, allows us to see a varying range of consumer interpretations. This small act allows us to witness a variety of consumer interpretations which shed light on inconsistencies, misinformed signals and an underwhelming experience.

Onboarding Direction by Johan Adam Horn

2. Coach The User (C)
As we discussed moments ago about the importance of having empathy for your users, a good designer cannot move toward the next step without it. Have you ever tried to complete something for the first time without using the instruction manuals or being provided any direction? Being introduced to a product without the proper guidance can create similar feelings and force users to abandon your app altogether. This is why coaching a user a bit is the second step to crafting a great on-boarding experience.

Tooltips by Julia Khusainova Shyp

When people have no clue what to do when presented with unknown things, it can prompt them to do the opposite to what your expectations are – which can be nothing at all. Providing your users quick tips, a tour, starting help, etc… allows for them to get a rapid understanding of what is to come should they like to experience it. It provides a snapshot of the product’s experience quickly to help fill in the gaps of their expectations. Once you make a person feel at ease to take action, the barrier to entry is reduced allowing them to take a risk on exploring the product further.

3. Optimize For Exits (O)
Last and never least in the phase of product design is the idea of departure or exiting the experience completely. Some users find it a bit confusing and cumbersome to go through some tutorials on application usage. These are known as “power users” and it is imperative to include them in the on-boarding phase. Providing these types of users with quick exit CTAs (call-to-actions) and prompts that allow them to bypass the coaching altogether, gives them a sense of confidence to let them experiment with the experience on their own terms. Besides, when was the last time you needed a manual to understand how to ride your bike.

Example of optimizing the experience for exiting.

With these three fundamental and solid concepts for onboarding users within your mobile application or product, you are well on your way toward producing an amazing experience. Being sympathetic to the user, guiding them throughout the experience and making it easy for more advanced users to move passed the novice stage will accomplish these goals. Once you’ve introduced these concepts, test and optimize them – you will definitely see a spike in user enrollment on the onset. This is considered to be the ECO Method of Onboarding. As we explore more around introducing users to new products, later we will discuss user retention.

Until then,
Design with Life in Mind.


Anticio Duke

Anticio Duke

Anticio Duke is a serial entrepreneur, inventor and product designer based in Chicago, IL. Known as Duke, he transitioned from a successful product engineering background to digital product software design. Bringing a wealth of knowledge to the digital space, he serves as a product design strategist for agencies and Fortune 100/500 companies; bridging the gap between consumer hardware and digital products. Currently, he leads as Chief Product Strategist at WDI Studios, an innovative creative agency focused on product delivery and education for mobile application design, gamification and voice user interfaces.