Onboarding Academy

Best practices and tips for user onboarding

A list of not-so-well-known tips to achieve the perfect signup for your business. We have extracted the best practices of the best onboarding flows, so you can get inspired with not-obvious tips.

1. Dynamic forms

We can’t stress this enough: a dynamic and personalized form is key to improving your conversion rates. Plus, this practice is actually easy to implement, and you can build complex and dynamic flows without having to code.

With a dynamic form, you can personalize the behavior of your form, skip steps, and adapt the questions based on the form’s input. Plus, you can also trigger different actions -executed in the background-based on the form’s input. For instance, you can integrate your form with third-party tools and chain different actions based on your business rules.

Dynamic forms allow you to personalize UX to the fullest. Users will fill in the itinerary that suits them the most, which reduces friction and helps you reach your objectives faster.

2. User profiling

In general terms, shorter signup forms is synonymous with a good user experience. But on the other hand, getting to know your customers is crucial for long-term strategies. Finding the balance between a short onboarding and an efficient user’s database is possible, if you implement data enrichment strategies.

  • Data enrichment tools. Did you know you can get interesting data without asking for it? Integrating your form with data enrichment tools, such as Clearbit, can help you get the data you need without hurting the user experience.
  • Progressive profiling. If you need to know certain information, and you don’t want to compromise your signup forms, you can always implement a progressive profiling strategy and ask questions later on, and little by little.
  • Social media signup. Social login brings along several benefits for onboarding flows. Apart from being a one-click signup solution, it can bring useful demographic data about your users, if this information is available in your users’ social profile.

If you still need to ask questions, remember to organize them correctly with a good multi-step form. A well-structured onboarding will ease the process for your users and will help them reach the final submit button.

3. Well-organized multi-step forms

It is rare to find a good, rich onboarding experience in just a single-step form. Shorter signup forms usually work better, because of being such a tedious process for online users. Still, it is often counterproductive to gather it all in just one step.

If this is your business’ case too, you don’t have to worry, for multi-step forms have been proved to be equally effective — if they are well thought.

Some of the general tips for a good signup form must be applied here too — keep it short, organize questions logically and don’t ask unnecessary questions. As simple as it can get!

4. Personalized verification

We often talk about the importance of verification, to reinforce the security of your user acquisition system, avoid fraud, and get real users.

Typically, onboarding flows include email verification, to ensure the email entered actually belongs to the person submitting the form. Still, this is not the only type of verification, and you should carefully choose which one to use.

Other types of verification include SMS verification, IP matching, IP reliability, or identity proof, among others. Analyzing the pains and needs of your onboarding process will help you define what kind of verification you need.

  • Email verification. This is the most popular verification system in onboarding flows. Since the pair email and password is the most used one, verifying the email address has become a common practice nowadays. You may apply different types of email verification, such as filtering email aliases, disposable emails or free providers.

Additionally, you can implement email verification with one-time passwords (OTP) or magic links, both as a single verification factor or as a multi-factor verification strategy.

  • SMS verification. SMS verification follows the same pattern — you can implement it with one-time passwords or magic links that are sent to the user’s phone number.
  • IP analysis. There are other types of verification that can be executed on the background, without hurting user experience. One good example of this is analyzing the user’s IP for different purposes. You can analyze its scoring or see if it matches the user’s country, depending on your business needs.
  • Identity proof. Some businesses (especially in the sector of banking, finance, or insurance) require identity proof. This is usually done by applying KYC strategies, which ensure the real identity of the online user for top security. Normally, these onboarding forms include a step where users need to upload a valid government-issued document (such as national ID or passport).

5. Automatic login after signup

This simple and yet underused concept is key to favor user activation after signup.

Signing in in a new platform is considered a stressful practice, and takes precious time out of your users. Still, most onboarding flows require logging in right after the user entered their email and password.

Imagine you’re registering in a new platform: you fill in a form with email and password. Then, you email needs to be verified, so you switch places to your inbox to verify your email address. Right after this, your redirected to an additional form, where you need to enter your email and password, once again!

Sounds familiar? Standing for simplicity and rapidity favors the relationship between your users and your platform, so we recommend you skip this unnecessary step.

6. The gift of choice

Today, it is frequent to find many different ways of signing up in a new platform. While entering an email address and a password is the most frequently used method, it is not the only one. Social media signups represent an important number of registered users, due to the simplicity of the process. Some types of business can require entering a phone number instead of (or additional to) the email address.

If your business allows it, we recommend giving the gift of choice. Without overwhelming your users, displaying different choices to sign up can greatly help your numbers. If you opt for this, pay special attention to the design of your form. Displaying too many options, can be confusing — clearly state that the different systems are options, otherwise this practice can be counterproductive.

7. User activation

In most cases, onboarding users doesn't end at getting an account created. Setting an email and password is the first step and first contact between your users and your product, but getting them started is equally important.

If your users are already halfway there, why not take the chance to activate them? Strategies for user activation right after sign up highly depend on the type of platform you’re running, but we can define some general actions to get them started.

Many onboarding flows include a specific last step that requires users to start a project right away. This simple action may ensure users get to know your tool and start using it.

Other user activation methods include sending user journey emails based on the user activity, or specific tutorials or help guides, simply by adding integrations and automations.

Want to continue learning about user onboarding? Keep reading!

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