Some products take time to master. For example, HubSpot's software has an array of tools each possessing unique features and abilities. The interface can seem a little overwhelming for someone who's just getting started with it. That's why HubSpot provides onboarding specialists to help new customers learn how to use its tools and services.

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No matter how great a product is, you can't expect that every new user will navigate its features right away. For this reason, user onboarding is a key aspect of the customer journey. It saves users time from having to contact support teams with fundamental questions. And, that can be the difference between a satisfied customer and potential churn.

In this post, let's review what user onboarding is, then dive into some examples of real companies who execute it perfectly.

What Is User Onboarding?

User onboarding helps new users become accustomed to a product or service. Onboarding teams assist customers with creating and managing accounts, teaching them how to use relevant features, and explaining additional upgrades and actions that will help them achieve their goals.

In general, user onboarding should shorten the time it takes to learn the product. This lets customers obtain more value from your business and develop a new habit of using the product. By guiding them through these initial steps, you'll improve customer retention and minimize churn.

Below, we've curated a list of brands that have awesome user onboarding experiences. Use these examples when developing the onboarding process at your own business.

5 User Onboarding Examples

1. Hulu

Switching streaming services can be daunting. You have no idea what movies and shows are offered and it's frustrating to learn a new organization system.

Hulu simplifies this roadblock with its user onboarding process. First, when you create an account, you're immediately shown this page:


Source: Hulu

Hulu offers a 30-day free trial, but before beginning, you can select the plan you'd like to continue post-trial. But, don't worry, Hulu will remind you three days before your trial ends so you can decide whether to cancel or move forward with a paid plan. Once your account is created, you move onto the onboarding process depicted below.


Source: Hulu

Hulu wants to personalize your viewing experience and avoid any stress caused by its large library. So, it breaks content up into 21 categories. Then, Hulu suggests shows and movies based on your interests and preferences. This way, Hulu caters your experience to your personal interests and doesn't bore you with irrelevant options.

This onboarding process is simple, yet effective. Users are more likely to remain with a brand that personalizes its offers and makes operation easier for the user.

2. Duolingo

Duolingo helps customers learn a language with individually-set goals and fun, colorful prep questions. With 34 language options and a plethora of difficulty levels, it can be tough to get started. However, Duolingo's simple and effective onboarding process makes it easy to use.

As soon as you click "Get Started," you're brought to a page outlining every language offered by Duolingo as well as the number of users currently learning those languages. This shows new users the sheer volume of people dedicated to using Duolingo's services.


Source: Duolingo

After selecting a language, users answer a series of questions that help Duolingo personalize course materials. This includes creating a daily goal and understanding why the user is learning a language.

Duolingo-user-onboarding-2Source: Duolingo

After completing this, users can either jump into a course or complete a placement test to assess their level of expertise. Overall, this system ensures customers are put on a path that's tailored to their needs and makes sure they achieve short- and long-term success.

3. Slack

Slack is a popular messaging app that companies use to communicate internally. Since it simplifies communication, it makes sense that its onboarding is equally user-friendly. To start, you can either join an existing channel or create your own, like in the example below.


Source: Slack

Let's say you're creating a new workspace. After confirming your email address, Slack will open up its messaging platform. It will look something like the image below.




Source: Appcues

Slack walks you through onboarding with bots that reveal helpful, intuitive tips for using the app. You can even practice messaging and using different Slack features by direct messaging "Slackbot." This ensures your messages are private and can only be seen by you. Once you've gotten the hang of messaging, Slack then walks you through creating new channels and inviting team members to join your workspace.

4. Canva

Canva is a graphic-design site for designers whose expertise range from beginner to intermediate. With ready-made templates, fonts, images, graphics, and more, Canva is a great tool for those looking to create quality designs without complicated or expensive software.

Upon creating Canva account, users are asked what they're using the site for. This helps Canva accurately recommend design types and appropriate templates to fit users' needs.

Canva-user-onbaording-2Source: Canva

Next, users can get started designing. Based on the information you just provided, Canva recommends templates that are relevant to your goals.


Source: Canva

Users can search for whatever design they'd like, such as "resume" or "Instagram post." Canva will fill in appropriate templates that fill that need. Once users have selected a template, they can access the help bar at the bottom.


Source: Canva

Here, users can view tutorials and guides that teach them about the platform. And, these tools are included at the bottom of every page, making Canva's knowledge base and FAQ pages readily available to its customers.

5. Apple Music

Apple Music is a music and video streaming service created by Apple. Users can stream music and listen to existing or customized playlists. When customers first join, they're brought to this page in iTunes:


Source: iTunes

Users are shown exactly what they can gain from the platform and are offered a free three-month trial which is much longer than the typical 30-day trials offered its competitors. If users decide to try Apple Music, they're brought to this screen:


Source: iTunes

Similar to Hulu, users are shown a series of plans that they can join post-trial. Once selected, Apple Music starts tailoring the listening experience to the user. It asks about your favorite music genres and the artists that you enjoy listening to the most

Apple-Music-User-onboardingApple-Music-User-onboarding-2Source: iTunes

Apple Music's onboarding process parallels Hulu, having users curate their own experience by selecting their interests. The great thing about selecting artists is that users can keep clicking "Show More" to discover and choose their favorite ones. The more preferences users add, the better the suggestions Apple Music offers. Finally, when users have completed this part of onboarding, they will view a page that looks like this:


Source: iTunes

Apple Music tailors offerings based on what users selected within the "For You" tab. When scrolling, users see music categorized by favorite genres, relation to their favorite artists, and new releases.

For more tips on user onboarding, read about the sales to service handoff.

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 Customer Onboarding Templates

Originally published Sep 12, 2019 8:00:00 AM, updated June 15 2021


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