Here's the thing. Building a good product is not enough. You need to detail what gravitates around it, using strategies like branding. Today we talk about onboarding. What is it? To put it simply, it is all the things you put in place to accompany your user before, during and after using your product. I emphasize the fact that it is past, present and future), not just before using it. If it was, it would appear once.
Why is it necessary?
Well, first of all, it makes all the difference. I’ve you ever notice that sometimes you think that because someone knows you, she has to guess what you like, or what to do in a particular moment. But when it does not happen you get mad?
« You should know what I want! Look at the Jeffersons! They always finish each other sentences. » (Marriage... I know).
Well, it’s the same for a product, it’s not because you understand your product, that people will. Onboarding is only about the user interacting with you.
People do not think like you, never. - Charles Moukory
(I’m so fancy ‘im quoting myself)
Even if you think you have the best user experience in the world, it does not matter. The thing is, the user makes the UX, not the other way around. Let's say you spend months on a project interviewing, testing, prototyping. Saying your user will do this and act like that. When releasing, he does the exact opposite! congratulations you just got Ux'ed.
Users are a**holes is some way, but still, we love them ❤️
We Designer can only state a path. The interaction with a user within this path is called onboarding.
They need reassurance. You have to show them how to do it (pretty much like a baby) even if it’s the simplest thing in the world. Let me give you an example. I tried two writing apps lately: bear and IA writers.
Bear versus IA Writers
I first tried Bear. I opened it, really good UI, minimalist, it was nice. And the first thing I saw was a warm welcome message followed by a tutorial on how to use the app, step by step.
Yes, it’s a freaking writing app, I just need to punch my keyboard repeatedly to write things. Nonetheless, it feels good to get help, because I feel the guidance. I’m more aware that real people are behind this product and not a machine. It creates great trust with the product. It's obvious to say having the trust of a client is crucial. Right?
Few days after I land on this app named IA writing. The app was number one in the app store with the approval of Huffington Post, New York Times etc. It’s THE APP for writers. I was looking forward to discovering this app because « it looked famous » and when I opened it well…
The UI was a little less than Bear but that was not the problem. I opened the app and they gave me a blank page straight ahead without explanation. I know I'm supposed to write, I chose to get a writing app myself.
I can tell you this. The Bear experience and IA writing was day & night because of the onboarding. IA Writing is maybe a good, even a better app, but I can't tell because I stayed 5 minutes on it.
Caring and not caring
I like to make the difference between two employees when you buy some coffee. There is the one that will say hi to you with boredom without looking at you. The other will welcome you gracefully with a kind smile, asking you about your day and how you feel. He will ask you random small talk questions like your opinion about the weather.
Well, We all prefer the second guy anytime. He even makes the coffee taste better. This second guy is onboarding, he is the interaction you need, making the difference.
So if you are building a product makes sure to accompany your user all the step of the way. Even if it the simplest thing such as writing a note. It changes everything...