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Mobile Developers Should Get Accustomed with Onboarding Techniques

· Mobile Zone

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Creating walkthrough, offering user guidance, and issuing the tips in a contextual manner are some of the techniques of onboarding. The core function of onboarding is to offer guidance for the beginners of the application or website. Initially, we were doing it by offering some guide documents mostly in e-book style formats or in web page style format in help menu.

With the pace of time, we went to the mobile landscape and touch gestures have induced enough intricacy in usage of an application, be it a smaller one or a highly complex one. Take for example, recently developed air gestures, body gestures, and voice commands are much complicated for a common-man to comprehend without prior knowledge.

When We Need Onboarding Techniques

Thus, onboarding techniques are essential to learn and implement in recent advanced mobile application development for all sorts of mobile app developers.

In short, we need onboarding techniques in following conditions or use cases:

  • In unfamiliar interactions or UIs

  • When default state is empty on UI

  • When app is part of a suite of products

  • When app relies on personal info

Important Types of Onboarding Techniques

However, there are plenty of types of onboarding techniques prevailing in the software market, mainly for the desktops, gadgets, web, and mobiles, but we would mainly focus on the three important types or categories of onboarding techniques such as:

  • Benefit-oriented

  • Function-oriented

  • Progressive type

Let’s check them one-by-one.

Benefit-oriented Onboarding Techniques

As its name suggests, it describes the benefits offered by the app and suggests users to take advantages of the app using it in a particular way or manner for each benefit. Mobile app developers should be careful while using this technique and those concerns are:

  • Only present key benefits, not too little, not too much so user overwhelmed by

  • Focus on only one benefit or concept at time so users never feel any confusion

  • Prioritize the benefits you want to include in your onboarding based on user behavior data or user experience surveys

  • Keep consistent vocabulary or phrases in your onboarding so user feels familiarity

  • Keep onboarding messages short and sweet

Function-oriented Onboarding Techniques

Many apps are intricate at functionality and user needs right coaching to use its key functions. Therefore, mobile app developers should include onboarding techniques accordingly. These coach-mark onboarding techniques describe that what the key functionality in app is, when to use it, and how to use that key functionality appropriately.

There are some concerns when you put function-oriented onboarding in your app like:

  • Don’t try to explain conventional things in UI, as most of the users know why they are there, instead focus on unusual and innovative functions you have included.

  • When your app has initial screen empty, you should focus on getting started onboarding because if they don’t get any clue they will abandon the app.

  • Many app need log-in or signup process before start to use them. In such case create onboarding that explain required info regarding to the app and why users should log-in or signup upfront.

Progressive Onboarding Techniques

We know the psychology of people while they intended to learn something that they learn things rapidly by doing so if your onboarding helps them during their journey in the app usage, they can accomplish very complex tasks easily. However, progressive onboarding is tough and challenging job for designers and programmers at technical point of views. As progressive onboarding is always contextual and happening in real-time as it is solely based on the interactions of the users.

Therefore, progressive onboarding should never use for easy and short workflows, instead spare them for intricate workflows only. Same the way, spare them for the hidden functionality and mostly for the complex gesture driven applications on mobiles and other gadgets.

The Mobile Zone is brought to you in partnership with Strongloop and IBM.  Visually compose APIs with easy-to-use tooling. Learn how IBM API Connect provides near-universal access to data and services both on-premises and in the cloud.


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