One of the most frequent questions we consistently get from UX and customer success teams trying to improve their SaaS onboarding experience is:

Which software companies have the best user onboarding experiences? Who can we turn to for some inspiration when it comes to providing a delightful user onboarding experience?

The answer isn’t always so straightforward.

When it comes to onboarding a new user, then the experience must be obsessively aligned with providing that first moment of value. Or as we call it, the ‘Aha!’.

Problem is, every SaaS is unique in that sense. For example, it’s so much easier to show value for an app like Slack as opposed to an enterprise software that requires a bunch of integrations to see any value from.

Nonetheless, we have studied several fast-growing SaaS products to give you the inspiration to nail that vital initial user onboarding experience.

User Onboarding Experience Breakdown #1: FullStory

FullStory records and reproduces real user experiences on your site, helping you support customers, boost conversions, and debug faster.

Here are a few things we’d like you to take note of from Fullstory’s user onboarding experience:

The landing page has a strong value proposition, with a clear CTA to signup for free. The highlighted ‘sign up free’ CTA pushes users in a subtle way to dive quickly into FullStory and initiate that first contact with the product.

User Onboarding Experience_Full Story

As the signup flow stops momentarily waiting for email validation, FullStory takes a chance to learn more about you with a beautiful ‘How did you hear about us’ modal.   

User Onboarding Experience_Full Story

FullStory welcomes you back once you finish validating your email

User Onboarding Experience_Full Story

The signup flow continues with persona-based questions. This helps FullStory enhance your experience as they continue learning about your use cases.

User Onboarding Experience_Full Story

FullStory instantly pushes for activation. You will get almost no value without installing the script, and therefore they have included this step in the signup onboarding experience.

What we love about FullStory’s onboarding experience:

  • As a product with many use cases and various user personas, FullStory excels in learning about each signup. This helps them personalize the onboarding for each persona and give the utmost value for the specific use case.
  • Pushes for activation (installing the JS code) early on during the signup process. This helps FullStory show value the minute the user lands on the main product UI as they instantly start seeing real-time sessions playbacks.
  • Beautiful trustworthy UI.
User Onboarding Experience Breakdown #2: Airtable

Airtable works like a spreadsheet but gives you the power of a database to organize anything. It’s a productivity and workflow alternative of spreadsheets.

Here’s a couple of screenshots from their signup flow.

 

An intro onboarding video to reiterate value and get you excited for that first-run product experience.

Just like the FullStory example, Airtable tries to understand user personas and consequently the use case. 

Empty states where there’s no data are a great opportunity to drive action.

 

What we love about Airtable’s onboarding experience:

  • Gets you into the UI without email verification – which results in less friction.
  • Takes advantage of empty states to push user action to create a new base.
  • User persona questionnaire to learn more about user use cases. 
  • Resource and Learning tab to help users ease into the UI.
  • Simple and easy to use UI.
User Onboarding Experience Breakdown #3: StoryChief

StoryChief is a content marketing software for startups, SEO marketers and editorial teams.

Here’s a quick breakdown of their user onboarding flow:

Use of customer testimonial in the signup flow to demonstarte trust.

Welcome Tutorial to Engage and Educate

StoryChief onboarding experience comes with a welcome modal to get you started.

StoryChief is using Zeigranik Effect i.e. A Psychological Effect

StoryChief triggers a checklist that drives users to take a linear path towards activation.

What we love about StoryChief’s onboarding experience:

  • Efficient usage of testimonials in the signup process.
  • A beautiful and brief product tour to get you started with their UI.
  • Takes advantage of onboarding checklists to accelerate user activation.
User Onboarding Experience Breakdown #4: Feedier

Feedier lets you collect valuable feedback by rewarding your customers, easily.

Here’s a couple of screenshots from their onboarding flow:

Feedier has a checklist. This a simple to-do list to make you act.

We love checklists -especially native ones- and that makes onboarding easier. This is one of the best practices to follow. They even give you a video for each step. Isn’t that great?

Users love welcome boards

A beautiful modal to welcome new signups and opt-in the product tour.

 The above picture is an onboarding email

Feedier supplements their user onboarding flow with timely email onboarding sequences to enhance the overall user experience.

What we love about Feedier’s onboarding experience:

  • Native checklists to get you set up through the journey of activation.
  • Event-driven onboarding email sequence to keep pushing users through the activation process.
User Onboarding Experience Breakdown #5: Intercom

Intercom is a leading customer messaging platform.

An engaging website with a clear CTA to get started easily with just a click of a button.

Intercom pre-qualifies users during the signup process.

Intercom welcomes users with a simple modal to reiterate value.

Users land on a native get started page with clear steps on how to move forward with the activation process.

 

What we love about Intercom’s onboarding experience:

  • Unbundling the Intercom product brings focus. They have a complicated product, but they let the user focus on one product at a time.
  • Reiterates the value multiple times in the signup process.
  • A beautiful native ‘Get Started’ page that is both conclusive and helpful to users to push for that next vital action within the app. 
Wrap Up

What can be learned from these 5 companies in terms of a great first-run product onboarding experience?

  • The onboarding process starts right from the landing page – so make sure your value proposition is clear.
  • If your product attracts different types of user personas or can be used in various use cases, then make sure to include personalization in the onboarding process. Grab more info about your users and adjust your onboarding flow accordingly.
  • Get users to that initial ‘Aha!’ moment as soon as you can in the onboarding flow. If your product requires an essential integration before you can show value, then push for activation during the signup process.
  • Use ‘Get Started’ pages or onboarding checklists to help guide users through the activation process.
  • Take advantage of empty states in your product whenever you can. These empty states are a great way to natively push for user action.

Which one of the above best practices are you going to implement next? Do you have more examples? Feel free to share below.

About the Author

Yazan Sehwail is the Co-Founder of Userpilot, and has more than 6 years of UX & Product Development experience. He is currently helping 200+ SaaS companies improve user onboarding and increase product adoption.

Featured Image Credit: Photo by Taras Shypka on Unsplash