5 Best Practices for SaaS User Onboarding


As Product Designers, we often come across good software that suffers from poor user onboarding. This can have a detrimental impact on SaaS products since onboarding plays a crucial role in driving product adoption and user retention.

In this blog post, we will explore the significance of effective user onboarding for SaaS products. By the end, we will share 5 tips to help you enhance your onboarding process. So, let’s dive in!

The Importance of Getting Your SaaS User Onboarding Right

Firstly, user onboarding plays a vital role in building trust and demonstrating value to your new users. If your onboarding experience fails to communicate how your product can solve their problem, you run the risk of losing them right at the beginning.

What Should You Include in a Good Onboarding Flow?

In short, a strong onboarding flow should warmly welcome your users, reaffirm that your product addresses their specific problem, and highlight the valuable features and benefits it offers. Additionally, you should aim to activate your users by guiding them through their initial interaction with your product, reducing any friction associated with adoption.

Understanding User Onboarding as an Exercise in Orientation

Basically, when considering onboarding, it’s crucial to approach it as an exercise in orientation. Assuming that new users will figure out how to use your product on their own can be costly. In particular, avoid overwhelming them with too many choices or frustrating them with overlays and prompts.

Key Focus Areas for Successful Onboarding

To achieve effective onboarding, focus on the following key areas:

1. Deliver a Strong Personalised Journey:

To begin with, tailor the onboarding experience to each user, addressing their specific needs and pain points.

Later asks new users this question to personalise the experience

2. Demonstrate Value in Your Product:

Then, highlight your product’s key features and articulate the associated benefits, helping users see the value they can derive.

3. Enable User Success Visualisation:

Specifically, guide users to envision how your software can help them achieve their goals and solve their problems.

4. Get Users into Their First Workflow:

Facilitate users’ entry into the core functionality of your product, helping them take their first meaningful steps.

Now, let’s explore our top 5 tips to significantly improve your software onboarding:

1. Greet New Users:

Undoubtedly, one of the most important things you can do is welcome your new users with a warm message or video to make them feel at home and engaged from the beginning.

Welcome video example from Asana when user onboarding
Welcome video example from Asana

2. Showcase Your Product Value:

In order to get users to see the value as soon as possible, make sure to emphasise your software’s key features and articulate the associated benefits to motivate users.

This first line gets the user to instantly understand the value in the user onboarding
This first line gets the user to instantly understand the value in Canva

3. Use Progress Indicators and Checklists:

Employ progress indicators and checklists to provide clear direction, motivate users to complete tasks, and track their progress.

An example of a progress indicator from Asana's user onboarding
An example of a progress indicator from Asana’s user onboarding

4. Include a Product Walkthrough:

Offer users a guided tour of your product, helping them understand where key functionality resides and how to utilise it effectively.

5. Use Action-Driven Tooltips:

Assist users in completing tasks by presenting action-driven tooltips, hover states, and pop-ups that offer useful descriptions and guidance in context.

WordPress uses pop-ups to show users an example of how their text will look using that particular block

Why you need to improve your User Onboarding

In a nutshell, if you implement these best practices, you can significantly enhance your SaaS user onboarding process, leading to higher user engagement, adoption, and retention.

In conclusion, prioritising user onboarding in your SaaS product is crucial for driving user satisfaction and long-term success. 

By following the five best practices discussed in this blog post, you can create an exceptional onboarding experience that captivates and retains your users. 

Remember, a seamless user onboarding process sets the foundation for a strong customer relationship and helps users unlock the full potential of your software.

Need a hand?

For SaaS Founders who want to create a fast-growing software that users love

UserActive provides a team of SaaS design experts and a proven process, because to create an exceptional product, we know you need designers who also understand your business.

Click here to book a no-obligation call to see if we’re a good fit to help you and your team!

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