Discover 3 most common signs of poor user onboarding

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1. Users are not returning to your app

Bad onboarding is one of the main reasons why users quit the app, and never come back. AppVirality shares the same view. In its blog, it says that unsatisfactory onboarding may ruin the users’ first impression in the app, and as a result, they never come back again.


A great first impression after opening the app for the first time is crucial to create a bond. Otherwise, you risk that your users will fall into the category of 25% of people who abandon the app right after the first session.

2. Users do not want to sign up or log in

If your app requires a registration, but the number of registered users doesn’t come close to the number of downloads by far, the problem may lie in bad onboarding.

As registration is a commonplace for almost every initial guide, its wrong design may discourage the people right during filling out the form. There are more reasons behind:

Too much input data required

The more information you ask from the users, the less likely they will be willing to share them with you.

UX Planet recommends adding only the essential fields to the sign up form. This will not only save time but also reduce the risk of errors.

If you by any means cannot avoid a comprehensive form, split it into more steps, and group the interrelated fields in a single category. Example:

Long sign-up form divided into more steps. Source: UX Planet

The more you want to know the less you find out. Or you will have to pay the price for it. This statement is also supported by A/B tests carried out on sign-up forms. Expedia, for instance, lost almost €10m in a year just because company name was a required field.

Marketo has also undergone tests on its registration forms. The results showed that price for registration using long sign-up forms was 25% higher than for those with only five fields.

Based on Marketo’s experience, the more you want to know the more you have to pay. Source: Venture Harbour

Try to minimize the non-essential fields. Preferably, the registration form should consist of only one or two optional fields.

Also try to use only one column. Even such nuances may raise the sign-up rate because multiple columns may seem chaotic and discourage the user from the registration.

Try to avoid forms with more than one column. Source: UX Planet

You do not use social logins

Social login is an effective tool how to achieve quick and successful registration. By signing up with Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, or Twitter account, most of the input fields are already prefilled, reducing the users’ effort.

Source: ConversionXL

Statistically speaking, 77% of users believe that social login is a great solution, and they would appreciate it on any website and web service.

Nevertheless, do not forget to ensure your users that their personal data from social networks is safely stored.

3. Users skip the guide

Removing the “Skip guide” button doesn’t solve the problem. On the contrary, it may cause more problems because the impossibility to skip the guide is one of the most common user onboarding mistakes.


If your car breaks down, you don’t drive to the junkyard right away, but you try to repair it. You find the defect part and replace it. The same applies also for the not-working user onboarding.

An insight into the analytics of your user onboarding tool will help you find out at which steps the users quit the guide in most cases. What follows is the thorough analysis.

There may be more reasons why people skip your onboarding. The following may be at fault:


Onboarding should combine a user-friendly graphical environment with apt and short texts. At the same time, users should find preferably a single hint on each screen.

More hints on the screen at the same time could confuse the user. Using multiple tooltips is also a common practice. However, these have to be personalized.

Example: One tooltip will be displayed for a beginner during his or her first visit, another one pops out for the more experienced user, when he or she visits the app for the fifth time, and shows him advanced settings.


One of the culprits of skipping the guide may be also the high number of steps. In general, it is advisable to approach the mobile onboarding differently as in case of guides for desktop programs or web apps.

Source: Hipwee

The biggest limitation applies to onboarding of mobile apps due to the limited space on screen. In mobile guides, the path to experiencing the “Aha moment” must be short and straight.

The user onboarding for desktop devices, however, can be divided into more steps. Consequently, this delays the delivery of values.

In terms of recommended content, UX Planet shows the onboarding process used by Instagram and Apple Music as an example. Both of them have three screens between the first opening and its home page, which guide the users through the sign-up process, and show them the main features of the app.

Considering the number of steps, Miller’s law of the magical number 7 ± 2 can also come in handy. Based on this law, the maximum number of steps should not exceed 5-9, with 5 being the best option.

Wrong form of the guide

For some services, it may be smarter to use educational bubbles. On the other hand, an interactive tutorial may be more suitable for other ones.


If you are about to introduce more complex user onboarding consisting of multiple steps (screens), choose bubbles, pop-up windows, or context hints instead of tutorials.

The users actually do not want to read the texts in the tutorial. They want to get to the point asap, i.e. to use the app. They can learn how to master it along the way.


Please, consider all the above mentioned shortcomings a suggestion what you should focus on if your onboarding doesn’t do its job. The analytical indicators will reveal the real reasons of its malfunction. These can be obtained by any user onboarding tool.

Bear in mind that very common user onboarding issue is its bad timing. If you display otherwise a useful guide at the wrong time, the users are most likely to close it.

As Peter Šimún, YesElf co-creator, describes „the problem of bad timing is that if you start to onboard the user too early, he or she closes it. But if you start with the onboarding too late, the user may abandon the app.”

If you show the user maybe not a perfect guide at the right time, he or she may benefit from it far more. Of course, the best-case scenario is when the user finds a useful and well-prepared guide at the right time. And YesElf is here to help you with this task.

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