Mobile App Onboarding: Why Tutorials Matter

October 27, 2018

Mobile App Onboarding: Why Tutorials Matter

No matter how intuitive you think your app may be, users will still need to know how to use it. The onboarding process is essential for starting users off right, and a big part of that is the app tutorial. As a result, developers need to think about their tutorial not only as part of the app, but a part of their App Store Optimization.

Why is App Onboarding Important?

The onboarding process gives users the first look into your app after downloading. If it’s quick, easy to understand and engaging, they’ll be more likely to become consistent users. The onboarding process not only provides instructions that let users know how the app works, but they highlight its benefits and values. A good onboarding can have a powerful effect on your app’s retention rates. With a proper tutorial and onboarding, an app can increase retention by up to 50 percent, building relationships with users and providing a more positive experience. The tutorial is also a good time to show the user not only how they can make the app work, but how the app works for them. By demonstrating the app’s value as well as function, a tutorial can win over users who are just starting off with the app and make them excited for all it has to offer. For apps with multiple or complicated features, the tutorial helps users get acclimated to the app and understand everything it can do and how to do it. Even an app that seems straightforward and intuitive can still benefit from a quick prompt that helps users get started. Leaving users high and dry without any idea of where to start is a good way to frustrate them, which will just result in uninstalls and low retention rates. This is also true for mobile games. As mobile games do not include instruction manuals to explain the controls and mechanics of the game, a brief tutorial can help give users a general idea of how to play. This can easily be worked into the story of the game, or just presented as a quick walkthrough for first time users with easy to follow prompts.

Tutorial Best Practices

When designing an app tutorial, developers should consider some best practices to make the onboarding smooth and efficient. The tutorial should help ease users in, not overwhelm them with new information. Use screenshots and illustrations to quickly show how the app works, rather than provide lengthy text explanations for everything. Keep it quick, with progress indicators to let users know how close they are to completing it. Additionally, if the app requires a sign-up of some kind, users should be able to do it quickly. Providing them with the option to log in with social networks such as Facebook or Twitter provides a quick way for them to set up accounts and log in, in addition to building trust. On a similar note, if an app requires permissions such as accessing the phone’s contacts or camera, the tutorial should only ask for them when required. If an app asks for permission to access too many things at once, it will make users wary as well as frustrate them. Ask for the essential permissions first, then the extra things when the app needs to access them. If the tutorial can explain why it needs those permissions, that will help set users’ minds at ease and assure them there’s a reason for the access. Perhaps most importantly, the tutorial should emphasize the value of the app while highlighting its core features. Let the users know what the app does and how it does it. That being said, it should stick to the most important features so as to not overwhelm them with every detail. Further tutorial instructions for other features can be provided later as the user needs them. What does matter is that they understand not only what the app does, but what it does for them.

Tutorials and ASO

The app tutorial doesn’t launch until after the user has downloaded and opened the app, so it might seem like it has little effect on App Store Optimization. However, the tutorial serves an important role in onboarding users and getting them started using the app, rather than uninstalling it. Maintaining a consistent userbase is good for an app’s rankings, just as a high uninstall rate can have a negative impact. Additionally, if users find an app easy to start and use, they’ll be likely to mention that in any positive reviews. Good reviews and ratings are beneficial for any app, and the easier an app is to get started and use, the more likely users are to leave positive feedback. An app doesn’t succeed just when a user installs it. It succeeds when users keep coming back, using it frequently and (where applicable) spending money on it. When users start your app for the first time, it’s important that they have a positive experience with a good tutorial. Want more information regarding App Store Optimization? Contact Gummicube and we’ll help get your strategy started.