Broadly speaking there are 2 different approaches to User Onboarding:
- Either you allow users into your garden straight away to taste and explore the product before buying
- Or you fence the garden and run them through a setup before accessing the product.
Example 1: Netflix’s Closed Garden
The Onboarding of Netflix is quick and easy with the most basic information being asked to get started. A conversational tone and constant reassurance keeps users on the right path and builds trust. New users know what Netflix is about (on-demand TV series and Movies) when they get to start the app, so there is no need to trial the app before creating and account. This way Netflix knows the user a bit better and can target the more relevant content and offerings.
Example 2: Duolingo’s Open Garden
Duolingo is a language learning app that does exactly that with no fuss. As soon as users open the app they get started learning the language they want with clear descriptions and positive language. Duolingo puts all the importance on learning before having new users create their accounts.
Learning languages isn’t easy and there are many different approaches to it. That’s new users need a chance to see if the unique approach of Duolingo is something the buy into. Therefore an Open Garden works brilliantly.
After scanning the Onboarding of hundreds of web and mobile apps, I’ve noticed a couple of patterns which might help you to identify the right approach for your product.
|Closed Garden||Open Garden|
|Good for products which||Are Known||Are Unknown|
|Repackage known benefits/concepts||Are new inventions|
|Require user’s input to become usable||Don’t require user input to become usable|
|Pros||More info on the user is available upfront||Fast way to winning moments|
|Creates buy-in upfront||Avoids drop-offs early in funnel|
|Cons||Explorative users drop-off||Account creation and conversion further away|
|Less opportunities to convince the user||Communication to new users limited to in-app channels|
|Examples||Netflix (video streaming)
Spotify (music streaming)
Slack (team chat)
|duolingo (language learning on web)
Subway Surfers (Game)
Clash Royale (Game)