Oriented Mobile App Onboarding

By: Carol Vercellino, CEO & Co-Founder

The average app loses 77% of its users within the first 3 days of use.

But, if you’re in the process of app development, don’t lose hope just yet. Apps that are successful in retaining users from the very first visit follow this one simple method: benefits-oriented onboarding.

Benefits-oriented onboarding is just that – you focus on the benefits of your app, not the features. 

A feature is a part of your product or service, while a benefit is the positive impact it has on your customer.

So, your goal is to communicate to your users – in the first few moments of them engaging with your app – these three things:

  1. What does your app do?
  2. What value does the app bring to your user?
  3. How can your user integrate the app into their life?

Now, I know you might be thinking, isn’t that what the app description is for? But many users skip reading the app store description to dive right into your app, so your onboarding screens are a brief presentation to help your user understand what your app does.

So, when using the benefits-oriented onboarding method, here are the steps you should consider taking.


Share only 3 benefits of your app

Why 3? Information presented in groups of three sticks in our heads better than any other cluster of information. For example, consider “Stop, drop, and roll”, “Blood, sweat, and tears”, “Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness”. 

If you don’t want to bore your user or slow them down, avoid overwhelming them with every benefit your app has to offer. Choose the top 3, and then apply the “one slide, one concept” rule.

Apply the “one slide, one concept” rule

Keep each message in your onboarding process clear and focused. If you include too much information on one slide, your user will struggle to retain and remember what you said – possibly leading to a poor user experience.

Using one concept per slide helps your user digest every bit of information in your key message.

Keep it brief and offer a way out

Finally, above all, keep your onboarding brief and succinct. Focus on only providing the essentials so you don’t lose your user’s attention before they start using your app. 

And on every screen, give your users the option of exiting out of the onboarding process to go straight to using your app. Simply place an X in the top right-hand corner. Oftentimes, when users feel stuck in the onboarding process, they’ll close the app and move on to the next solution.


As you build out your onboarding process, go to the app store and check out what other successful apps do to see what works (or what doesn’t). In fact, we break down how the popular guided meditation app, Headspace, nails their onboarding process. Click the link below to watch it now.

And remember, keeping your onboarding process short, sweet, and simple will increase user retention and satisfaction. 


Watch our video on App Development Lessons from Headspace.