How to Power User Onboarding with Small Wins
Onboarding new customers is like teaching kids how to swim. You want everyone to be a future Olympian but have to start from scratch with how to blow bubbles in the kiddie pool first. The big problem with mastering a new skill is that the kiddie pool is frustrating when that’s not your primary goal. When you’re learning something new and you don’t have a lot of experience, it’s easy to get discouraged and give up. Wistia’s CEO Chris Savage says that the best way to encourage people to learn something new is to change the shape of the learning curve.
The most important component of learning something new is setting small goals on the road to achieving a big one.
Onboarding is all about coaching users to achieve their goal, from the kiddie pool to swim floaties and beyond. Design and communicate a series of small wins to build and maintain motivation. Here’s how to get started.
They provide a mini coding project to make it feel like you can actually complete something. By the end of this assignment, you’ll have a completed project that’s unique to you. It’s like an amuse-bouche to get you hungry for more.
There’s a bar at the bottom of the screen that indicates your progress as you scroll through their recommended artists. But they also don’t give up too easily on the less motivated folks like me who clicked “Done” after choosing 5. They keep up the encouragement with an offbeat mini-incentive to finish the task.
This is truly a small win from the user’s perspective. But it’s a fun way to get a little more invested in the app and brand that pays off to reach the larger goal of keeping up with concerts better.
It’s a simple message that provides not only a positive psychological boost for the reader but also a valuable alert. AddThis knows that their customers’ big, hairy goal is to grow their audiences and celebrating a small win like a spike in new visitors helps you feel like you’re moving forward.
Consider designing and orchestrating some of these small wins as part of the initial onboarding experience.
“Here’s the secret: You can change the graph of happiness to skill learning if you can measure improvement in smaller increments, deriving joy from each achievement along the way.”By setting small goals, you can feel more joy and thus, motivation, even at a low experience level. Instead of a slog, the onboarding experience should feel like barrier-free advancement.
Provide a Small MilestoneWe all tend to approach motivation with the Big, Hairy, Audacious Goal in mind, whether we’re product-makers or consumers. It’s all about running the marathon, getting rich, learning French, nabbing the promotion rather than all the little steps in between. But as it turns out, the thing that motivates us most is small wins. For one, it boosts our mood. One study asked employees what affected their mood during their day. When they made progress towards a work-related goal, they felt happy. What’s particularly surprising was that in 28% of these instances, the mood-boosting step forward didn’t even majorly affect the progress of the project. We love to make progress, even if the win is not that important. That provides the motivational fuel to keep going. Getting customers to experience meaningful progress in your product requires their activity and engagement. That feels like a chicken-or-egg problem when they don’t even want to use the product yet! As CEO of Chameleon Pulkit Agrawal argues, you can’t assume that people want to learn how to use your product.
“Users don’t churn because they can’t figure it out — they churn because they don’t want to.”At the very beginning of the product journey, provide smaller goals to get people a little more excited about figuring stuff out.