Growth occurs in two ways -

a) More people use your product

b) People never leave your product for another one.

Casey Winter talks about it in greater detail here about what a successful onboarding looks like.

The key takeaways from that essay are:

  1. Show product value as soon as possible.
  2. Reduce friction as much as possible in showing product value.
  3. Personalise the flow you show to a user based on their actions & drive more adoption.

As Casey says:

Onboarding is both the most difficult and ultimately most rewarding part of the funnel to improve to increase a companyโ€™s growth. And itโ€™s where most companies fall short. By focusing on your onboarding, you can delight users more often and be more confident exposing your product to more people.


While most startups are able to get users via paid or unpaid channels, where they falter are keeping them engaged throughout.

Onboarding == Retention

Hiten Shah points out in this tweet here that a great onboarding experience improves the activation rate of your product, but there's more. A killer onboarding experience can also improve your retention in the long run since these users have been continuously onboarded to more and more delight inside your product. ย 

Onboarding != Product tour

A common mistake startups make in designing an onboarding experience is showing the user every feature your product has. The consequence of that is them skipping it entirely & never seeing the value you intended to show in the first place. This the opposite of what you want.

A successful onboarding experience need not involve all the features your product has being pointed at to your users. What it should involve, however, are the things your users care about, the reason they came to try your product. Getting a user to the Aha! moment of your product is what one needs to be optimising for. ย Once the user has engaged in the core features, the goal then should be to continuously delight them with more value and nudge them to use the other great features in your product.

This results in value being delivered in an ongoing basis, making sure your users are always happy turning from customers to raving fans. ๐ŸŽ‰.


I saw how important onboarding, product adoption & good UX was at the startups I worked at in my previous roles as an engineer and realised I was deeply passionate about this topic. So much so that I set out to build Flowdash to help startups achieve the same faster, cheaper & better.

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