The goal of onboarding is to get new users acquainted with an interface. This comes in many different styles, and there is no right way to do it. But if you study how sites and apps do onboarding, you can pick up ideas for your own work.
1. Carousel Slides
Rotating carousel onboarding is hugely popular on mobile where screen space is limited. But this effect can work just as well on websites where you need to get information across quickly.
Check out this carousel slide demo created by Nick Wanninger to see what I mean.
2. React Daily UI
As a simple practice design Jack Oliver created this React Daily UI pen from scratch. And it’s one of the sleekest onboarding experiences I’ve seen.
The interface features dummy text since it’s not meant for practical, real-world use, but it is very clean and should leave enough room to fit pretty much anything into the page.
One thing to note is that I couldn’t get this working on mobile with swipes, and it seems only to recognize taps at the moment. But for a click-only solution, it’s really nice.
3. Onboarding Screens
Not only does this pen feature an incredible interface for onboarding, it also has custom animations to boot.
One nice addition to this interface is the blue next button at the bottom. This lets the user advance screen-by-screen with a big CTA in plain view. I’d bet this would increase the total number of people who convert and improves the quality of the experience overall.
This Boardal snippet is rather unique since it’s not something you often see.
It uses a modal window with onboarding content to help users get through the site faster. It’s a custom design created solely for testing, and it’s one of the coolest ways to improve the onboarding process.
Note this works best on a desktop because it relies on the modal effect(not ideal for smaller screens).
So if you like the design and want an easy way to improve onboarding for your site, then give Boardal a shot.
5. Guided Tour
Typically onboarding is considered a step-by-step process introducing new pages and features to the user. But I personally find guided tours a lot more useful.
The user can close the tour at any time should they get annoyed or not care anymore. This makes it an optional tour, so fewer people will be annoyed by the process.
Overall, this is my preferred onboarding method, although it takes a little more effort to set it up. But this demo at least gives you a template to start with.
6. Material Tour
One alternative tour method is the auto-advancing tour that highlights specific features.
The best example I found is this pen created by Gregor Adams. It’s based on the material guidelines and uses highlighted circles to showcase parts of the page. This technique is perfect if you have very complex interfaces with a lot of features.
By darkening the entire page, you bring focus to one area at a time. This grabs the user’s attention immediately, which is exactly what you need to do for good onboarding.
I know this won’t fit well on all websites, but if you like the interface, I highly recommend trying it.
7. Android App Onboarding
Mobile apps typically need the onboarding process more than websites. It’s common for mobile UI designers to cram features into the smaller screen, which can overwhelm users without a guided intro.
This onboarding guide by Mat Swainson is a small yet eloquent example of what can be done for smartphone apps.
It’s based on an Android model, but it’s certainly not the only style you can use. I like how it supports native swiping, which works even in mobile web browsers.
Plus, the small progress indicator at the top is a nice touch. Definitely a simple onboarding page but worth saving if you’re looking for inspiration.
8. Ionic Intro
There’s a lot you can do with Ionic and this pen is one great example.
Ionic is primarily used for mobile development, and it works really well for mobile websites too. I can’t say this onboarding screen would fit every website, but it’s a solid choice if more than 50% of your audience comes from mobile.
9. Vertical Form
With a slight jelly UI animation and a real simple design, this vertical form is a unique treat.
However, you could take this interface and really make it your own without much effort, so it does leave a lot to the imagination.
10. Guided Tour Tooltip
Here’s one more guided tour example, but this one uses a full tooltip box fixed on the page.
If you check out the snippet you’ll see it’s not built into any specific interface. Rather it’s just a floating tooltip with advice and progress steps for the user.
Combining this UI with some fixed tooltip positioning script would let you easily move this thing around your interface with tooltips pointing towards all of your major features. This template will take some real customization to get it working, but for a simple UI, it’s beautiful.