User Onboarding Done Right: Using The Power of Story

User onboarding is perhaps the most important piece of the entire customer conversion process. Doing it successfully means using the right tools, doing the right planning and understanding the overall objective of the process.

Feb 28, 2019

It's a common problem, you know that the signup process for new users on your site/app is incredibly important. But, you're struggling with building the right experience.

it's intimidating because its a multi-step process—not a "one size fits all" solution—that needs to account for your user's mindset and goals, along with the objectives of your company.

So how do you create the perfect onboarding experience?

Your Product tells a story.

Think about it, a story is composed of a beginning, a middle, and an end. Like a great narrative, your onboarding should tell a story through three key steps.

Tell a Story
Tell a Story

Step 1) The "Hook": Your Value Proposition

In any good story, the introduction is about setting up the characters. Not giving too much information, the right details at the right moment.

The goal is to hook the readers into the story and help them get an idea of what's to come.

In the same way, you need to finesse your new users. First, just like the beginning pages of a book, you 'hook' them with your tagline/headline. But this is just a tease that lets them know "this product is for me. "

Step 2) Character Development: Introduce Your Features

Once you've hooked your readers, the next thing a good author does is move to initial character development.

With onboarding, this is where you introduce your key features and how they relate to your users goals, etc.

At Fiction, we follow this process:

  • Identify the 3 key features that help new users "get it"

  • Create three panels (seen directly after signup) that walk the users through the process of setting up these three things

  • Congratulate the users on their accomplishment (from here we can move to Step 3)

Step 3) The Plot: Demonstrate Value

  • Setup - talk about how a plot is where the rubber the meets pavement. Now its time to demonstrate value with follow up emails and comms.
  • Use the results of step 2, to both articulate value and to encourage further engagement into your "story"


At first it's hard to understand the right onboarding approach. But mentally it helps if you realize its just story writing.

Some of the biggest product growth comes from refining your product story.

It could be as minimal as changing the hook or showing the right features… but once it clicks, growth occurs.