The term onboarding comes from the HR department. It was originally used to refer to new hires and having them “acquire the necessary knowledge, skills, and behaviors to become effective organizational members and insiders.” If you replace the aspect of new hires with new users the idea is exactly the same.
Think of it as part of the whole signing up user journey. Onboarding is part of the funnel and it’s part of the user’s first experience with you app. Onboarding experiences can be good or bad. However, I’ve found that app which see onboarding holistically within the whole picture – from getting the user to click the sign up CTA to the user using the product – have the best of experiences.
Let’s starts with the purpose of creating the onboarding experience. What does the user need? What kind of information do they need to acquire in order to be successful with using your product? Do they even need an account in order to use your product? If not that affects how the user. I don’t need an account to use wireframe.cc but, it is handy if I want to save my work. Since I don’t need an account, I can start using the app right away and it’s a pretty intuitive app.
The onboarding experience here is pretty minimal but I do have everything I need in order to use this product.