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Onboarding teardowns (useronboard.com)
210 points by dv_says on Dec 14, 2015 | hide | past | web | favorite | 60 comments

Hi all! I'm the person behind this site -- if any of you have any questions or withering critiques, send 'em here! I will be watching it all day.

I love the site, but fyi the teardowns are hard to work with on mobile (android chrome nexus5). It jumps around when I hit next, the icons are very small and require a zoom each time, touch gestures on the images do seemingly random things (sometimes zooms, sometimes scrolls, sometimes just jumps around, not sure why). I end up zooming in to touch a button, then when I tap it, it moves so the image takes up the screen and I can't scroll away from it to see the whole image or press the next button.

It's sad because the best times for me to look at it is on my phone and it's incredibly good content. It still seems okay on larger screens.

Please understand, I'm not dissing your site. I only give (hopefully useful) feedback because it's awesome.

I totally hear you, and a fix will be in soon! Thank you very much for the respectful help.

It would be nice to list tear downs in the order in which they were reviewed - so I can read new ones quickly when I visit. Looks like current list is alphabetically sorted.

Ah, good call! I will def add that to the list.

Going through top 4-5 pages, I noticed that slides after 80 randomly stop working (just blue background). Click next a few more times and 9X works again... (evernote did it for example)

Hmm, I'm not sure why that would be. Could you tell me which browser you're using?

Same for me on Firefox/OSX.


One of my favorite blogs without a doubt, been reading your onboards since the beginning.

Good lookin' out, homie!

I would love to know if and how any of the sites reviewed reacted?

None of these sites are in a vacuum. Would love to see a few of them get reviewed again in the future to see if they got better or worse. Slack, Basecamp, Gmail as examples of example of small, medium and large sites.

Very, very few of the product teams have reached out, interestingly enough. The ones that have have usually been along the lines of "yeah... we're working on that..."

As for re-reviewing them, thats definitely something I'd like to get to at some point. For now, though, I'm just a single person and can only review so many as it is!

Great stuff. Had fun reading a few of them. This is a fun project. The scarams is strong, pretty much align with me signing up with a few of these services at the beginning "wtf" moment.

One quick note: I noticed you are blurring sensitive info (for example in Hulu's case) and I recommend you don't do that. Just capture the screenshot before you enter the info. There are techniques to recover blurred text and your blurred text are not fully covered up so you may end up leaking the info.

Thanks for the tip, and I'm happy to hear you're enjoying the teardowns!

I think this http://i.imgur.com/bgAJfwI.png is not something us iOS developers have any control over. It is a message that automatically will pop up upon starting the app, as opposed to the location message when we are asking for the location. (This one is saying the app might use it in the background).

I don't think this is the case. On iOS 8.0+ there's a method on `CLLocationManager` called `requestAlwaysPermission` that causes this popup to appear. I'm not positive about older iOS versions, but I thought they asked for permission when you started using `CLLocationManager`.


After searching around a bit it seems that you are right. Time to update our code then.

I think the best practice there is to "prime" the user before they see the iOS permission prompts. Something like "your phone will now ask for permission to access your location. We need this to do x,y,z.."

Sure, but my point is that for this very specific one (app may use location in the background) we are unable to do the priming as this one will be displayed by the app automatically (as opposed to most/all other such popups).

Right, that makes sense. Wasn't thinking about the consequences of it being the background location prompt specifically

That's just an extra step sadly. But yeah

Some kind of datatable showing key observable metrics would be great.

Hmm, any suggestions on what those metrics would be?

most viewed, most likes and newly added will be awesome.

Copy that. Thanks for the feedback!

This was/is very cool! I'm going to keep coming back :)

Great! Please do!

Fabulous work! Love your attention to detail. Kudos for not polluting my history with each slide. Here: have an Internet!

Thank you for the internet!

Probably my favorite site ever made (after Hacker News) haha.

The only thing I hate is that they are too slow to make new onboarding teardowns!

My favorite - how they criticize Apple Music's onboarding process: https://www.useronboard.com/how-applemusic-onboards-new-user...

That is rad, rad, rad to hear. It totally made my day.

Apple Music - yeah, and they/he/she didn't even't get to actually start using that weird app.

Netflix is an example of a trend that I hate, where it is hard to find the sign in button. One other offender that comes to mind is Crashplan, I actually had to google "Crashplan login" to find the page. Lastpass does this too where you actually have to cancel toward the end of the installation to proceed because the installer assumes you are a new user.

Maybe not directly related but when you go to download Chrome from chrome.com it forces you to watch an animation first, very unnecessary and frustrating.

Onboarding should take existing users into consideration and let them easily log right in.


This is easily one of my favorite sites.

Every startup should check out (and learn from) these onboarding teardowns — they're awesome.

High five, Hannah!

Love this site. It's amazing how many steps users have to go through to start using even simple apps. (It actually made me feel better about my app-- not that the on boarding is perfect, just nice to realize that I'm not alone.)

Sam-- any thoughts on how many screens someone should have to go through, or tips for reducing that number?

Or, if perhaps sometimes it's better to do something in multiple screens that many of us developer types would group onto one screen (Slack comes to mind here)?

Thanks for your contributions to making software easier to use.

Agh, I hate to give you a glib answer here, but I'd have to say "as many screens as it takes to reliably progress people forward."

I tend to think less in terms of screens and more in user momentum -- how quickly and substantially are they making progress in what they set out to do when they signed up?

I notice how most of those "onboardings" don't even suggest you read the EULA. That's scary. There are a lot of EULAs out there to which you really don't want to agree.

Yeah I am definitely not going to pore over thousands of words in an intentionally-obtuse legal document just to check out Periscope or whatever.

I had no idea what "onboarding" was until I clicked the link. I feel incredibly enlightened now. GUIs are so important, but it seems like properly designing a clean and straight-forward GUI is almost a cult movement rather than a mainstream movement.

Welcome to the party, friend!

I'm assuming the big name products here have carefully measured, A/B tested, etc. every screen and they are at their best (other than Apple Music, which is a whole other creature). That said, product teams should still periodically audit onboarding content, ideally with a set of fresh eyes. Does everything still make sense? Is there a logical flow from A to B?

It would have been interesting to be "a fly on the wall" and see how some of these evolved over time. I suspect some of the oddities initially started with a good set of screens, but then a new piece was later tacked on without a full audit or without the resources to change everything else.

Yes, totally agreed. I would love to see how these flows are performing from a conversion/retention standpoint, in particular the more... perplexing parts.

Great site. Love that it's more than simple, glancing criticism and actually offers suggestions for improvements. Well done.

Couldn't agree more. Forwarded it along to my team at work; I'm sure the designers will enjoy some of the most "painful" on-boarding experiences.

Thank you for spreading the word!

Thanks, I try!

Love it, your site could work better on mobile though, especially making sure those navigation buttons are big enough to hit.

Yeah, totally true. It's high on the list for the design overhaul!

@dv_says Thank you so much for sharing this!

I thought Quora's onboarding was: (1) question mark share equals one; (2) close tab; (3) hover over the link and don't click. I didn't even know these screens existed.

I was surprised to not see Facebook in the list. Or that not a “web app” in peoples’s minds?

Oh, it definitely is. I just haven't gotten to it yet. Slingshot was a Facebook product, though: http://www.useronboard.com/how-slingshot-onboards-new-users/

Does this site get you quite a few consulting clients, or is it more word of mouth?

I'm not sure I follow -- what's the difference between the two, specifically?

Do you get clients directly from your site?

Or do most of your clients come from referrals or recurring work from existing clients?

What software do you use to create your teardowns with?

I found the Ashley Madison one quite fun to read :)

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