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Product Review: LoungeBuddy and the importance of a good onboarding experience -

Product Review: LoungeBuddy and the importance of a good onboarding experience

A good onboarding experience can make a difference between success and failure. Onboarding is particularly important in mobile apps, when many times users are downloading an app on the fly for an immediate need. If they’re lucky, the download will take a minute or so, so any step you add to the onboarding experience dramatically increases the chances that the user will never become active.

This issue came up recently when I downloaded LoungeBuddy. LoungeBuddy is an app that helps you find airport lounges. If you’re a scrappy startup and you have to travel, long layovers are inevitable, and lounges are the only place where you can do actual work. LoungeBuddy is a very straightforward app – I input my itinerary and airline status and it maps the lounges around me, with cost, amenities, and reviews.

LoungeBuddy has 2 key features of good onboarding experiences:

  • It is usable without registration
  • It only asks for an email once it’s absolutely required, and then follows up by email (it’s a lot easier to complete registration on a laptop)

And it has one thing that annoys me – an upfront tutorial. If your app requires a tutorial (and UX guys will tell you it shouldn’t), that tutorial should be contextual. The chances that I will remember all 6 steps of your tutorial are close to zero, especially when all I want is to USE the app. If you think there are steps or features that require assistance, you should only highlight them when I’m actually going to use them.

Here are the screenshots. As I open the app, all it asks me is my name. Quick and easy.

LoungeBuddy Onboarding Name

Then comes the tutorial. Ugh! Five screens that I CANNOT skip, including a useless one telling me I’m ready. Thanks! I was ready five screens ago.

LoungeBuddy Onboarding Tutorial LoungeBuddy Onboarding Ready

This is more like what I would like to see instead – a contextual help when I might actually need it.

LoungeBuddy Onboarding Contextual Tutorial

The app is actually good. I found it immediately useful and will likely get better as it gets more reviews. That tutorial was unnecessary.

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