How to Smash the Onboarding of New DApp Users
Have you ever started using an exciting new service or app only to get stuck at the first couple of screens? Perhaps your ID wasn’t accepted, or there was an unexpected glitch with the log-in process that left you inputting the same data over and over again? We’ve all been there. How long did you keep trying before you gave up? Did you head to a competitor instead? More often than not, the answer is ‘yes.’
But what if you were also a newbie in a given area and you found yourself getting stuck at the first hurdle? I’m talking specifically about the DApp market here - which has been rising exponentially over the past few years. However, despite growing popularity, it’s still a nascent industry and many new users struggle to get to grips with what it offers. The trouble often lies with ineffective onboarding processes which fail to meet these users where they’re at.
In the below blog post, we’ll walk you through some of the essential things to consider in an onboarding process for a DApp. Bear in mind that here, we’re speaking specifically about a target audience that is new to DApps, and perhaps DeFi more generally.
1. Use the right terminology for your audience
Ditch the jargon and don’t over-promise. It may sound obvious, but it’s important to speak the language of your customers. If you were creating a DeFi product for seasoned investors, you wouldn’t have to explain to them the intricacies of a smart contract.
However, if you’re creating a platform for people who are new to DApps, be sure to meet them where they’re at. Explain what they need to do in simple terms, as you guide them through your product. Where there are terms that they may not understand, provide brief explanations or links to a handy Glossary or How To Guide.
The key here is to really take the time to understand your audience and conduct user testing to see what language you should use to appeal to them.
Videos are great resources when it comes to user onboarding. But remember to keep them short and snappy. Even if your user doesn’t have time to engage with your DApp right away, if they see someone else quickly reach their Aha moment, then they will remember it.
2. Make wallets as simple as possible
Most DApps rely on Web3 wallets, such as MetaMask and WalletConnect for user authentication. Many newcomers to the world of Web 3.0 can be overwhelmed by where to begin when setting up their wallets. The key is to keep things simple, and ideally to replicate an experience that would be known to such users - namely to use elements of onboarding processes that they would be familiar with in Web 2.0. Well-designed DApps offer their users several onboarding options:
Social Logins — Logging in through Google, Facebook or Twitter is something that all web users will be familiar with. So your non DApp-savvy audience will feel right at home.
One time password — One time password (OTP) logins are another easy login method for newcomers.
Bring your own keys — this is an option for more seasoned Web 3.0 users, who already have a wallet and can therefore ‘bring their own keys.’ Yes, this wouldn’t apply to newcomers, but it’s useful to show that the option is there, so that they can use it in the future.
Login example using Torus
3. Introduce trust at every step
As with any new product, service or technology, many newcomers to the DeFi space are likely to be wary at first. That’s why it’s critical to build trust from the outset and this is best done by being as transparent as possible about every action that the user is required to take in the app. Here’s how you can achieve this:
In your UX copy, be clear about any actions that involve money being transferred with a double confirmation that the user wants to go ahead with what they’ve indicated they want to do.
- Be transparent about any actions that cannot be reversed.
- Explain how a smart contract works in layman’s terms.
- Be transparent about any activity which might reveal a user’s true identity.
- Be transparent about the gas fee price range and make sure that your users understand spillage.
You should also consider providing access to your product’s codebase.
4. Keep processes short and manage wait time
The fewer steps you have in a DApp onboarding process, the better. Much as it’s tempting to relay everything that you can offer your users, too many choices will put them off and confuse them. Lead with one or two at the outset, and introduce others later in the process where appropriate. Here, providing constant feedback can be a useful way of managing user expectations. This might include:
- A strip to show the number of steps left in the process (Users new to DApps are likely to have no idea what to expect).
- A loading bar to show indicative speed.
- A brief explanation for why a user has to wait for a particular action to happen.
5. Educate users through data exposure
Being transparent about your data can help you educate your users on how your product or service works. It will also help to prove that they are operating in a decentralized and safe environment.
- Your data must be actionable
- Build human readable hash formats. Use 0x to show that it’s a hash and allow users to see the full address/hash.
- Where possible, clarify how to revert to the previous hash interface.
You may also consider creating a ‘newbie version’ of your app, which has all the complex features disabled.
The landing page we designed for Crescent, a blockchain-based finance app, making high-yield interest accessible to all. The branding played a big part in engaging users who were new to crypto.
6. Maintain a consistent and engaging brand
This point is admittedly true of all products, not just those in the DeFi space. But if you’re looking to engage with an audience which is entirely new to DApps, your branding will be particularly important. Branding is of course key when it comes to making a product stand out to a given audience, but it can also be a driving factor that motivates them to go through to the next stage of the onboarding process.
A best practice for onboarding is to bring your brand to life from the very outset and to keep it consistent across every screen. If you have your own graphics, illustration style, or even a personalized character, be sure that they play a key role in explaining elements of your product to users, encouraging them to complete the goals that you’ve set for them, and generally providing a positive experience.
Use your onboarding process to wow your users from the start
As the age-old adage goes, “You’ve only got one chance to make a first impression. Always be ready!” But this doesn’t mean that you cannot tweak and adapt your onboarding process as you learn more about your target audience. Use an analytics dashboard to gather the insights that you need about user adoption. Track your conversions and your churn rate, and notice any potential bottlenecks that need addressing. Effective iteration here is the key to success! Good luck!