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This blog comes as a guest post from John Rampton, CEO of John Rampton is an entrepreneur, investor, online marketing guru, and startup enthusiast. He is the founder of the online payments company Due. Follow John on Twitter at @johnrampton.

In a world full yearning for instant gratification, it’d be nice if your platform could offer an onboarding process that delivered the speed, efficiency, and perfect amount of information a user expected.

This is what the onboarding process is designed to do, but so many companies tend to fall short. They miss that moment to provide instant gratification and efficiency to their users.

When you successfully provide an onboarding experience that captures and delights users, then you’ve created an opportunity to deepen the relationship with your users.

There are many ways to improve your onboarding process. The obvious is speed, making signup as quick as possible. However, there are other actions you can take to create a “delightful” process.

Have an automated welcome message

While it may seem minor, a welcome message sets the tone with a friendly invitation and note of appreciation for coming on board. The message also serves as a navigation tool for onboarding, an opportunity to point users in the right next direction.

For example, create an overview or an interactive tour taking them on a journey to better understand the value in joining your platform.

Ask for less information upfront

Many APIs make it more seamless to gather the data you need for signup without a lengthy form. Eliminating the need for customers to enter paragraphs of information and repeat those same data points across multiple entry fields creates a much better, quicker onboarding experience.

Once you’ve eliminated signup fatigue from the equation, onboarding becomes instantly improved for users. This API-based process also helps you gain a profile sketch on the users, which will help you understand them better without necessarily needing endless forms fields.

Create a desire engine

Rather than overwhelming users with snowballs of text-based information right at signup, visually guide them through your platform so they feel comfortable.

Provide a visual explanation of what you are offering, and give them something visually interactive to keep them involved in the onboarding process. For example, great photos, drawings, graphics and videos are all helpful in the area of making your customers comfortable.

Here is where the concept of a desire engine becomes interesting. The more time you invest in understanding user behavior and desires, the better you become at crafting an onboarding process. Think about interactions that would make those users return again and again.

One example of this is with gamification—turning onboarding into something that is fun, progressing through the experience, starting with simple tasks and then offering increasingly difficult ones over time. With gamification, onboarding becomes fun, rather than like another task to get through.

Keep it simple, consistent and ongoing

You want the onboarding process to be comprehensive and insightful for your users, but don’t over-complicate it.

Keep the onboarding process and design simple and make it consistent with your overall brand so it feels homogenous and reflective of your brand values.

For example, Dwolla provides instant bank account verification as a feature. When companies integration this IAV flow into their on-boarding, they’re providing a more delightful experience. For users to connect their bank account, ownership is verified right within the flow in a few questions.

Remember that onboarding is not an interaction to be glossed over—it’s actually an ongoing process that you will need to continue managing and improving.

Whatever method you use, the easier you make your processes on your customer and the less emotional friction they feel while signing up or onboarding is an investment in the future—both for their future and for yours.

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