UserOnboarding.Academy is a non-commercial community. It is free and will remain free.

What Is First-Time User Experience? - FTUE and User Onboarding Explained

This article aims to educate the user about what FTUE is and why it's important. We will explore various aspects of FTUE, provide examples, and discuss strategies to enhance the first-time user experience.
Written by
Suay Çakırca
Published on
February 22, 2023

In a vast digital world where countless apps, websites, and platforms compete for our attention, the first impression often makes all the difference. Think about the last time you downloaded a new app or visited a website for the first time.

Did it leave you feeling intrigued, excited, and motivated to explore further? Or did you find yourself overwhelmed, confused, and quickly losing interest?

That initial encounter is what we call the First Time User Experience (FTUE). It's that crucial moment when users embark on a journey of discovery, where they form their initial impressions and decide whether to invest their time and energy into a particular product or service. 

The FTUE is not only significant for users who seek valuable solutions, but it's equally crucial for businesses striving to capture and retain their target audience.

This article aims to educate the user about what FTUE is and why it's important. We will explore various aspects of FTUE, provide examples, and discuss strategies to enhance the first time user experience.

You can also read our article titled 3 Steps to Efficiently Onboard New Users to learn more about how to optimize the first time user experience!

What is First Time User Experience (FTUE)?

First Time User Experience, or FTUE, refers to the initial interaction a user has with a product, application, or website. It encompasses the entire experience from the moment a user signs up or launches the product for the first time until they achieve their desired outcome or task. 

The primary goal of FTUE is to create a positive and engaging experience that motivates users to continue using the product and ultimately become loyal customers.

FTUE is a critical phase in the user journey as it can significantly impact user retention and conversion rates. If users have a frustrating or confusing experience during their first encounter with a product, they are more likely to abandon it and seek alternatives. 

On the other hand, a well-designed FTUE can captivate users, establish trust, and encourage them to explore further, leading to higher user engagement and satisfaction.

Why Is FTUE Important?

First impressions matter, especially in the digital world. Users have countless options at their disposal, and if they encounter a poor FTUE, they are likely to move on to a competitor's offering. In fact, research shows that 90% of users stop using an app within the first 90 days. 

Therefore, it's crucial for businesses to invest time and effort in optimizing FTUE to increase user retention, customer satisfaction, and ultimately, business success.

FTUE sets the foundation for the user's perception of the product or service. It shapes their expectations and determines whether they will continue using it or abandon it altogether. 

By creating a positive FTUE, businesses can establish a strong connection with their users, foster trust, and build long-term relationships. 

Moreover, a seamless and intuitive FTUE reduces the learning curve, allowing users to quickly grasp the value and benefits of the product, which leads to increased adoption rates.

What is Onboarding?

Before we delve deeper into improving FTUE, let's briefly touch upon the concept of onboarding. Onboarding is the overall process of guiding users through their journey of adopting a product or service.

It encompasses not only the FTUE but also subsequent steps that familiarize users with the product's features, functionalities, and benefits.

Effective onboarding aims to provide users with a smooth transition into the product, ensuring they have a clear understanding of how to use it to achieve their desired outcomes. 

It goes beyond the initial FTUE and extends into ongoing engagement, user education, and feature adoption. While FTUE focuses on the first encounter, onboarding ensures users continue to derive value from the product over time.

Check out What is User Onboarding? (the REAL definition with examples) to learn more about onboarding. 

Improving FTUE & the User Journey

Now that we understand the significance of FTUE and its place within the broader context of onboarding, let's explore some strategies to enhance the first time user experience.

#1. Identifying Your Target Audience

To create a compelling FTUE, it's crucial to have a deep understanding of your target audience. Research and analyze their preferences, needs, and pain points. 

By gaining insights into their demographics, behaviors, and motivations, you can tailor the FTUE to align with their expectations, making it more relevant and engaging.

#2. Setting Expectations for Users

Clearly communicating what users can expect from your product or service is essential in managing their expectations. Provide a concise overview of the product's core features, benefits, and how it addresses its pain points. 

This ensures that users have a clear understanding of what they can accomplish and how your product will add value to their lives.

#3. Creating a Positive First Time User Experience

When designing the FTUE, simplicity, and intuitiveness should be at the forefront. Aim for a clean and uncluttered interface that guides users through the essential steps to get started. Minimize the number of required inputs and provide clear instructions along the way. 

Incorporate visual cues, such as tooltips or guided overlays, to assist users in navigating through the product.

#4. Streamlining the Signup Process

The signup process can often be a significant hurdle for users, causing frustration and abandonment. Simplify the signup process by eliminating unnecessary steps and asking for minimal information upfront. 

Offering social media or single sign-on options can also expedite the signup process and reduce friction, allowing users to quickly access the product.

#5. Enhancing the Product Experience

FTUE is an excellent opportunity to showcase the key features and functionalities of your product. Offer users a guided tour or interactive tutorial that highlights the core value propositions and demonstrates how to accomplish common tasks. 

This hands-on approach helps users familiarize themselves with the product and encourages further exploration.

#6. Making Use of Key Features to Increase Adoption

During the FTUE, focus on demonstrating the most impactful features that provide immediate value to users. By showcasing these features early on, you can capture their attention and motivate them to continue using the product. 

Remember, the key is to strike a balance between providing enough information and overwhelming users with too much at once.

#7. Utilizing Product Tours and Tutorials

Product tours and tutorials are effective tools for onboarding users and ensuring a smooth transition into the product. These interactive guides can walk users through various features and functionalities, gradually introducing more advanced concepts. 

Incorporate visuals, step-by-step instructions, and interactive elements to make the learning process engaging and enjoyable.

#8. Using Progress Bars to Show Achievement/Retention

Humans are naturally inclined to seek a sense of progress and accomplishment. By implementing progress bars or completion trackers, you can visually indicate users' progress within the product. 

This not only encourages them to continue exploring but also instills a sense of achievement and motivates them to reach the next milestone.

Final Words

The First Time User Experience (FTUE) plays a pivotal role in the overall user journey. It sets the stage for user engagement, retention, and satisfaction. 

By investing time and effort in understanding your target audience, setting clear expectations, and creating a positive FTUE, businesses can create a lasting impression on users and increase the likelihood of long-term adoption and loyalty.

Remember, FTUE is just one step in the broader onboarding process. Effective onboarding extends beyond the initial encounter and continues to nurture users, ensuring they derive ongoing value from the product. 

By prioritizing FTUE and continuously refining the onboarding experience, businesses can create a competitive advantage and establish strong relationships with their users.

Other Blog Posts

See All