Suneeta Munjuluri

Dress To Kill: Methods To Improve Your App's First Time User Experience

Just like how you would prepare yourself for creating a first impression in real life, your app should dress to kill when it comes handing out the best First Time User Experience.
Suneeta Munjuluri

In the age of dating apps like Tinder and Badoo, setting up a date with an unknown person is very easy. However, how the person is, in reality, could be much different to what his/her profile says. The person’s appearance, clothing/fashion sense, behaviour, expressions (smile, laugh, frown) all together make the first impression in your mind. In the first meeting itself, you would be able to decide whether you would like to meet that person again or not. Underwhelming first meetings rarely result in a second. That’s exactly how important your app’s First Time User Experience (FTUE) is. It lets your user decide if your app is a keeper or not. You always need to be ‘dressed to kill’ and at your charming best when a first-time user downloads your app and comes onboard as your user.

How Does FTUE Work?

FTUE or First Time User Experience starts way before the users even get to app onboarding. The app’s landing page on the app store/ play store, the screenshots shared, the reviews, the clear CTA, the creatives users have viewed, all collectively form FTUE.

Facebook FTUE

For instance, Dropbox delivers a cute mail to your inbox asking users to download their app. The mail is worded such that users are automatically geared up for a great FTUE in the app.

Dropbox FTUE

Now comes the new user’s experience within the app. It is this FTUE you deliver that leads to activated users staying back and converting. This further translates to retention, engagement and whether the user becomes a champion (referring others to the app).

Ways To Improve Your FTUE

The FTUE quality reduces with every non-user-friendly interaction that occurs. Hence, it is important to find and correct the underlying reasons that create friction in converting a new user to an activated user.

FTUE can be improved by engaging in the following best practices for app onboarding:

1. Have Clear CTAs

First, an app needs to have very clear Calls to Action (CTAs) options such as login, sign up or shop are the calls to activate a user. They should be such that the users know where they are, what they can do, where they can go and what they will get by getting there.

            Have Clear CTAs

2. Having Introductory Slides or Walkthroughs

Introductory slides or walkthroughs help the user to glide through and know what to expect. At the same time, too many slides will lead them to skip it altogether. So make them personal and contextual to your users.

Create Guided Walkthroughs

3. Have Seamless Logins that Assure Privacy

Logins are the dreaded bottlenecks where a user has more chances of backing out. Reasons for this could be – a) fear of giving away private information, b) the process taking a long time. Assuring the user that his/her information will be kept private is one way of achieving login success. Another important aspect is to keep the login page simple. Just ask for the basic information and have your user onboard quickly. For instance, Instagram keeps its login screen very simple. It also assures the users of safeguarding their data.

Instagram FTUE

4. New User Bonuses

You can improve your FTUE by keeping it simple in the first step. Lure new users to register by offering them a bonus or reward. The user would be tempted to explore further, and this leads to better retention. Netflix offers its subscriptions free for one month. It also states that the user can cancel anytime. This reassuring promise lures users to join the subscription plans. As the quality offered from then on is sustained, there is a higher possibility of retaining users.

5. Guidance Overlays and Coach Marks

Your app could have a pop-up in the form of an overlay or in-app message that suggests the next course of action. A quick and simple overlay is a perfect way to guide your new user. YouTube’s Android app focuses on a single element at a time, thus minimizing the text the user requires to read. Making the coach marks long reads is a strict no-no.

YouTube FTUE

6. Deal Well with Permissions and Information

A user might not be willing to give away too much information in the first go itself. An app seeking a lot of permissions initially could put off the users. Seek action specific or rare permissions only as and when the need arises.


A great example of this is Flipkart. The online shopping app seeks your address only when a purchase is being made. Sensitive information, like credit card number etc., is stored only with the permission of the user. To keep the user experience seamless, Flipkart goes a step further exempting its users from logging in even during a purchase.

Fine-tune Your FTUE with Apxor

Many times, the app owner/ developer can speculate reasons for falling activation rates. It could be asking too much information, lack of nurturing your users till they activate and more. Apxor helps developers to validate their assumptions using its advanced product analytics. It helps you locate and pinpoint the reason why the FTUE was not as per your expectations. Apxor collects users’ actions, the time spent on every action, user interaction problems and the performance of the app to gives you insights on a timeline, if and when a user got stuck in your app or dropped off.

Apxor Dashboard Individual User Analysis

Onboarding funnels help categorise users based on different attributes such as age, location, gender, interests, etc. while analysing onboarding paths help create insights based on how the user has interacted within the app. Now you can analyse and amend shortfalls that could lead to a poor FTUE.

Apxor’s USP

What makes Apxor better is its ability to let you create Behavioral Cues (like contextual walkthroughs, coachmarks, tool tips, in-app messages and passive nudges) on the fly, to nudge users contextually. You can create tutorials simply on-the-go and improve discoverability. The walkthroughs you can create with Apxor are highly contextual and personalised to your user’s experience in the app.

Apxor Behavioral Cues

A great example of Apxor’s success with FTUE is of a social media app. The insight was identified that a majority of the users uninstalling on Day 0 were women. Further analysis of these women’s interactions displayed that the reason was a strikingly high rate of random connection requests from strangers. This could be a very low value generating or rather annoying experience for them. The issue was resolved with a contextual walkthrough that guided these women to privacy settings. Thus, a tiny change in a user’s FTUE can lead to a boost that benefits the business in the long run. Have a look at the walkthrough here.

Apxor Real Time Actions

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