Airtable's unique user onboarding update
Last month, spreadsheet-database hybrid Airtable rolled out a new, streamlined user onboarding experience. The experience was shown to new and existing users alike—and while we think a bit of user targeting could improve things even further, as existing users we were still happy to experience this novel onboarding UX.
A welcoming slideout
The onboarding experience kicks off with a cute little slideout. We like the shape of this pattern—short but wide, split between a charming illustration and snappy copy, it feels both compact and impactful.
Unique onboarding patterns
After users opt in to the tour, the slideout changes, and a unique hotspot/outline + tooltip pattern appears over individual UI elements. The outline and tooltip let users know where to click, while the slideout copy provides context. The steps in the tour can be advanced by clicking "continue" in the slideout.
A self-help menu
The tour wraps up by directing users' attention to the help menu, where they can access info on FAQs, keyboard shortcuts, etc.
What we like about this really good UX:
- It's unique. Airtable mixed some familiar patterns with novel animations to create an onboarding experience that feels fresh. Even though we're already regular Airtable users, we felt compelled to follow along.
- It's (relatively) concisee. Airtable is a powerful tool with a diverse range of capabilities. Instead of dragging users through each and every capability, Airtable chose to highlight a few, mission-critical features.
- It's engaging. Animated hotspots and slideouts draw the eye, while the animated image in each slideout panel complements the copy.
What could have been even better:
- There was no user targeting. We use Airtable every day to manage the Appcues Blog and ReallyGoodUX. This fact wasn't reflected in the language of the welcome message—we were shown the exact same experience as a brand new user, right down to messaging.