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Lucidchart’s non-intrusive, educational approach to onboarding

Lucidchart is a web-based SaaS product that allows users to collaborate on creating, revising, and sharing diagrams and charts. The product’s onboarding process emphasizes a subtle approach, but it hasn’t always been that way.

Allen Liao, the former group product manager at parent company Lucid, says Lucidchart once used a 10-step onboarding process. However, this hyper-involved and lengthy product tour didn’t sit well with most users. “The knowledge workers we spoke with felt offended with a heavy-handed approach,” says Liao.

This feedback led them to create a more nuanced onboarding process. For example, features deemed interesting but nonessential are highlighted as tips on the loading screen.

This allows users to soak up tons of product-relevant info—without that info impeding their progress within the app. It also enables users to bypass info that’s irrelevant to their needs.

This emphasis on staying out of the user’s way explains why the “Helpful tips” modal window is tucked away to the side of the screen and out of the workspace. The modal offers a more in-depth explanation of certain features without forcing them on users.

But Lucidchart had another dilemma: balancing onboarding both free and premium subscribers. 

Ultimately, they reasoned that users who upgrade to a paid account need access to more robust or specific features—meaning they probably should get more onboarding assistance than a freemium user. 

“When someone gives their credit card information, they have a higher level of commitment,” explains Liao. “We want to meet their expectations by giving them the best resources and show the product’s full power.”

Lucidchart greets premium users immediately with more options than those on a free account. A modal window greets newly upgraded users with several options, including whether they’d like to start with an existing template, create one from scratch, or watch a quick 60-second overview of Lucidchart before jumping in. 

The white-glove approach to onboarding doesn’t end there. Freemium customers who choose to use an existing template will be greeted with a modal window containing several helpful options.

Meanwhile, premium users see a far more expansive selection of templates, showing these paying customers that they’re getting their money’s worth.

What makes this #GoodUX:

  • The company’s “tips-as-you-need-them” approach to onboarding allows users to jump right in and use Lucidchart’s most valuable features ASAP.
  • The company’s helpful modals remain visible but out of the way, so they don’t impede the customer as they use the product. 
  • Lucidchart provides premium subscribers with their own onboarding flow that highlights the value of the features users are paying for.