What the heck is “backward” user onboarding

Don’t worry, I’ll explain. It’s very simple actually. :)

There are two types of user onboarding funnels: forward and backward.

“Forward” user onboarding means that you are guiding your customer through the creation of something from the empty state.

“Backward” user onboarding means that you are showing the end result as quickly as possible and then educate your customers by helping them to edit.


Example #1 - Canva

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Take a look at Canva onboarding. Quickly enough you will find yourself with ready to edit (or even use) template of some banner or social post. The template is so good and professional, you can literally change texts and use it. That’s it! You’ve done it. It was easy.

Now, you are motivated enough to keep learning and edit this template, which isn’t very hard by the way. Once done, you have enough knowledge and can try to create your own design from scratch and learn some more advanced features.


Example #2 - Continually

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Continually lets you replace forms with simple messaging, making it easy for customers to get the information they need as quickly as possible. You can welcome new visitors and ask if there's anything they need help with or use discovery questions to qualify leads, book appointments or build your newsletter.

The problem is that you need to create that conversion funnel. Not the easiest thing for a brand new user.

Continually created templates for all the major use cases. You pick one and that’s it! You can use them. If you want, you can change the funnel. But having everything built, it’s much easier to understand how it works.


Example #3 - Document360

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Document360 is your one-stop Software as a Service (SaaS) knowledge base platform for software project and project documentation. With Document360, you can create rich documentation and knowledge base for your offerings (both internal and external) with ease.

To show you the real value of the product, Document360 decided to create an example document to start with. This document not just shows you all the benefits, but also explains why Document360 is such a great product.


When it works the best?

“Backward” user onboarding is what always works for editing tools, but not only. As a rule of thumb, if you need more than 4 (okay 5) steps to reach the end result in your product, you should definitely consider “backward” user onboarding.

Mind your customer!


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