Introducing potential new users to a product can be tricky. Visitors are just passing by, only willing to interact if they can immediately see a new product’s value. And even if they do sign up, they may not come back. It’s not enough simply to capture an email address—you have to thoughtfully design a process that gets and holds attention, turning new visits into repeated engagement.

I encountered just how difficult onboarding can be when we decided to redesign our signup process at Blendle, a startup that sells individual articles from newspapers and magazines. Our old signup was full of bugs, falling behind on design changes made in the rest of the product, and, most importantly, both data and our users told us that new users were left confused after signing up. Our redesigns looked good, but I wanted to dig deeper. I wanted to know what makes a truly great onboarding process.