UX - Common Onboarding issues

As I just recently moved to the UK, I downloaded a lot of new apps. A lot of them had onboarding flows with some kind of identity or adress check and failed in one way or another. It would interest me if some of you experienced some unique issues that we should take into account and avoid in our product.

Some examples of my issues in the last few months:

  • Car sharing app in Austria:
    The onboarding started with the email and password input, which immediately created an account. I closed the app when I was asked to give them my full name for some reason. When I reopened it, it directed me to login, from there to the home-screen and greeted me with "Hello (null)(null). When I try to edit my non-existing name, it just doesn’t save the change.
    My takeaway from this is that the onboarding flow must not fail if any step of it is not completed in one session - a trivial lesson.

  • Neobank in UK:
    For the address verification, they only had the post-code as an input field, after that you could choose form all addresses for that post-code. My building has around 500 apartments, of which they only showed 20. I couldn’t continue.
    My takeaway here is that you should not make an input a lot less robust to add just a tiny bit of convenience.

  • Neobank in UK #2:
    Again a problem with the address verification, but an even funnier one. I created an account while I was on lunch break in the office and put in my home address for the card shipping. They checked if I was at the address that I put in (I was 500m away) and immediately suspended my account when they found I was not, before asking for any other kind of personal information besides the address. Funnily enough, they also lied in the following screen, claiming they couldn’t legally tell me why I was banned.
    My takeaway here is that in financial products, the management and compliance have to make it very clear to the development team what exactly constitutes high risk behaviour, or what kind of information you cannot give to users.

  • Car sharing app in UK
    For phone number verification and TFA, they used a very new technology that we are also thinking about implementing. It checks the SIM in the phone directly through the telecom provider to conduct a TFA. Funny thing is, the app only implemented it for unlocking cars and nothing else (sign-up, login, booking, etc.). I booked a car and couldn’t unlock it because my Austrian phone provider isn’t covered by the service. It was not expected behaviour, the support unlocked it for me.
    My takeaway here is to never use experimental services without a proper fallback. They could have just sent a TFA SMS if it fails, which is exactly what we will do.

I could list a lot more of those bugs. What do you think are the reasons that multi-billion dollar companies don’t get these edge cases right? I think it’s mainly overengineering and poor communication, as well as placing too little priority on the core product.

Which app do you think has a really good, smooth and maybe unique onboarding flow?


I’m pretty sure the reason is that they don’t test their product enough and with more people than just a few from their own company. Because those will to 99% use the same flow as the engineers decided to take. Outside people always use apps/ products in a way which they are not intended to be use by the devs because they either don’t know it better or just simply think it must work the way they think it should.

I luckily never had big problems with onboarding.

Once the problem was, they wanted to have an adress within the UK format while I tried out the german format, but it worked after a bit fiddling around. (International app)

Another one was a dutch supermarket app. I live close to the boarder, understand mostly written dutch text and well wanted to create an account so I could order food for picking it up. But they wanted a dutch adress and even a dutch telephonenumber. I understand the dutch adress thing, but a dutch telephonenumber? They might just want dutch people for some reason, but they didn’t validate them in any way, so it worked with made up stuff without a problem :sweat_smile:


Can’t think of any examples to add but certainly if I can’t create an account or get the app functioning first time it’s deleted. Only one chance to get it right, but I am impatient and normally needing to use the app then and there, like paying for parking.


Yes that’s exactly the same for me. But sometimes I just have to use an app, because they have a monopoly of some kind, or no app for the function I need works properly. Seems to always happen with car sharing apps for me.
I suppose the reason I have onboarding issues so often is because I use apps from so many different countries and travel so much.

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