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What is an Aha Moment in User Onboarding?

aha moment concept suricate picture

An Aha moment is a moment of sudden recognition when a new user understands how the product works and realizes why it is a must-have solution and value. The moment of sudden realization, also known as activation, becomes the start of a long-lasting relationship between a brand and the customer.

Aha moments happen as a result of users’ interaction with a product. These can also be an emotional reaction to the discovery of a feature. Essentially, Aha moments are the positive reactions behind a user experience.

But you’ve got to help new customers discover the value you promised fast to turn them into regular, loyal customers during the onboarding process.

What Does an Aha Moment Feel Like?

Three things happen when you feel the “Aha!” moment:

  1. You understand how a product can solve your problem at hand.
  2. You experience a product’s value proposition.
  3. You achieve a solution and result very quickly that might have taken hours normally.

Aha moments can happen in different stages of the customer lifecycle. To help you understand what an Aha moment feels like in real life, for real companies, here are a few aha moment examples:

  • For Facebook, it is connecting with friends.
  • For Google, it is finding an answer to your query.
  • For Airbnb, it is making your first booking.
  • For Zoom, it covers signup, organizing, and holding your first video conference.

Aha Moment Examples

1. Canva users create completed designs in minutes

Canva, a freemium online design tool that anyone can easily use, has a straightforward onboarding. They guide new users through a four-step design flow that gives the users their first creation.

Canva onboarding

Once news users complete the product onboarding tutorial, Canva guides them where and how to share their design with the world. The gist of it is Canva users experience their Aha moments when they see how the online tool keeps the promise of helping anyone create and share professional-looking designs.

2. Headspace’s new users get personalized meditation experiences

Headspace is an app that offers guided meditations to aid in mental and emotional wellness. The app provides a personalized meditation experience during the onboarding process of new users who sign up for Headspace’s free trial.

headspace aha moment example

After signing up, Headspace asks a series of questions to create individualized plans for each user.

headspace onboarding

After answering a couple of questions for their first meditation, Headspace’s new users reach an “Aha!” moment; users overview an individualized recap of their meditation plan and can get started with their first meditating experience.

headspace onboarding recap

Long story short, Headspace successfully delivers the aha moment by realizing the product’s promised value; guided meditations to help people achieve wellness goals. However, this happens at the end of the onboarding, after the survey.

Normally, an aha moment at the end of the onboarding is not recommended, but in this case, it has to be so to provide personalized experiences. Plus, Headspaces’s onboarding takes only a few minutes to complete.

How to Identify Aha Moments

homer realization moment

1. Listen to Retained Users

The first step into identifying your product’s aha moment is to listen to both retained customers and churned users.

Retained users are activated users—start by finding out what all retained customers did in common. Go through your product analytics and look for common patterns of user behavior by asking simple questions like:

  • How do you use the [product] you've purchased?
  • Are there features you use all the time? How?
  • What do you love most about our product?
  • What's something you wish [your product] could do?
  • What made you decide you wanted to pay for the [product]?
  • Are there features you never use? Why not?

The answers will help you understand what a successful user experience with your product looks like. If you don’t want to go through a survey, answer the following questions:

  • Are there commonalities that can be used to segment your users?
  • What do return visitors consistently do in your product?
  • Is there anything that these returning visitors don’t do in your product?

Look closely to identify the patterns in behavioral data to get closer to finding the aha moment.

2. Listen to Churned Users

man working in customer service
Positive feedback can only get you so far. To go beyond that point, you need to be ready to hear the negative feedback.

Think about how you can improve the UX now by knowing why churned users decided to leave. Here are some questions you can ask them:

1. What outcome were you expecting from our product when you signed up?

2. Were able to experience that outcome while using the product? Why not?

3. Why was not our product the right solution to your problem?

  • Too expensive
  • Still evaluating
  • Not a fit
  • Just doing research
  • Too complex
  • Missing feature or integration
  • Went with another solution

3. Understand the User Intent

It’s important to consider that aha moments are not the same for every user. The predictability of your product’s aha moment depends on why any individual user has signed up for your product. That moment and whys of it vary because it relies on the discovery of value, which differs based on whatever the user is trying to achieve.

Therefore, it’s best to come up with multiple Aha moments as a backup in case the one you have doesn’t work out. To find the right ones, you ask the following questions:

  • Which of these Aha moments could affect users the most?
  • Which of these moments are easier to be used on new users?

Select 2-3 questions, then start testing them to find the one that will give an “Aha!” to most of your customers.

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