The Aha! Moment: How to Find It, Examples, UX Tips
Website visitors form an opinion of your website in 0.05 seconds – and then decide whether or not to stay or leave. Likewise, 73% of mobile app users will delete an app or become inactive within three months of downloading it.
That’s why it’s mission-critical to make sure a user’s first impression of a product is positive and that it’s easy for them to realize the value of an application. When product teams are able to guide users to clarity on how a product works and its direct benefit quickly, they’re able to lock in and retain customers and users for the long haul.
That moment of clarity of a user, when they finally realize a product’s full potential, is called the “aha!” moment.
This guide will break down and define the aha moment, provide examples from major brands, explain how to find it for your product, and provide some tips on how to navigate new users to their aha moment faster.
What Is the “Aha!” Moment?
The “aha” moment happens when a customer or user first recognizes the value of your product. This ideally takes place during the user onboarding experience phase when a new customer interacts with your product for the first time, but it can also happen during different stages of the customer lifecycle.
The aha moment triggers a positive emotional reaction among your customers and makes them understand how your product has solved a problem for them, answered a question, or taught them a new skill. Typically the task they complete is aligned with your product’s core value. The aha moment is not exciting because they completed a simple task; it’s exciting because they have now realized a new skill or solution that significantly improves an aspect of their workflow or personal life going forward.
What Is the Importance of the Aha Moment?
Finding a product’s aha moment allows product teams to benchmark the time-to-value for its application. The faster a user finds that moment for an app or software, the more likely they will continue to use the platform.
Once a product team understands the average time it takes for users to find that moment of clarity, and the typical user flows that take them there, they can begin to improve on these metrics. This enables product teams to optimize their user onboarding, UX, and overall journey – leading to better free trial to paid user conversions, less churn, more upsells, better app frequency usage, and higher rates of user retention.
Everything you need to know about digital adoption in our 2022 guide.
Examples of the Aha Moment
To help you get a better sense of what an aha moment looks and feels like, here are a few aha moment examples from top companies you recognize and use on a frequent basis. These will help you experience your aha moment of understanding the nuanced definition of the aha moment:
- For Uber, it’s finding a ride within minutes. When Uber users first download the app, they first realized the convenience and value of the app when they hail their first rideshare.
- For Netflix, it’s finding something to watch within 30 to 90 seconds. Netflix users find their aha moment in the app when they watch their first show.
- For Airbnb, it’s making a booking for the first time. Users of Airbnb achieve their aha moment when they book their first stay – until then, users are unable to realize how the process works and are unable to understand the potential it has vs. staying in a typical hotel.
- For Zoom, it’s setting up, scheduling, and holding your first video meeting. Before the first call, a user is unable to experience what makes Zoom different from other web conferencing tools.
- For Slack, it’s exchanging up to 2,000 messages with your team members. By the point of sending 2,000 messages in Slack, a user has fully realized the value of using the internal messaging application.
For SaaS applications, the aha moment typically takes longer to find. This is because these applications are more complex, require additional onboarding and training, and are solving more niche problems than common B2C apps or communication tools. These companies dedicate large resources to creating an effective SaaS customer onboarding strategy – to help new customers find their aha moment.
Here are a few examples of users experiencing the aha moment for SaaS tools:
- For Mailchimp, it’s when a user creates and sends their first email.
- For G2, it’s when they receive their first user review. At this moment, SaaS companies realize the benefit of having a public-facing review profile where they can solicit reviews and use this testimonial across their marketing.
- For Hootsuite, it’s when a user schedules their first social share.
Whatfix empowers your users with contextual flows, self-help support, tooltips, interactive walkthroughs, and more – improving your app’s UX.
How to Find the Aha Moment for Your Product
Finding the aha moment should be a simple task for a product team, and therefore it should be extremely intuitive for your users to find and complete. If it’s too difficult, your users will give up before accomplishing it – and ultimately will never realize the value of your product.
Here’s a step-by-step process on how to discover your product’s aha moment:
1. Analyze Your Product Data
You can record this data by creating a spreadsheet, or by using a data visualization tool such as Tableau. Product teams should invest in a user analytics platform such as Mixpanel – as seen below:
2. Gather User Feeback on Their Experience With Your Product
Next, reach out and talk to your users to gather qualitative feedback to supplement and validate what you’ve already learned and initially hypothesized from the quantitative data. If the numbers from your product data show a correlation between specific user behaviors and retention, your users can help explain the “why” in more detail. To do this, talk to both retained and churned users.
Step 1. Gathering feedback from retained customers and users
To better understand what your retained users value most about your product, send them an email or survey with some of the following questions:
- What do you like the most about our product?
- Which feature or features do you find the most valuable?
- What was the turning point for you?
- What made you decide to go from a free trial to purchasing?
- Did you find the user onboarding helpful and did it provide a comprehensive training experience?
- Is there anything that you found confusing to use or difficult to grasp?
- What single feature was the most important to you in your app review phase?
Their answers will help reveal what a successful user experience looks like for your paying customers and will bring your product team closer to finding your aha moment.
Above: Whatfix’s in-app user survey tools, allowing product teams to gather feedback data on their onboarding flows and UX design.
Step 2. Gathering feedback from churned customers and users
Next, you’ll need to talk to users that have churned. This is important because they are the ones that didn’t find the value they expected from your product. Finding out why this is will provide clarity around why, and will help you avoid the same mistake in the future by making tweaking your user onboarding. You can send them an email or use an exit survey (“Sorry to see you go”) to capture their responses.
Here are some questions you can ask them:
- What were you hoping to get out of our product?
- What was the problem you were trying to solve with our product?
- Why did our product not meet your expectations?
- Is there anything you found frustrating or confusing about using our product?
- What could we have done to keep you?
Once you have collected all the feedback from your deactivated users, analyze the answers and look at what your retained customers did differently from those who churned.
Cross-analyze this information with the data from internal product data to give you a complete picture of your product’s user journey. At this stage, you should have an idea of the behavioral patterns that you believe impact your user retention rates. This idea will be your hypothesis.
3. Test Your Hypothesis With A/B Testing
Conduct A/B tests by dividing your users into different segments and presenting them with different in-app messaging and paths guiding them to their aha moment. This will most likely be an ongoing, continuous project for your product team – as you can benchmark the time it takes for an average user to find their aha moment and begin to improve on it.
For example, you can perform product observations and review how users behave when they sign up for your product, and navigate through the onboarding experience. This can be done using a software testing product such as FullStory, or through more detailed user interviews through Google Hangouts or Zoom.
Above: Example of Fullstory user analytics dashboard
For the A/B tests to work properly, make sure that one of the segments is a control group that isn’t exposed to the changes you made. This allows you to test your current iteration to a new, experimental iteration. It’s also important to only test one change at a time. If you are conducting multiple changes at once, your data can become convoluted and you will not be able to identify and silo the main reason for a test’s success or failure.
In the end, you’re looking to perform a valid test to see which group performed the best. If the metric you’re testing (user retention, onboarding completion rate, etc.) improved within the test group, then you’ve improved the path to your aha moment.
5 UX Tips for Guiding Your Users to Their Aha Moment Faster
Figuring out your product’s aha moment can help boost your app’s rate of retention by driving users toward actions that set them up for success. With these tips, you can help set them up for success faster and lower their time-to-value with your product.
1. Personalize Your User Journey Flows
Different customer personas need different, personalized journeys and paths. Drive your customers to their aha moments faster by personalizing their journey. Let’s look at Netflix to see a clear example of this in action:
When new users sign up for Netflix, they’re prompted to select which shows and movies they like. This helps create personalize a unique data set for each user based on their tastes and preferences. Netflix then uses its algorithm to offer personal recommendations to its users based on these selections – and then aggregates this data over time with a user’s viewing habits and what’s currently popular and trending on the platform.
This allows Netflix to instantly create a personalized offering for every user right at the moment of signing up – allowing users to see the instant value of the streaming platform as they’re presented a catalog of shows they’re interested in, as well as related content.
You can create personalized user experiences by grouping different types of users together into segments based on their demographics, location, age, industry, job title, etc. If you know this information from the start, you can create different user journey paths based upon the product data you already have from existing users.
Above: Example of user personas, which will help you create personalized flows that target different segments of users.
You can also let your users select their own path, like in the Netflix example. This puts them in the driver’s seat, and they get to choose how to interact with your product and what journey they want to take.
Another great example of letting users create their own journey is Flipboard, which prompts users to add select a few topics their interest in during initial onboarding.
Either way, personalizing the journey for your users is a great first step for guiding them to their aha moment.
2. Reduce Friction
Friction occurs when there are barriers that might slow down the user’s journey. An example of this is asking a new user to fill out a contact form or sign up using an email address. You can reduce friction by removing unnecessary user barriers that impede your customers from finding their aha moment faster and improving your overall product adoption success rate.
Let’s look at Airbnb to see an example of a frictionless user experience. Airbnb removes friction for its users by allowing them to browse through listings without even being logged into the platform.
You can plug in your destination and travel dates and have access to all their available listings within seconds. And by the time you find your dream vacation spot, you’re ready to throw your money at them and give them the necessary information they need to secure your spot.
One way to identify friction areas in your user journey is through mapping exercises such as wireframing a user flow map before your product is launched. This allows your product team to understand the different paths and journeys your users will take to accomplish a goal – in this case, finding their aha moment.
Consider how to help your users arrive at their aha moment first and then ask for their information. The fewer hoops they have to jump through when first engaging with your product, the better. This works to reduce their time-to-value and make your overall onboarding process seamless.
3. Create Intuitive Onboarding Flows to Guide New Users
When users interact with your product for the first time, they will be experiencing your interface for the first time. This can be overwhelming, especially with B2B tools that have complex, advanced features.
To help new users set up their account, where to find key features, and overall teach them how to use your platform, you should create interactive walkthroughs and product tours to guide them through their initial onboarding. This helps cut down on users dropping off due to being overwhelmed, and starts to train them on how to use your platform.
Slack is a great example of a product with a simple, intuitive onboarding flow.
When new users log into Slack for the first time, they are greeted by a chatbot that takes them through an interactive walkthrough of their first experience with the tool. The onboarding flow helps users learn how to use the product and find their aha moment — set up their account and start sending messages — as fast as possible.
Use in-app guidance or interactive tutorials to handhold your users and walk them through their product onboarding – or to support a new feature launch. These features can help users resolve minor issues immediately and learn the basic functions of your product, which may be necessary to reach their aha moment.
Analyze examples of the best user onboarding experiences from the world’s best brands to draw inspiration for your products and applications.
4. Reinforce the Aha Moment Throughout the User Lifecycle
For more complex applications, providing one aha moment may be powerful enough to keep users retained and engaged.
However for more mundane applications (think common B2C applications or mobile apps), you’ll need to reinforce your product’s value over time.
Duolingo, the language learning app, uses just some of the following strategies to reinforce its value with multiple aha moments throughout the user journey:
- Every time a user completes a lesson in the app, they receive a little fire or flame icon to congratulate them and encourage them to start or continue a streak.
- Crowns are issued to users every time they level up a skill, and each subsequent exercise gets more challenging.
- Users are shown a timeline of their progress and achievements.
By using the above multiple aha moments, Duolingo creates a fun and engaging way for users to learn a new language and motivates them to continue using the app.
You can do this for your own product by creating a longer user journey that slowly introduces more and more advanced features. You can guide users to find and enjoy these advanced features by:
- Congratulating them for solving a problem and then unlocking a new feature or challenge for them
- Showing them a timeline of their progress and what they still need to achieve
- Showing them the rewards they can expect to receive in the future if they keep using your product
5. Don’t Forget About New Product Features
Over time, your users may need additional features to continue finding value in your product. Your product team may also be tasked with improving common app metrics such as daily active users or weekly active users. To do so, you’ll need to create new features to reinforce the value of your product. This means creating new flows to help users find their multiple aha moments for new feature launches.
You can also leverage in-app content such as beacons to highlight new features to your users. This helps draw attention to new product launches. Once a user interacts a new feature, you can present them with an entirely new tutorial flow or step-by-step tutorial on what is it, how to use it, and its benefits.
With Whatfix, you can create beacons to highlight and promote new features and product updates, without needing development help.
A digital adoption platform allows product design, product marketing, and customer success teams to create in-app content to onboard and train users that sit directly on top of the application.
With Whatfix’s DAP, you can guide your users to find their aha moment faster – while continuously refining that journey – by creating in-app content and features such as:
- Product tours and interactive walkthroughs to onboarding and train new and existing users
- In-app knowledge bases to provide instant user support
- Beacons to highlight new updates or product features
- Tooltips to suggest underutilized features of a product
- Feedback surveys that allow you to collect user data in real-time as they interact with your onboarding and training content
With Whatfix, you can create intuitive user flows and help content to guide your users to their aha moment faster, improve their proficiency using your tool, call out new product launches – complete user analytic tracking to understand how your app is being used, allowing your product team to benchmark and improve these flows.
Get started with a free trial of Whatfix today!