Create an onboarding framework to introduce new users how to use the forum and add-ons


Well-known member
Social media has made a name for itself as super easy to use. People log on, there's a white box, you type what you want, hit submit and out it goes to everyone. There's few options or things to go wrong.

Sadly for many users that's all they know and what they expect. When you start to get a bit more complicated than that it can really help to to guide and educate users.

Nearly every complex web app (especially the paid ones) that I've signed up to the last couple of years has some kind of on boarding process that explains how to navigate the UI, where to find things and what you can do.

This is so important if users aren't to get frustrated, and to help them find what they need and understand the capabilities and limitations of the software they're using.

I would like to see some kind of onboarding framework built into XF that can give a live walkthrough of how to use the software after registration.

This could be extensible so that add on authors can create their own onboarding stages to explain how to fully utilise and realise the features of their add ons.

It could even be integrated into a feature to encourage the user to complete their profile. As the profile is one feature of the site. Once that's complete they could get a new % tracker that will only hit 100% once they've completed the onboarding showing them the rest of the features of the site.

Something similar to this perhaps, for want of a better example:

An example from just a few minutes ago as to why this could be helpful:

I have welcome private conversations setup.

Once registered they get the conversation alert, action the alert, and read it.

From there they are in the conversations section of the forum.

Where to next?

Perhaps 'Start a conversation?'

Sure! Why not? I just had a user have a conversation with me, and the whole time he thought it was a public post.

When asked to add for some names when starting the conversation, they wrote the only name they knew, which was my username.

It took a few messages before we both realised what had happened and he pointed out that he was new to forums and so this was all a bit new to him.

That's just one example, I've encountered quite a few interesting instances like this where a user isn't sure how to do something.

One of the great things about forums compared to other social networks such as facebook and twitter is the depth of some of the the features and the ability to organise things in certain areas of the site, many sites have tons of sections seperate from the forum, but part of the XF core.

On larger sites or on sites with custom features we need a way to highlight these features to users, and at the same time educate them on how to use them.

Lets show them the gallery, walk them through how to add content, show the the resource manager, show them the showcase, user map, groups, whatever extra special features that your forum has that sets it apart.

An on boarding framework would enable users to understand what can be done on the site quicker, encouraging them to get involved, posting and using these advanced features.
Last edited:
Upvote 12


Well-known member
This could also be used by add on authors to explain to forum admins how to configure their add on.

It could take them to the Add On options page, explain some of the options, guide the admin to visit the permissions page and set the right permissions.

Highlight relevent cron job related to that add on.

Some add ons add features and options to 4+ areas of the ACP, it's often difficult to know what is stock and what is from an add on.

It could be used instead of a written help guide in the FAQ that needs updating, and when new features are added to the add on, the author could add a few extra onboarding steps to show the admin new features and options that need to be configured after the upgrade.

This would really help reduce the amount of questions and customer service admin the add on author has to deal with in threads supporting the add on and explaining relatively basic setup configuration issues.

Here's an example in the facebook ads manager


I don't know what it is about the users on my site. Forums must feel so foreign to some of them. Many of them I know are avid facebook users because I recognise them from the facebook groups. Here's another message sent through the website contact form because they can't figure out how to create a thread:

Hi this the thread I would like to start, and I feel stupid I don't know how. Starting a conversation? I kind of do not want to harass some specific recipients. Please help me.
Last edited by a moderator:


Well-known member
Reddit is now improving their onboarding.

Part of it is getting users to subscribe to some subreddits when signing up. Would work well for getting users to watch forums here. Themehouse has an add on for this which I think they acquired, but it's not very good. Would be nice to have it in the core.

To view this content we will need your consent to set third party cookies.
For more detailed information, see our cookies page.


Well-known member
Last edited: