You Need A Budget (YNAB)'s Friendly UX Copywriting

October 24, 2018
User onboarding

You Need A Budget—otherwise known as YNAB—is a software company aimed at helping the “financially ignorant” among us to stop living paycheck to paycheck, get out of debt, and save more money. They help their users reach this goal by coupling their award-winning budgeting software with a straightforward, four-rule method for creating a budget you can actually stick to.

Personal budgeting is a wide-ranging topic—a confusing initial experience or a lack of guidance can quickly lead users to abandon the product, and worse, their budgeting goals. YNAB's friendly approach to money management helps the user to feel comfortable and in control—their cheerful and good-humored tone is reflected throughout their site, their blog content, and also their UX writing and onboarding flow.

Once a user has registered for a new account, he or she is presented with a cordially written dialog welcoming them to their budget, and explaining the next steps in the onboarding process:

After clicking the button to get started, users have the option to either jump into the app themselves or follow a six-step onboarding workflow. A bar at the top of the screen animates to encourage users to continue through the onboarding process:

This bar persists throughout the onboarding process, helping the user to not only learn how to use the software, but also how to budget effectively. Each step in the onboarding flow covers one major use case within the software, such as setting a savings goal, linking a bank account, and finally, creating a budget:

After completing the onboarding process, the software congratulates each user for becoming a budgeter, and reminds them they can quickly return to the guide at any time if they need a refresher:

Why this is really good UX:

  • YNAB understands the biggest barrier to effective budgeting isn't learning how to use their software; it's shifting the mindset of their users and creating practical budgeting habits. Their onboarding flow walks users through the core budgeting concepts that YNAB follows, explaining at each step how to implement those practices within the software. This education-first approach to software onboarding is incredibly effective at reducing new user abandonment.
  • Especially for people who might not have experience budgeting and saving, creating a personal budget can be intimidating. YNAB's friendly, approachable tone to their UX writing helps users feel comfortable and confident building their budget, encouraging them to stick with the tool long enough to start seeing results.

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