The IET - Community Onboarding

Strategy - Design - Development

About the IET


Designing easy and intuitive registration processes for digital experiences has always been a tricky process to get right. You need to balance the need for customer details, with the user’s desire to access the site quickly—an almost impossible task without compromise.

For The Institution of Engineering and Technology’s community, it’s even more important to find this balance.

User Onboarding

The Challenge

Personalisation is at the heart of our Verint Community implementation project for The IET.

The complex community aims to engage engineers by surfacing content specific to their skills and interests via the activity feed, forum and digest emails.

For example, a robotics engineer doesn’t have to see content relating to railways unless they want to. Likewise, unanswered questions get automatically promoted to users with corresponding expertise to improve the likelihood of finding/giving an answer in an acceptable time frame.

Therefore, getting members to complete their profiles during onboarding is vital for ensuring they get their needs met by the community. The experience sets the stage for long-term engagement, loyalty, and growth.

To support this, 4 Roads built a detailed onboarding experience for new and existing users, aimed at gathering details on the user’s interests, specialist areas of expertise, bio statements and much more. Our UX team designed it to be quick and easy to complete, but detailed enough to instantly shape the community experience around their interests and professional profile.

To reduce the risk of frustration, we also incorporated a ‘skip and complete later’ option, allowing users to bypass the onboarding process and immediately access the community.

Fast forward 12 months and The IET realised too many users either skipped the onboarding steps, took too long to complete their profiles or fell out of the onboarding flow altogether.

They were being directed to create an SSO via the company website before returning to the community login, unfortunately creating fatigue before a user even sets foot in the community and begins building their profile.

It also became clear that asking busy engineers to fill out a long and detailed profile in one go can be overwhelming and discourage them from completing it.

Not only was this causing the community to fail at gathering enough information on the user and their needs, but the user acquisition metric (measuring the number of new sign-ups) was lower than expectations.

We had to help The IET rethink the user onboarding strategy.


Progressive Profiling

The Solution

In order to fix the issue with new registrations, we needed to make the initial step for users to access the community content feel instant and effortless.

We accomplished this by implementing a one-click registration page, allowing users to progress from the SSO page and into the community after answering three simple questions (their preferred name, their reason for being here and an acceptance to the community terms). By removing the number of fields required, we reduced the number of users abandoning the sign-up process.

Additionally, when members return from creating an SSO, they now get the choice to continue with their profile building or continue where they left off.

For the users skipping their profile building, we needed to consider a new way of presenting the information contained in the original onboarding steps.

We adopted a new strategy; ‘progressive profiling’.

Progressive profiling” is a strategy that divides the profile completion process into smaller stages rather than requiring users to complete the entire profile at once.

By breaking down the profile completion process into smaller stages, over time users are more likely to fully complete their profile because it makes the process more manageable and the time investment seems smaller.

The IET will also get better insights and data on whether a specific stage of the onboarding process is a bottleneck causing people to drop off, or if people are hesitant to add certain information.

To encourage users who skipped onboarding to complete their profiles, 4 Roads built a new calculator widget for the homepage that tracks what percentage of their profile is complete and softly offers hints and tips to complete the outstanding areas of their profile. Not only does this encourage new users to complete their profiles, but it also prompts existing users to do the same.

The impact of these changes has been phenomenal.

How it turned out

The Results

Since implementing progressive profiling, we have seen a substantial increase in the number of users who are completing the different stages of their profile.

You can see the increases broken down by onboarding task after the update went live.

The implementation of the progressive profiling project has resulted in a significant increase in the completion rates of all onboarding tasks.


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People Search

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Job Title

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Of particular note was the remarkable 93% increase in completion rates for “People Search”, which far exceeded expectations. This increase indicates that users are now more willing to provide information about themselves and are actively engaging in the community.

For a community dedicated to connecting engineers across global borders, this task is especially critical because increasing the number of profiles with this information will let users filter by precise specialisms, helping members to connect and collaborate with the right people.

For example, on the left we have filtered by a Technical Interest in Aerospace, showing all members with this interest. We can also filter further by country or technical specialism if we want to connect with specific members in our country.

“The implementation of progressive profiling has been a significant step forward in improving the user experience on our platform. By making the profile completion process more manageable and user-friendly, we have been able to increase completion rates, gain better insights into our users, and foster a more engaged and collaborative community.”

Evanna Gale
Content and Engagement manager

Overall, the success of the progressive profiling project can be seen in the notable increases in completion rates across all onboarding tasks.

With improved completion rates, users can better gauge the credibility of other community members and ensure the content they see is tailored to their needs, while The IET can better utilise the existing personalisation functionality. Not only does this create a better community experience for these members, but it also helps the existing community by further encouraging knowledge-sharing and collaboration.

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