There are many factors that contribute to an app marketplace's success. One of them is having a great onboarding process for developers, which ultimately leads to higher quality apps and more of them. Here are several things to consider for the best onboarding experience:
Choosing the right onboarding requirements is a balancing act. On the one hand, a long list of strict requirements filters out all but the most professional developer organizations, improving the quality of app submissions. On the other hand, overly strict requirements can discourage developers from signing up altogether.
As a starting point, onboarding should require the following from developers:
The legal name of the developer organization
Contact information/person for the developer organization
Contextual information e.g. size or industry of the developer organization
Confirmation that the developer organization has read and agreed to some kind of developer agreement, usually by checking "I agree" or providing an e-signature
Some marketplaces may also require a short description of the developer organization.
Other requirements may include:
A service-level agreement (SLA) or uptime guarantee
An understanding of how the developer organization intends to provide support for its apps (e.g. support emails, calls, or trainings)
Additional business or legal contacts at the developer organization
Larger platforms — especially those in industries where compliance and/or security is paramount — may have more advanced requirements for developers. This could include relevant industry certifications (ISO, PCI, HIPAA, etc) or various internal documents, such as security policies or penetration testing reports.
In addition to these upfront requirements, it's also common for platform owners to schedule calls with new developers or request additional information.
Documentation is the most effective tool for improving the onboarding experience. Not only does it help developers in meeting the onboarding requirements, but it also tells them what those requirements are upfront, increasing the likelihood that they will sign up and participate.
Another benefit of documentation is that it may help to automate the onboarding process. With great documentation, the vast majority of signups should be successful, reducing the need for meetings or additional requests.
While a growing number of platforms are choosing to onboard developers manually, instant onboarding is still a viable option for some app marketplaces. In this case, all reviewing takes place at the app level. This approach may increase signups, but increases the workload associated with reviewing lower quality app submissions.
We've discussed how to optimize the onboarding experience for developers. On the next page — Analytics and Notifications — we'll look at what analytics developers should have access to.