Why your digital product needs an Aha moment

Tuesday, October 6, 2020

What is an Aha moment in product design and why should you care? Well, an Aha moment is the exact point in time when a user understands the value they get from a product or service.

This means they understand the value the product will provide to them as a customer and then in turn usually results in a commitment from them to said product.

A good example of an Aha moment might be when you sign up for a fitness app, you get a 10-day free trial and dive in. If the product doesn’t present an Aha moment, you may never convert. So you must understand the value within the first 10 days.

For that example maybe the Aha moment is the first time you complete one of the awesome workouts, you then realize how world-class the content is and how clear and easy it was to follow while presenting a good challenge for your fitness level.

You think to yourself, I can see myself doing this and getting the gain I am after. Aha! There is the moment, values aimed at the target user and understood. From research, we understand that improvements in a user’s first 5 minutes can drive a 50% conversion in lifetime value.

This means it is vital to get users to the Aha moment as soon as possible, or at least set up a continuation of the experience to unlock it.

How can we understand our Aha moment?

One thing you must be careful of is cognitive bias, cognitive bias can happen when you believe your users have the same amount of knowledge as you and you can end up hindering Aha moments with this type of thinking.

That is why user testing is imperative, there a few ways to understand your Aha moment. Firstly you need a clearly defined value proposition (as all good products should) which helps you understand where you are most valuable and to who. If you have that in place then it is a good starting point to interview users who are new to your product or to walk brand new users through your onboarding with a user test to gather feedback.

Speak to your users

Qualitative research is needed to help you understand users Aha moment. For that you need to speak to two types of user, yes you guessed it! Users that converted and stayed passed the trial period and users that churned or canceled either during or just after the trial.

New users — For a user that is new to the platform, you should ask some of these questions to understand when was their Aha moment. Get them to think back to when they first signed up and ask:

  • Where were you when you first signed up?
  • What were the first things you did when on the platform?
  • Do you use any competitors, what made you choose this platform over that?
  • If they use it in conjunction, why? What is it the other product provides better than us?
  • What was the pivotal moment you thought, yes this is for me?
  • Why did you join the product after the trial?
  • What are your goals and how do you feel the product delivers on them?
  • How can we help you better achieve your goals?
  • What could be improved when you first tried the platform?

Users who canceled — For a user that left you need to catch them with either a cancelation survey in the platform or an email to them after they leave. The on-platform approach usually gets a much higher response rate and can even sometimes be used as a way to stop users canceling by giving them solutions and guidance on their problems. Questions you should ask:

  • Why did you cancel/leave us?
  • What could have changed your mind?
  • What did you like about the experience?
  • What did you dislike?

Usually, a starting point like this with open text field answers will give you a pattern on responses. They may, for example, say I canceled because I did not use the product enough. You then edit the questions to have that as predefined answer and then drill deeper into why they don’t use it enough, were you too busy, did you not know where to start, etc.

Using constant exit surveys and cancellation feedback you should be able to understand why people are leaving and how to get them more effectively to that Aha moment.

By interviewing at least 5 users from each type across your various personas you should be able to see a pattern in where you provide value and what might be your Aha moment.

Use data

By looking at your product data you should be able to notice patterns between users that do continue vs cancel in the trial period. What are the key things that are happening in the user’s journey when they stay? Or what is one thing that is maybe having a poor effect on the experience and driving users away?


Having clear information that introduces your user to your product is vital. You need to know how much hand-holding they need and guide them to their Aha moment. Some techniques you can read more about include tooltips, tutorials, and walkthroughs.


Aha moments are critical in product design to show the value to your target users. With them, users may miss how the product helps them and never convert or leave early. Figure out what your products Aha moment is and make it happen early on in the experience to help improve conversion and lifetime value.

Written by Daniel Birch

CEO at UserXD

Posted on:

Tuesday, October 6, 2020




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