First Impressions Matter: A Deep Dive into the Onboarding of the Oura Ring Wearable

By Allison Sall
March 7, 2024

Onboarding involves multiple touchpoints and can make or break any product’s experience. Wearables are literally attached to the user, and the onboarding is critical because they need to be integrated into a user’s routine to be successful. The precise moments when the user makes a purchase, unboxes, sets up, and begins using a wearable constitute sequential “firsts” that can either inspire or disappoint. With onboarding in mind, I tried the Oura Ring.

Oura Ring App

If you have yet to hear of it, The Oura Ring is a wellness wearable. It tracks over 20 biometrics and is marketed as the most innovative and stylish wearable available. The reason I wanted to try the Oura ring was to learn more about my sleep patterns. I wear an Apple Watch daily but find it uncomfortable to sleep in. I’ve tried wrist wearables like the Whoop band, but I dislike having multiple gadgets on my wrist. I’m also a jewelry nerd, and the idea of a wearable ring to track health and sleep appealed to me. 

Oura Ring

The Oura Ring site lets you build the ring by choosing style, finish, and size.

Making a Wearable Purchase

The Oura Ring site is beautiful. They do a great job of introducing the benefits of technology and building excitement and confidence. When you buy the ring, you can get a sizing kit to determine the perfect fit. The Oura ring is a thick band, and finding the right size must be one of the biggest challenges for their product. Unlike a wristband wearable, which can be adjusted, the ring must fit comfortably on a variety of finger sizes. More on this later. Their checkout cleanly communicates the accessories and membership included with the purchase, along with the generous 30-day return policy. These details remove friction at checkout.

Key Takeaways:

  • Set clear expectations about the product and service at checkout (7-day battery life, membership, included charger). 
  • De-risk and build confidence in the purchase 
Oura Ring sizing kit

The sizing kit has an interesting presentation, maintaining excitement

Unboxing Part 1. The Sizing kit

The sizing kit arrived about a week after my purchase. The simple box contained eight black plastic rings that you could try on to identify the best fit. The way the rings were arranged made it fun to try on. The sizing kit uses a numeric system; however, as a jewelry nerd, I knew their sizes don’t directly correlate to standard US ring sizes – they run slightly larger. Since the two systems are so similar, it may have been less confusing to use a completely distinct sizing system to avoid confusion (and vanity). 

Confirming the size

The size confirmation misses the opportunity to celebrate a milestone.

Once you find the right size, you need to log into the Oura site and enter it in your profile. There’s some hunting and pecking to find the right page, and after submitting your size, the confirmation is purely transactional. It felt like a weak handshake when it would have been better if they had incorporated celebratory messaging to help me feel like I had just passed an important onboarding milestone. 

ring packaging

The package of the actual ring lacks excitement.

Unboxing Part 2. The Ring

A week later, the actual ring arrived in a kraft brown shipping box with the charger, ring, and user guide. Frankly, I felt disappointed by the functional presentation – especially considering this is jewelry. They missed an opportunity to unveil the ring in a more striking way. 

Key Takeaways:

  • Maintain the excitement of the purchase at each touchpoint to celebrate milestones.
  • Build excitement with the out-of-box experience.
Oura Ring on hand

Oura Ring in action

Set Up and App Onboarding

The ring looks just as shiny in person as on the website. I eagerly slipped it onto my finger, expecting it to power on. However, there are no controls on the ring itself, which makes sense given its high-traffic location on a finger. To activate it, I needed to download the app, charge the ring, and sign up for the membership.

Like getting a toy without batteries, this process felt disjointed and slightly dampened the initial excitement of receiving the ring. It would have removed a few steps if the process for creating a membership happened at the same time as purchasing the ring. The app led me through a series of questions to personalize my experience: asking which areas I wanted to focus on — being more present, improving athletic performance, etc. — and logging my common physical activities. I appreciated the short onboarding and was curious how the biometrics could help me be more “present” (my selected focus area).

Oura Ring Onboarding

The onboarding walks you through choosing a focus area and educating you on the metrics

Once in the app, I found its navigation intuitive; it displays the battery level of the ring and has a dashboard of metrics. The first-time experience has several educational modules that explain the biometrics and the scoring system. For example, the app explained that “readiness” is a measurement composed of your resting heart rate, heart rate variability, body temperature, and respiratory rate. Bundled together, they provide your readiness for the day. I appreciate that each metric uses a consistent scoring system out of 100, making it easy to scan and compare.

Evolving with Use

With consistent use, or rather, constant wearing, you are rewarded with biometric scores and summaries by day. New metrics reveal over time; for example, “resilience,” which is your ability to recover from stress, is shown after a 2-week baseline. I love this concept because it rewards you for consistency.

I also appreciated the overall positive tone and motivational cues of the ring; it felt like a supportive friend instead of a fitness coach nudging you to create incremental improvements. For example, in its encouragement to create a consistent sleep routine, the ring reassured me, “It’s better to take small steps towards a more consistent routine. Give yourself time, and don’t try to fix everything at once.” Excellent advice for building better habits

Sleep stats on the Oura Ring

Oura Ring’s sleep digs into stats about time and efficiency.

After a month, I found myself waking up each morning to see how I slept (not that I couldn’t determine that by how I felt). Although I like the data, I didn’t have any “aha” moments. For example, with sleep, it told me the average length of time and my bedtime range, but it didn’t connect the dots by giving me an ideal sleep length or highlighting data points about how well I rest. The focus area still needs to be clarified as to how my biometrics connect to my chosen focus area.

Overall, I like the Oura ring for its metrics, tone, and format. I recommend it to someone who is looking to track biometrics. However, the first impressions could be improved by streamlining the number of steps involved in the setup process, maintaining excitement throughout the initial touchpoints, and personalizing the guidance provided to the user.

Key Takeaways:

  1. Reduce the number of steps in onboarding to maintain excitement and minimize interruptions, such as having to leave the app to set up or waiting for the device to charge before use.
  2. Create an intuitive and simple navigation to ensure a smooth user experience.
  3. Offer motivational cues and positive feedback to encourage habit formation.
  4. Continue to reveal features to keep users engaged and rewarded.
  5. Personalize the insights and provide “aha” moments quickly.