What Is In-App Guidance? (+Benefits, Examples)
A great user interface doesn’t guarantee effective product adoption.
Whether you want to drive adoption among customers or assist employees with using business software, you can achieve it with in-app guidance. It’s a way to interactively introduce users to the capabilities of software without in-person training, directly in the app.
Are you looking to provide real-time in-app guidance right inside your product’s interface? This article will be your guide.
What Is In-App Guidance?
In-app guidance is a combination of resources that assist users through onboarding of a product. It may include interactive walkthroughs, tooltips, self-help widgets, and other formats that help to educate users on product functionality, drive engagement, and lead to product adoption.
5 Types of In-App Guidance Formats
Let’s distinguish between the different types of in-app guidance formats.
1. Product tours
A product tour is a sequence of tips displayed to new users once they log into the application for the first time. These in-app tutorials simply introduce users to product features step-by-step.
Above: With Whatfix, you can create product tours for customer-facing applications, as well as internally used software.
2. Smart tips
The problem with product tours is that users typically skip them. This is where smart tips come in handy. These are on-demand tooltips that can be called by hovering the cursor over a specific element on a page.
Above: Example of a smart tip created with Whatfix.
3. Onboarding task lists
To encourage users to go through the entire onboarding process and master a new feature or app, product teams create task lists as a part of in-app guidance. Onboarding task lists offer steps a user must go through to navigate the app’s features.
Above: Example of using Whatfix to create an in-app tasklist for onboarding new users.
4. Interactive flows and walkthroughs
Interactive product walkthroughs help users master the product by interacting with it. They encourage them to take action once they’ve learned something new. For instance, after reading a tooltip on how to add new contacts to the CRM system, the user can practice it right away for better understanding.
Above: Example of an interactive walkthrough built with Whatfix. You can use Whatfix to create in-app walkthroughs that overlay on any cloud or desktop app.
5. Alerts and beacons
Not only should in-app guidance tell users what to do, but it also should warn them when something goes wrong. Alerts and beacons help notify people when they don’t use the feature as intended or when application errors arise.
Above: How you can use Whatfix no-code editor to create branded in-app alerts and beacons
Benefits of In-App Guidance
There are many reasons for you to spend time developing in-app guidance. Let’s have a look at the most significant ones.
1. Better onboarding and reduced time-to-value
Have you heard of the “aha!” moment? It happens when a product user first realizes its value for their use case. The aha moment triggers a positive emotional reaction among users and makes them understand how a product has solved a problem for them, answered a question, or taught them a new skill. In-app guidance helps drive users to this moment faster, reducing time-to-value for realizing a product’s full capabilities.
2. Increase user engagement
By offering many ways for you to interact with users indirectly — through to-do lists and interactive walkthroughs — in-app guidance creates a whole new channel to spike user engagement.
3. Enable learning by doing
Product demos are good to briefly introduce people to the platform’s capabilities. Yet there’s a good chance they’ll forget what they’ve learned once they are inside the application. The only way to master a platform is by practice or, in other words, learning while doing. In-app guidance enables learning in the flow of work by providing new users direction and tools to get contextual answers to their questions in the moment of need
4. Boost user proficiency and self-serviceability
In-app guidance enables users to perform tasks and resolve issues without turning to anyone for help. This customer self-service support model helps increase user proficiency in the software or application and results in more proactive employees and happier customers.
5. Drive user adoption
In-app guidance leads to successful user adoption, which happens when a user fully acclimates to the product and knows exactly how to resolve their problems. And when users understand the product’s value, they are more eager to include it in their daily routines.
You can learn how to drive customer and user adoption with Whatfix now.
6. Reduce support tickets
In-app guidance takes the burden off your support reps and IT team. When being able to call a self-help widget or tooltip, users will reach out to support agents less frequently – helping to significantly reduce customer support tickets.
When Should You Use In-App Guidance?
There are two main use cases for in-app guidance: driving product adoption for customers and users and supporting internal employees when introducing new business software.
1. In-App Guidance for Customers
These are the most common cases when your customers will need in-app guidance:
- Onboarding. You should create product tours, interactive walkthroughs, and task lists for new users during customer onboarding to navigate the features that will help them address their problems. Personalizing onboarding flows for new customers based on their specific pain points is good.
- New feature release. Use in-app notifications to inform users when you launch new features.
- Troubleshooting. Whenever users face minor issues, they should be able to resolve them on their own. To enable them to do so, create step-by-step troubleshooting guides your customers can call through a self-help widget.
- Continuous product adoption. User adoption doesn’t end when the onboarding process finishes. Users will need in-app guidance throughout their entire journey with your product to continue adopting it successfully.
2. In-App Guidance for Internal Employees
Encouraging software adoption among employees has become critical for businesses only recently. Creating in-app guidance for internal teams allows companies to reduce SaaS waste and increase employee productivity.
Here’s when providing employees with in-app training is most important:
- Onboarding employees to a new software application. When you introduce new business software to your team, hosting a one-off workshop isn’t enough. Work together with a software provider or implement a digital adoption platform (more on this below) to create onboarding flows for every tool in your tech stack.
- Self-help support. Even after going through a detailed onboarding flow, people will have questions as they’re getting to know the product. Implement a self-help widget your employees can turn to when tooltips aren’t sufficient.
- Operational change. As you develop internal operations and develop more effective ways to perform tasks, don’t forget to communicate it in in-app guidance.
- New feature launch. Typically, service providers inform customers of new feature releases. But if it doesn’t happen or you use custom-built software, you must notify employees about any product changes through in-app alerts.
Examples of In-App Guidance
Product adoption is one of the factors behind product success. That’s why the world’s best SaaS products are filled with interactive walkthroughs, tooltips, self-help widgets, and beacons. Below are just a few examples of in-app guidance by our favorite software providers.
1. Whatfix’s interactive walkthroughs
Whatfix specializes in helping businesses drive digital adoption and create a seamless product experience for users.
It provides step-by-step instructions for key workflows. Users see these instructions as they follow the steps of a guided tour, learning about processes as they work. Product walkthroughs are especially useful for simplifying the training processes for complex enterprise applications. You can use them to engage users both during initial onboarding and when you roll out new features.
2. Hotjar’s onboarding checklist
What’s particularly good about this example? It doesn’t disrupt the user experience. To call the widget, you need to press the button at the bottom of the page. Unless you do it, Hotjar will not disturb your workflow with an intrusive pop-up window or a product tour you didn’t ask for.
3. ClickUp’s interactive walkthroughs
The ClickUp team doesn’t use product tours. They prefer interactive walkthroughs that enable their customers to learn by doing. To unlock new recommendations, users need to take certain actions.
Like Hotjar’s onboarding checklist, ClickUp’s walkthrough isn’t intrusive. You can simply ignore it — and it won’t interrupt any workflow.
4. Serpstat’s smart tips
Every search engine optimization (SEO) platform has its own algorithms for calculating metrics. Therefore, it’s critical for Serpstat, an SEO tool, to provide contextual tooltips to explain the terms and concepts that appear within its product interface.
Tooltips are usually brief and only touch upon the topics, without going too deep in detail.
5. Slack’s self-help widget and Slackbot
Alongside offering product walkthroughs for newbies, Slack empowers users with self-help content. Topics can be accessed through a button in the right corner of the screen. Once you press it, a help tab appears and lets you search topics that might answer your question.
Why is this example remarkable enough to make it to this list? A self-help widget opens right within the Slack app — it doesn’t redirect you to a new page. Users can read through help topics without moving to a different page, which makes it easy to follow the guidance and doesn’t disrupt the user experience.
5 Tools to Create In-App Guided Content
You don’t have to be a tech professional to create in-app guidance. You just need the right digital adoption platform (DAP) that will provide you with an interface to layer contextual help to your software.
Whatfix is your go-to solution for all things user experience. It’s a no-code DAP that integrates with your product and automates in-app guidance creation for your employees and customers. Not only does Whatfix offer contextual assistance within any application, but it also monitors user behavior to provide you with actionable real-time insights on how people are using a product or business software.
These are the key features you’ll access in Whatfix:
Product and guidance analytics
2. Salesforce In-App Guidance
Salesforce also offers an opportunity for its users to create in-app walkthroughs and add prompts to drive platform adoption. Businesses can write customized help content, select the target audience, and schedule different flows. It also provides customizable reports with real-time user engagement insights.
To access it, install the In-App Guidance package. The package is generally available to all Salesforce users.
Pendo is a digital adoption platform where you can create self-service resources, collect user feedback, and monitor product engagement — all in one interface.
The platform allows you to collect audience insights and use them to personalize help content for each user. It also offers solutions for guiding users through mobile experiences.
Appcues is software for designing personalized product experiences. Similar to other platforms on the list, it enables you to build product walkthroughs, measure user engagement, and collect feedback with in-app surveys.
After installing the SDK, you can create flows with no-code Appcues Builder. It’s easy to personalize user journeys by choosing who and when sees the content you’ve created. You can target users dynamically based on behavior or attribute like demographics.
Userlane offers a no-code solution for producing and maintaining training and support content. With it, you can create product tours, announce updates, promote marketing content, start surveys, and offer self-service support. Userlane’s solutions are helpful when you need to introduce new software to your team or familiarize your customers with new product features.
Accessible in-app guidance is the second critical feature of a good product (the first one is functionality). And while functionality is the reason people buy, proper in-app guidance is the reason they stick.
Luckily, you can design amazing user experiences without writing a line of code. Whether you need to create help content for your own product or third-party software, you can do it by implementing a digital adoption platform.