“For the things we have to learn before we can do them, we learn by doing them.”  – Aristotle

To Growth Marketers, Product Managers, and other decision makers, this quote works much like a mantra. The reason being that learning by experiencing has now become one of the major driving factors in user acquisition and retention. And so, every web-app that is developed requires a user experience and a user engagement model that works.
The biggest challenge to this is that there are many people who prefer learning and figuring out websites/web-apps by themselves. But then, how do you make sure that they understand the value of your product?
That is where a nascent but a quickly growing technology called in-app interactive walkthroughs makes its grand entrance.
Before we move into discussing what in-app walkthroughs are, here’s a TL;DR version of this article:

  1. What are in-app interactive walkthroughs
  2. Good website design v/s in-app interactive walkthroughs
  3. Lessons on user experience design that we can learn from Aristotle
  4. How to create the “ideal” user experience funnel
  5. Where all can you use interactive walkthroughs
  6. Why are web-apps rapidly moving towards adopting this technology

Sound interesting? Well then let’s begin by understanding the ideation behind it.

What are interactive walkthroughs?

Interactive walkthroughs help users navigate through the right places in a website or a web-app. They appear as a tooltip or as balloon tips that highlight particular elements on the web-apps that prompt the user to take an action.
But then, do you think these interactive walkthroughs are a threat to good web design? Well, it’s not.
Salesforce Onboarding - Whatfix

An interactive walkthrough created with Whatfix

Good website designs v/s in-app interactive walkthroughs

Interactive walkthroughs do not replace a good website design, but it is there to support and compliment it.
The reason being:

  • Even though your website’s UI is exemplary, there may be users who don’t understand certain aspects of it.
  • Not everyone is capable of tapping into their intuition and comprehend the UI of web platforms and its features instantly.
  • There may be many technologically challenged users or some who might not have time for figuring out the website/web-app. For them, these walkthroughs are truly a boon.

In fact, with the interactive walkthroughs, you will be able to guide the users to all the touchpoints in the web-app that you want to highlight. Say, for example, you manage a SaaS platform for Marketing and you have a new feature released, that will simplify analytics for your customers. You can use the walkthrough to give your users a tour of the feature, get them to try it out and generate more interest as soon as you launch.
In-app interactive walkthroughs are not a forced addition, instead, it is a good to have addition to your website/web-app.
Now, before we move on forward, let’s bounce back and analyze the quote by Aristotle,  that hooked you on to this article.

Lessons on user experience design that we can learn from Aristotle

User Experience Aristotle

Image Source

To elaborate on this quote, I would start with the easiest and most relatable thing that we all love – Gaming.
Most of the games nowadays have a “compulsory” user onboarding process that handholds new players and get them started. This process gets the players familiarized with the game and teaches them the basics of “how to” play it, as soon as they begin. (Much like the in-app interactive walkthroughs.)
This method of engaging users with a walkthrough while onboarding has proved to be fruitful for many games and applications.
The best example would be that of Angry Birds 2. When Rovio released its flagship game, they made sure that level 1 of the game is the best possible onboarding and training experience for the new players.
Angry Birds 2 Onboarding

  1. It taught the players the basic aspects of the game with compulsory action steps and tried to create a sense of achievement for the players as they progressed.
  2. They made sure that the players earned badges, unlocked achievements and advanced through the ranks to reinforce that sense of achievement.

And well, in about 2 weeks after the launch, they hit 30 million users. Wow, is it? Not really, it’s the result of their well-planned user experience.
So, simply put, onboarding new users to an app/game are analogous to meeting someone for the first time. You would definitely want to make a good first impression and keep that hope of continuing the conversation, alive. Once your user is onboard, it is vital that you keep them engaged enough to convert them from a newbie user to a habitual user.
Also Read: Interactive & Cognitive Walkthrough – The Simple Formula For A Terrific UX

<h3>How to create the “ideal” user experience funnel

As I mentioned earlier, onboarding a new user is similar to meeting a person for the first time. But then, how do you make sure that the new user feels welcomed? How do you engage them? How do you create the “ideal” user experience funnel?
Well, there are two approaches that developers and product managers adapt to fit the situation.
1- The traditional way is a stepped approach that walks the users through all the options that are available. With this, the user could pick and choose the options and customize the experience themselves. Much like the prompts you get before you install an OS or a software in your system. You can customize it the way you want it entirely.
But the main bottleneck for such a system is that novice users would find it difficult to navigate through and to pick and choose the needed features. And that would ultimately result in, more drop-outs.
2- The second approach is more appealing. This is used by most of the social media websites, where they ask the users for only the information that is absolutely necessary. And nothing more. (Think, Facebook & Twitter) The user can use the recommended defaults and if needed do a minimal customization after the setup.
This would result in, increased number of sign-ups. But still, the chances of users getting confused, after signing up, would still persist.
That brings us to the question, how to make your onboarding/training method more robust and gripping? And how to thwart the user confusion, for good?
That’s where in-app interactive walkthroughs step in and make its mark. It may not be the solution for the “Ideal” user experience. But it definitely is a step forward to achieve it.

Where can you use interactive walkthroughs?

The use cases for in-app interactive walkthroughs are numerous. Here are few to get you excited about this technology.

1- Product Tour

Facebook Take a Tour
Facebook features a “Take a Tour” button that gives the users a guided product tour of its platform, explaining the capability and usability of each of its elements.
Interactive walkthroughs can be tweaked to perform in a similar way. You can create a complete website tour to describe the distinct features that you have on your website/web-app and ease your users through it.

2- User Onboarding

Trouble onboarding new users to your website? In-app interactive walkthroughs can help you create an ideal funnel experience for your users to get on board and learn how to use your product. If the users understand your product well enough, then they are more likely to use it.

3- User Training

Salesforce Training
Most of the enterprise software nowadays are complex and have hundreds of functions. New users often get startled by the dizzying array of choices that they get.
This is why there are a number of courses to train before learning to use popular CRM’s like Salesforce, Oracle CRM, and Microsoft Dynamics. So that, the confusion and clutter are dismissed, and employee productivity is ensured.
Let’s consider Salesforce Training Program as a case. Training users on this SaaS CRM, notably one of the best in the current market, consumes a lot of time and is quite expensive. But with interactive walkthroughs, you will be able to guide your users through a tailor made Salesforce Training Program that helps them grasp the CRM quickly and effectively.
The above image is that of an interactive walkthrough created on Salesforce using the SaaS-based guidance tool, Whatfix.

4- Help & Support

Help and support costs are soaring high across all the web-based industries. And the only way to keep it on a leash is by automating the process and reducing the manual effort. Interactive walkthroughs can be used to solve this pain point instantly.
American Health-as-a-Service provider, Maxwell Health adopted interactive walkthroughs to help streamline their helpdesk and to solve bulk user queries. For this, they integrated in-app interactive walkthroughs in their help section. Which resulted in better user engagement and lower supported quotes

5- Self-service

In a similar context to help and support, self-service is gaining much popularity amongst the web-apps these days. Websites are encouraging users to solve their queries themselves by providing them with a self-help service through which they can figure out the solution and do it themselves.
For example, take a look at the Flipkart Affiliate Program website. They have a self-help widget embedded to the right-hand side, which on click shows the users help articles in the form of walkthroughs.
As I had mentioned before, these are just a few of the many use cases of in-app interactive walkthroughs. But with its potential to make the web experience seamless, there can be umpteen more use cases, across industries.

Why are web-apps rapidly moving towards adopting this technology?

Most of the first-class web products are not designed to be intuitive on the first usage. They require several iterations to get to the right track of user experience. And on the way to get to that track, they discover a lot of pain-points which they try and tackle in the simplest of manner.

In-app interactive walkthroughs are a technology that fits this profile. Its effectiveness in reducing confusion, clutter, ability to streamline onboarding, training, support, and its simpler nature is working out for it, very well. Possibly, in the near future, this would be the base point for most of the apps.

With the number of complex apps increasing day by day, there is no question that whether this would be useful. And sooner, this nascent technology will move to the forefront from a good-to-have tool to a must-have tool.
The only thing that remains to be decided is whether you would go for it, or not.
What do you think about interactive walkthroughs? Tell us in our comments.

Do you like the concept of in-app interactive walkthroughs? Well then, you won’t have to go around looking for options.
Whatfix is a SaaS-based tool that will help you create in-app interactive walkthroughs on your website or web-app, seamlessly. We’ve been helping companies solve all the aforementioned issues effectively and that too, in the best way possible. We’ve emerged as one of the best alternatives to a number of Digital Adoption Platforms the likes of Walkme, Nickelled, Inline Manual, etc.