5 Best React Product Tour Libraries for Onboarding UX (2024)

5 Best React Product Tour Libraries for Onboarding UX (2024)

For mobile and web apps built with React, there are a few user onboarding options for development teams. A common solution is building a product tour and other onboarding UX overlays for onboarding new users.

React libraries can help you launch onboarding experiences in your website or application that cost a fraction of SaaS customer onboarding software. And once your engineering team codes and embed them, they’re fully customizable.

But, are they sincerely a better fit than a packaged user onboarding experience? It’s hard to say if you don’t explore what React onboarding libraries offer and how they compare with out-of-the-box user onboarding tools.

This article will help you understand the differences between an open-source product tour and a SaaS alternative and which option to is best for enabling new users with product-led onboarding.

5 Best React Product Tour Libraries for Creating User Onboarding Experiences

  1. Intro.js
  2. React Joyride
  3. React Shepherd.js
  4. Reactour
  5. Walktour

What Is a React Product Tour?

A React product tour is a product tour created using a React library that guides users through your application with an onboarding wizard including UX elements and overlays such as product tours, step-by-step guides, interactive walkthroughs, contextual dialog boxes, tooltips, and UX hotspots.

They’re usually a lite solution that helps you inject an onboarding experience into your product or website with a few lines of code.


React Product Tours vs. Buying a SaaS Platform

While many product teams may prefer to build customized product tours and user onboarding experiences in-house with a React library, that is not always the most feasible or logical approach to creating in-app guidance

Here are the pros and cons of each approach for those considering build vs buy for user onboarding:

 Building product tours in-house with ReactUsing a SaaS platform to create onboarding UX and product tours
  • Flexibility
  • Pricing.
  • No-Code.
  • Simple Setup.
  • Security & Support.
  • Variety of Onboarding UX Elements.
  • User Analytics.
  • Heavy Engineering Resources.
  • Lack of Pre-Built Elements and Templates.
  • Compatibility Issues.
  • Vulnerability.
  • No analytics.
  • Pricing.
  • Not as Customizable.

1. Build an in-house product tour with React

While many product teams may prefer to build customized product tours and user onboarding experiences in-house with a React library, that is not always the most feasible or logical approach to creating in-app guidance

Here are the pros and cons of using a React product tour library for creating user onboarding experiences:

React product tour library pros

  • Flexibility: Building your onboarding experience in-house offers infinite customization options & you can develop an open-source library beyond its core functionality. This allows you to create exactly what you want that meets your brand requirements.
  • Pricing: Most of the React libraries we’ve shared below (Reactour, React Shepherd.js, Joyride ) are offered under the MIT license that permits you to fork, modify, and distribute them for free.


React product tour library cons

  • Heavy engineering resources: Creating and maintaining an in-house library requires engineering resources that’ll only grow as your product scales. For every new onboarding UX element you want to create, or experiment with, you’ll need to rely on your engineering team to make those changes and manage maintenance.
  • Lack of pre-built elements: React libraries have certain onboarding UX elements.
  • Compatibility issues: React libraries can have compatibility issues with specific applications.
  • Vulnerability: A maintainer who has access to the source code of a library you use can slip in malware that can infect your stack and cost you more to clean it up than a mainstream SaaS onboarding solution.
  • No built-in analytics: React libraries require product teams to utilize a third-party solution for tracking the effectiveness and performance of product tours and overlay wizards.

2. Investing in a SaaS provider for creating onboarding UX and product tours

An onboarding SaaS product will generally offer more advanced features than an open source React or Javascript library, or an in-house alternative. This includes no-code tools for building, launching, testing, and analyzing product tours, onboarding task lists, pop-ups, walkthroughs, and more. These tools include digital adoption platforms (DAP), user onboarding tools, or product tour software

Many of these platforms also offer user segmentation capabilities to build contextual product tours and overlays for specific user cohorts. Many also offer user behavioral analytics features to analyze the effectiveness of onboarding experiences and product tours to understand engagement, identify friction points, and improve onboarding success.

Ultimately, it depends on your product’s specific use case, from company size, engineering resources, onboarding UX needs, daily active users, etc.

Here are the pros and cons of using a SaaS platform like a DAP or product tour software for creating user onboarding experiences and overlays:

Pros of using a SaaS platform for creating product tours:

  • No-Code: Most onboarding SaaS platforms are no-code by default so that non-technical users can modify them using a drag-and-drop editor; they’re ideal if you have limited engineering resources or your developers are already stretched thin.
  • Setup: It’s easy to setup almost instantly without needing to read over product documentation to understand how to inject an onboarding library into your product or website.
  • Security & Support: SaaS products offer better support, especially with security concerns since their product depends on their reputation; in comparison, if you detect a security bug in an open-source onboarding library, there’s no obligation for the maintainer to fix it.
  • Variety of Onboarding UX Elements: DAPs and other product tour SaaS providers often provide many types of onboarding UX elements outside of just a product tour, including things like interactive walkthroughs, task lists, tooltips, beacons, pop-ups, self-help centers, and more. 
  • User Analytics: SaaS product tour providers also have built-in product analytics to analyze the effectiveness of onboarding experiences and to identify friction points inside these flows. 


Cons of using a SaaS platform for creating product tours:

  • Pricing: Onboarding SaaS platforms are targeted at mid-to large-scale companies and their pricing ranges usually from a limited free tier to enterprise plans that can cost $20,000 annually.
  • Not as Flexible or Customizable: While an onboarding SaaS platform might offer more responsive support, it’s usually only for their existing features and it’s a given that most software companies don’t build features on a whim, simply because you requested them. As a result, it can take months or years before they release certain critical features, no matter how essential they are to your onboarding experience.

Create contextual user onboarding flows, drive adoption of new features, and make in-app announcements with Whatfix

Whatfix is a no-code digital adoption platform that enables product managers to create contextual in-app guidance, product-led user onboarding, and self-help user support – all without engineering dependencies. With Whatfix, create branded product tours, user onboarding checklists, interactive walkthroughs, pop-ups, smart tips, and more – all enabling customers and users with contextual guidance at the moment need. With Whatfix, analyze, build, and deliver better user experiences.

5 Best React Onboarding Libraries for User Onboarding in 2024

Here are five of the best React onboarding libraries for engineering teams creating custom, native user onboarding experiences:

1. Intro.js

Intro.js is a lightweight, user-friendly library that lets you embed step-by-step customer onboarding tours on your website. Intro.js is simple to install and uses a mix of JavaScript and CSS for rendering onboarding UX elements and experiences.


Intro.js has 22k stars on Github, it’s actively developed, and has an ecosystem of 102 contributors. It’s written in a mashup of languages—HTML, TypeScript, JavaScript, CSS, etc. As of April 2023 when I drafted this article, it had 318k downloads per month, and it’s still being actively developed (the latest pull request was from 3 weeks ago).

It’s AGPL-licensed and open-source so that you can fork their codebase for your open-source, personal, or non-commercial hobbyist projects, but if you’re using Intro.js for a commercial project, you need to purchase a paid version, and fees range from $9.99 to $299 for a lifetime license, depending on your application’s scale and the quality of support you want.

2. React Joyride

React Joyride helps product teams and engineers create guided tours for your product or app by embedding a few lines of code. Among others, it offers engineers a tool to select DOM elements and overlay:


Like Intro.js, React Joyride has an extensive ecosystem with 43 contributors, 5.5k stars on Github, and 476 forks. It’s distributed under the MIT license, giving you essentially unlimited rights to fork, modify, and even distribute it liberally.

Now, to the specifics, React Joyride might not be such an excellent fit for you if you’re willing to pay some money for ongoing premium support—their GitHub profile shows it was last updated ten months ago & while you might save a few bucks (say, over an alternative like Intro.js), it might end up biting you with unforeseen bugs.

For instance, there are unresolved bugs from as far back as August 2020, and by all indications, it’s a hobby project the maintainer tinkers with occasionally. So, I’d insist React Joyride might be a fit if you’re a developer looking to tinker around, fork React Joyride, and build yourself a custom solution; it won’t work for growing companies that prefer libraries that work out of the box.

3. React Shepherd.js

React Shepherd.js is a React wrapper for the Shepherd JavaScript library that you can inject into your application in less than 20 lines of code—it’s almost instant if you’re using npm or yarn. With Reach Shepherd.js, engineers can:

  • Use centered elements to capture your users’ undivided attention.
  • It’s extremely responsive & uses Popper.js to ensure that your tour experiences render natively for users, even if they resize their browser window—that way, your product tours are never cropped out by an overflow.
  • Highlight multiple elements & introduce them with a text overlay.
  • Use progress bars to let users know how far into the onboarding experience they are.

Compared to alternatives like Intro.js and React Joyride, has a smaller ecosystem, with just 19 contributors and 468 stars on GitHub. Yes, it has a significant user base (13,252 weekly downloads), but with a small team behind it, bugs take a long time to fix (there’s one from March 2020).

4. Reactour

Reactour is a popular guided tour component for ReactJS and empowers engineers with a way to create guided tours for web apps. It offers:

  • A masking functionality that dims your user’s on-screen experience, minus the feature or button you want to focus on.
  • Step-by-step onboarding UX and product tours that can highlight text, buttons, images, etc..
  • Popovers that trigger contextual dialog boxes.

Reactour is ideal for walkthrough experiences that need little customization. It works great for static and dynamic content where selector labels are embedded in the UI.

Conversely, you might find it hard to implement if your project has no dependency on styled-components & you’ll be limited eventually since it doesn’t support customization.

5. Walktour

Walktour is a guided walkthrough component for React projects. It’s the least popular and has the smallest ecosystem—just 4 contributors, 18 stars on Github, and their most recent merge was four months ago.

Create, analyze, and deliver effective, engaging product tours for user onboarding and beyond with Whatfix

DIY react product tours are perfect if you’re building a personal website, a nonprofit project, or a hobbyist application—yes, they give you enough firepower to fork & customize to your heart’s desire, but at a steep cost: your time.

Yes, they’re mostly free, but they’ll up a chunk of your engineering resources maintaining and customizing them the more complex your product becomes.

Whatfix empowers product teams with a no-code platform to build engaging in-app guidance that’s designed to work out of the box. This allows product teams to focus on building core product functionality instead of requiring developer resources to learn how to use a React library on GitHub and then build a product tour experience.


Whatfix enables non-technical product leaders and growth engineers to create, analyze, and deliver in-app guidance and self-help experiences, so that you can:

  • Highlight features and UX elements with tooltips and hotspots.
  • Keep users engaged with branded, non-intrusive pop-ups, alerts, and notifications.
  • Track the effectiveness of your in-app guidance experiences with event-based product analytics.

You can learn more about digital adoption platforms (DAP) and how they empower product managers with these resources:

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