What Are Guided or Interactive Walkthroughs?

Interactive walkthroughs are step-by-step guides that are used for customer and employee onboarding and training programs to encourage faster digital adoption and a higher level of understanding. 

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Overview of Interactive Walkthroughs

Interactive walkthroughs are on-screen guides that teach end users how to use your tool or application or how to use newly released features through chatbots, pop-up prompt bubbles, and tooltips. They are integrated with onboarding and training programs to create a personalized experiential learning experience that accelerates time-to-competency.

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Walkthrough vs. Product Tours

Walkthroughs and product tours are similar, but they aren’t quite the same. They both guide end users through processes to increase efficiency, but they have different functions and end goals.

Walkthroughs are used to teach customers and employees alike. For example, when an enterprise company decides to start using a new human resources information system (HRIS), they will create multiple walkthroughs to teach their employees how to use the new tool efficiently. The end goal of using these interactive guides is faster user adoption of new tools or newly released features.

A product tour, on the other hand, is used – usually by SaaS companies and web applications – to increase customer engagement and retention and highlight the most useful features of an application or digital tool. For example, if Salesforce wanted to show their customers how valuable their tool is upfront to increase retention, they would invest in a product walkthrough.

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What Are the Benefits of Guided Walkthroughs?

There are a few benefits that make walktthroughs more effective and efficient compared to traditional employee and customer training methods:

  • Quick Multiple-Format Content Creation: You can easily and quickly create walkthroughs with zero coding knowledge. After creating a walkthrough, you can then export it into a PDF file, video, or other formats that you might need.
  • 24/7 Access: Employees can find a walkthrough to guide them through a process or feature that is confusing to them without ever leaving the new application or digital tool. Walkthroughs are available any time your users need help.
  • Personalized, Contextual Guidance: Walkthroughs can be personalized based on employee title, customer segment, or other user types that you may have. That way, training programs made with walkthroughs are goal-oriented and help users become more proficient at what they need to do.
  • Faster Adoption: New customers and employees can run a walkthrough instead of fumbling to figure things out on their own, leaving the application to ask someone else, or sifting through help content to find what they need. With a walkthrough, they can start using a new tool on day one.
  • Distribution at Scale: Walkthroughs are easily distributable. After all, they live within your digital tool or application.
  • Reduced Costs: Walkthrough software is generally cheaper than traditional training methods because it’s easier to create and maintain existing content. Updating an entire video course or creating new content to account for a new feature can take weeks. Updating walkthroughs will take a few days, at most.
  • Less Time Spent on Support: Providing effective self-help solutions through interactive help software means fewer people asking your support team for help. If people can find what they need on their own, they would rather do that than waste their time waiting for a representative and having to explain the problem.

What Is Walkthrough Software?

Walkthrough software integrates with whatever platform you use – HRIS tools, SaaS products, mobile applications, in-house tools – so that you can host guided walkthroughs easily, without any coding knowledge. Product walkthrough tools increase accessibility and make training more effective.

What to Consider When Buying Walkthrough Software

Choosing the right walkthrough software for your customer onboarding and employee training programs will make your training programs more efficient. Here are some factors to consider:

Types of Walkthrough Software

Most walkthrough software comes as a part of a digital adoption platform’s (DAP) arsenal of application training and website walkthrough tools. They integrate with your platform and allow you to create walkthroughs using JavaScript, a browser extension, or an API.

With a DAP, you can gamify the onboarding experience to make it more effective. You can create a series of walkthroughs and compile them in a single task list for your new hire to check off to show them where to start and which processes are more important than others. When you hire a new human resource (HR) manager, for example, they won’t get overwhelmed by your HRIS. They’ll know exactly where and how to start learning.

DAPs also have application-specific and website walkthrough tools to automate processes and reduce errors. In the insurance industry, for instance, when an agent needs to file a claim, a guided walkthrough can show them what blanks they need to fill in, what options they need to select, and so on using tooltips. Some DAPs even go so far as to auto-fill certain blanks so that there’s even less room for error.

Features To Look for in Guided Walkthrough Software

There are five features to look for in walkthrough software:

  • Audience Segmentation: Walkthrough software that can group your users by employee title, customer signup date, or other metrics you might need will let you personalize your training program and increase relevancy for the end user.
  • Multi-Device Support: Walkthrough software should support desktop, mobile, and web applications. Some walkthrough software only supports content creation for web apps. Having walkthrough software that supports multiple devices is especially important if your users need mobile application support.
  • Comprehensive Data Collection: The ability to gauge the effectiveness of your training program is important. Walkthrough software that collects comprehensive user data can give you a glimpse of how your users like your training and what you need to change.
  • Automation: While walkthroughs are mostly used for training and automation, it’s great to have walkthrough software that goes one step further and automates processes, so you can reduce errors.
  • Integrations: Look for software that can readily integrate with common tools like Salesforce, Slack, and Confluence.

Planning and Building Your Interactive Walkthroughs

Creating content for walkthroughs is fast and easy, but building a training program to increase time-to-competency requires a little more thought. Here are some tips on how to build walkthroughs that will help your end users learn faster:

  • Stay user-focused: Keep your audience in mind when you’re creating your walkthrough. Don’t skip steps that might confuse your new hires or overexplain concepts that will bore your existing employees. The more useful and engaging your walkthroughs are, the more effective your training program can be.
  • Keep it simple but comprehensive: While there are no studies that say shorter walkthroughs are more effective, human attention spans have been getting shorter since the early 2000s. Keep your walkthroughs concise while still going over all the important steps.
  • Personalize the experience: DAPs that offer audience segmentation can help you personalize the learning experience by showing your HR manager, growth marketer, and client different walkthroughs based on what is relevant to their user role.
  • Encourage engagement with reminders: Use data gathered by your walkthrough software to determine what walkthroughs users have completed. If you find that a certain user needs to go through more walkthroughs to better use your product, give them a nudge through email or an in-application messaging system.
  • Don’t overwhelm your users: Use microlearning modules to give your end user bite-sized pieces of information so that they can absorb your lessons better.
  • Build for all processes: No matter how simple the process, build a walkthrough for it. You never know what your users might need, so it’s best to cover all your bases.

How to Use Interactive Walkthroughs with SaaS Products

If you’re spending too many hours on customer support, seeing an increase in churn rate, or finding that customers aren’t taking full advantage of your product, you might want to look into interactive help software.

Product walkthroughs increase engagement and usage by showing users exactly how to achieve a certain goal using your piece of software. When users are confused about how to produce a certain outcome, you can redirect questions away from your support team to your self-help solutions.

SaaS Product Use Cases

Here are two walkthrough software use cases that demonstrate how interactive walkthroughs reduce time spent on customer support and training.

1. PlanetHS – A cloud-based software that streamlines middle school and high school athlete registration

PlanetHS created 41 product walkthroughs that helped their users over 320,000 times and eliminated 190,000 support tickets.

2. Corrigo – A computerized maintenance management system that unifies facility management

Corrigo created goal-oriented walkthroughs to provide customers and employees with a personalized self-help solution.

How Enterprise Companies Use Interactive Walkthroughs

If your team is struggling to adapt to a new digital tool, then that tool is hurting more than helping. Interactive walkthroughs can make sure that your employees aren’t spending more time than they need to learn how to use a new tool. Enterprise companies use walkthrough software to train their users at scale and make complicated processes simpler through demonstration and guidance.

Enterprise Company Use Cases

Enterprise companies use walkthroughs to reduce training content creation time and solve support issues.

1. Trotec Laser – An industry leader in laser technology

Trotec Laser trained their employees to use Salesforce using walkthroughs and ended up reducing training and content creation time by 60%.

2. Dimensions UK – A non-profit that supports people with complex cognitive and behavioral needs

Dimensions UK conducted iplanit training with walkthroughs, which led to an 84% reduction in time spent creating training content and a more effective way to solve support issues.

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