Use these simple principles to build effective and lovable product tours
Product tours can be very effective in guiding users towards their "aha" moment, or in showcasing high-value features that are being under-used. They can be much more successful than emails or other channels in helping your users take actions that will benefit them.
However building great product tours is an art and a science. As with any product, it requires testing and iteration, along with basic design principles. Here are the most important ones to consider as you build your tours:
Don't lecture 🎙
When someone signs up for your product, they are excited to play with it and are often not prepared for long introductory tutorials. Showing a tour as soon as they land inside your product for the first time will often be met with resistance (they will seek to close / dismiss it). They typically want to get a "lay of the land" with your product before they are ready for guidance.
- Ask whether users are interested in a tour as the first step.
- Use less-invasive step types (e.g. an Infotips and Hotspots) unless you want to force a user through a tour.
- Show tours the second time users visit or once they have already taken some actions. Do this using the segmentation feature.
Be succinct 🤐
People learn by doing (there have been many studies on this, such as this one), so giving users a chance to implement your guidance is critical. Long tours increase anxiety because users worry they have to ingest a lot of information before they can use it.
- Keep tours to 2-3 steps each.
- Have many smaller tours rather than a single long tour. You can prioritize and sequence tours.
- Don't try to teach everything. Narrow down to the most relevant and valuable things a user has to do to find value at their stage of the lifecycle.
Provide value 💵
Users should feel thankful after seeing your tour. It should not be annoying or draining in any way for them to complete your tour. Don't ask them to undertake lots of work to get value, instead surprise and delight them with additional information that they would not have otherwise gleaned from your interface.
If they don't find your tours valuable they will exit and be less open to further teaching in future - so it's vital you don't reduce your credibility by building bad tours! We have seen that users are 4.5x more likely to complete a second tour if they complete the first instead of dismissing it.
- Review your tour: did you enjoy going through it? Ask teammates. You can publish a tour to just your staging environment by using our URL matching.
- Assess how well tours are performing - make sure you have connected your analytics provider through our integrations or API so you can see performance data.
Embrace self-discovery 🔦
Although it's natural to want to pull your users through all of the hoops you want them to jump through, using product tours to do this WILL fail. You cannot force a user to use your product and highlighting everything you want them to do is a bad way to encourage engagement.
Instead focus on motivating users to take the actions that will help them (and increase engagement). Often users will figure out how to do certain things if you can convince them why they should do this. BJ Fogg's model on behavior explains that people take action when they are motivated, they have the ability and they are triggered, so you need a combination of all three of these.
- Read this post on how BJ Fogg's behavior model applies to product design and building tours.
- Focus your copy on explaining why a user should take certain actions; what value will they gain from doing so.
- Use tours to highlight the most fundamental aspects of your product. For other ancillary features, use single-step tours as signposts.
Over to you!
We believe you can create great product tours and that can drive lots of happiness for your users and great engagement for you. It requires you to take onboard some of these lessons and then begin testing and iterating with your product and users.
We're always happy to help - if you would like to schedule a review with you & your team after you've built some tours then please signup here.
Please share this to help us all experience great product tours 🙏