An interactive user guide might not solve all your business problems, but it sure helps.

User guides have come along way. It first started as handbooks of information, with step-by-step instructions printed in several languages and tiny font sizes. These manuals were made to assist us when we had issues using a product. Be it a coffee machine or a new flat television. But, to be honest, rarely used and ineffective.

Then, it became digital. User guides evolved to FAQs. A page inside a company’s website where users can find answers to the most common questions regarding a service. Although these pages are organized and more visual appealing, users still need to contact a support team or search for video tutorials to get things done.

Nowadays, user guides are becoming a lot smarter and interactive. With digital transformation on their shoulders, companies are building interactive guides that run on top of their website or software. Leading the way and helping users understand how their product works.

 

So what is an interactive user guide?

A small rectangular pop-up window that presents a brief description of a specific element on a web page (image, button, form field, text).

A help message that interacts with user actions, providing on-page contextual assistance when using a software, website or application. It allows to automate customer support and onboarding, providing more autonomy to the user when using a new platform for the first time, or having doubts.

 

Types of interactive user guides

The most common types of interactive user guides are product tours and tooltips.  Both are used directly on top of a web page or application so that users don’t need to search for instructions and learn while using a platform at the same time. These messages can be personalized to the user and recognize specific actions like a click or mouseover.

Product tours or Walkthroughs work pretty much like a GPS, but for websites. Interactive step-by-step messages that guide users through a specific workflow, highlighting the areas they need to go to achieve a certain goal. GoAnimates, for example, provides on-page tours to teach users how to create their first video.

Tooltips are contextual help messages that are placed across a website or application to explain different features. You often see tooltips in form fields but platforms like Feedly use it to provide hints and highlight the hotspots they want users to notice. In the end, avoiding any confusion and improving the overall experience.

 

How it can help my business?

 

Lower support costs

You probably noticed that most of your queries are already mentioned on your FAQ page or support documentation. But for some reason, customers keep contacting your team. Why? Because it takes too much time to read instructions and change tabs.

Interactive user guides help automate customer support, as they can answer common questions that don’t require intelligence or decision-making.  If at some point, the user is lost and can’t achieve a specific goal, they can access these helping points for real-time guidance.

By providing self-service tools such as product tours and tooltips on your website, users can follow instructions while interacting with your platform at the same time. This will reduce upcoming support calls and eliminate the need to create further support documentation.

 

Get qualified leads

In a previous article, I mentioned how you can use in-app messages to get more engagement after a user signs up. But you can also use guides to generate more leads for your online business.

Interactive guides are versatile. It can be used to highlight new products and promotions to catch the user’s attention and generate interest. Furthermore, with a better user experience, you will get more customer loyalty and marketing word of mouth.

What is an Interactive User Guide and what it can do for my business?

 

 

A great strategy would be to set up guides on a pricing page to entice users to purchase a specific plan, or even explain each one of its features. On a form page, you can set tooltips to assist the user and accelerate the payment process. Likewise, you can create onboarding messages that lead users to sign up for your service.

Creativity is the way to go if you want to stand out from the competition.

 

Retain users on your website

 “In the world of internet customer service it’s important to remember your competitor is only one mouse click away.”  – Doug Warner

Users don’t like what they cannot understand. With so many competitors out there, it becomes crucial to provide an exceptional customer experience. And it all starts with your website.

If you want to convince first-time users, build personalized welcome messages that show the value of your service. You will want to eliminate any frustration and make clear that what you’re offering is better. Before users switch to a competitor’s page.

What is an Interactive User Guide and what it can do for my business?

You can also set up guides that detect when a user is about to leave your page and remind them of a special offer. Or hit them with a funny message.

 

Simplify employee Onboarding and Training

Traditional employee training is time-consuming and expensive. You need to hire an instructor, organize a meeting room, prepare PowerPoint presentations, give away notebooks and pens and the list just goes on.  And above all that effort, it’s ineffective. As employees forget information and can’t be productive right away.

And if you’re hiring Millenials the challenge is even bigger. 

What is an Interactive User Guide and what it can do for my business?

 

As an alternative, if you want to improve your employee onboarding strategy while reducing costs, you can use guides as on-page lectures. This way, new hires can learn while working on top of any corporate platform or website at any time, anywhere and at their own pace.

 

How does it work?

As complicated user guides might look, they are not. Actually, if you’re using the right tools, you don’t even need to code!  Tools like Helppier allow you to create an actual workflow through a point and click system. Meaning that you can select the elements directly on your website or web app, write your message, save and then publish for your users to access.

It goes pretty much like this:

  1. Record a step;
  2. Write your content;
  3. Define guide actions;
  4. Publish on your website.

To add Helppier to your website, you only need to paste a short code snippet into your website’s layouts. And that’s it.  You will be able to create interactive user guides in a few minutes.

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