Creating Stellar App Walkthroughs in 5 Steps + Examples

Have you ever been on an app and felt like something is missing?

Have you found yourself going through the features looking for whatever you were looking for?

And when you found it you thought, “now, how do I use this thing?”

best app walkthrough
what now?

If you can’t relate to that you are either very tech-savvy or you have never come across an app with no walkthrough.

I am not joking when I say an app walkthrough can make or break a deal. I have deleted enough apps to know.

Today we will talk about:

  1. What an app walkthrough is,
  2. Why you need a (good) app walkthrough for your product,
  3. What some good (and bad) examples of app walkthroughs there are,
  4. How you can build the best app walkthrough possible

So, let’s dive into it.

What is an app walkthrough?

An app walkthrough is a user onboarding pattern that gets users to proactively take part in the onboarding process rather than sitting through it. Similar to website walkthroughs, app walkthroughs aim to educate users by direct interaction with the tool/app. Although an app walkthrough resembles a product tour, it is more like an interactive guide.

Since literally everyone with a phone uses a minimum of one app every day (yes, the phone app also counts) an app walkthrough is nothing we are unfamiliar with.

But a good app walkthrough just might be foreign to some of us.

Sadly, most app companies share the opinion that a product tour is enough – it isn’t – and we are in a subconscious draught for good user onboarding.

But hey, let me explain to you in detail exactly why your product needs a proper app walkthrough.

Why you need a good app walkthrough for your product

There are 3 simple reasons why your product needs a good app walkthrough.

  1. Your product isn’t as simple as you think
  2. A breather for the customer support
  3. Good onboarding means good customer loyalty

1- Your product isn’t as simple as you think

The first reason why you need an app walkthrough is that your product is way more complex than you think.

Developers, marketers, and probably everyone else working on your product get too accustomed to it. To the point, they start to find it simple.

And that is a problem.

Even in a scenario where you have managed to create the world’s simplest app, you still need an app walkthrough. You might want to assume that everyone in your user persona will figure it out.

Meanwhile, those who can’t figure it out will assume your app is garbage.

You don’t take the risk.

2- A breather for the customer support

A good app walkthrough automatically equates to fewer tickets for support.

By interactively explaining the most important parts of your app – or even all of the app in an explain-when-needed method – you resolve user problems from the start.

Don’t believe me? I have solid proof.

Cuepath decreased their support calls to 72% with better onboarding. (Hey, but how?)

I think we can all agree that good onboarding is where good support starts.

3- Good onboarding means good customer loyalty

Let’s say you don’t have a good app walkthrough.

You probably know the answer, but what could possibly go wrong? They can delete your app.

According to Wyzowl, 80% of users delete apps because they can’t figure out how to use them.

We all already know that user retention is way harder on apps, but we also know why it is so hard. Why not do something about it?

Good onboarding gets you user retention, and if you have an app good onboarding means a good app walkthrough.

But hey, let me show you what I mean by a good app walkthrough.

2 Examples of Good & Bad App Walkthroughs

1- EverNote

Evernote is known for offering one of the best user onboarding experiences out there, and let me tell you, it is no lie.

Evernote starts user onboarding with a 4-step survey designed to help you get the most personalized user experience with the app.

evernote app walkthrough
evernote app walkthrough sign up

But that’s not even the good part.

After you have successfully gone through the survey and got to the app itself, the app walkthrough takes place as you click on the app features.

If it’s an easy task, the app tells you about it through tooltips. For the more complicated ones, you can always click the “show me” button.

evernote app walkthrough toltip
app walkthrough evernote tour

The app shows you a small video of what you are supposed to do with the feature, and then actually leads you to it using hotspots.

app walkthrough evernote video

Furthermore, the Evernote app makes use of the empty slates as well. Keep it cool and non-pushy Evernote, you got this 😎

app walkthrough evernote empty slate

2- Canva

Canva’s app walkthrough has one big problem.

It doesn’t exist.

When you are signing up, you get a personalization survey similar to Evernote’s, and then the rest is up to you. It is survival mode ☠️

app walkthrough canva

When you actually start to design, you get one little tooltip like this:

canva app walkthrough tooltip

Knowing Canva does a great job with the website onboarding, it is interesting to find out their app walkthrough straight-up sucks.

Sorry Canva, it’s on you.

Now that we have seen some ‘what to dos’ and ‘what not to dos’, let’s talk a bit about ‘how to dos’.

5 Steps to Create the Best App Walkthroughs Possible

Let me guess, you are thinking, “even Canva couldn’t do it, how am I going to do it?”

In 5 steps is the answer. Let’s take a look.

1- Figure out user needs and pain points

If you are going for an app for your product in SaaS, chances are you already have customers and users. And they already have needs and pain points.

Now, the success of your app and app walkthrough depends on how well you understand these needs and pain points.

What you need to do is pull out a big old whiteboard and write ‘em all down. Nothing left unwritten. Then you can choose what onboarding UX patterns match your needs best or what patterns does your app walkthrough needs.

Don’t forget one thing at this point: always assume that your users need a full explanation.

2- Decide how you will create the app walkthrough

When creating an app walkthrough – or any other onboarding UX pattern for that matter – there is a big decision to make: whether to go in-house or go with a third-party tool.

If I know anything about app development, your developers probably have way more than they can handle at their hands.

So, my professional advice is to always go with third-party tools.

How am I so sure? Let me give you a full comparison.

In-house

  • Coding required
  • Time and money consuming
  • Needs to be maintained frequently
  • Hard to change and optimize

Third-party

  • No-code
  • Affordable and fast
  • Self-maintained
  • Easily changed and optimized

No-code user onboarding has never been easier 💪

Imagine how much less stressful heist movies would be if only there was a no-code hacking tool for hackers.

app walkthrough userguiding
This is me when I use keyboard shortcuts instead of the mouse 😌

Thankfully, we don’t have to deal with code as SaaS people anymore and it is especially great news for user onboarding.

With all its sales, marketing, and user psychology value, user onboarding doesn’t have to be a burden on developers’ backs anymore.

With UserGuiding, you can create:

✅ Product tours,

✅ Interactive guides/walkthroughs,

✅ Checklists, 

✅ NPS surveys, and

✅ Resource centers

👉No code, yes free trial. Wanna give it a shot? 👈

3- Prepare a user journey map

Having mastered your users’ needs and decided your path in creating the best app walkthrough, the next step is to prepare a user journey map.

Although it looks like a simple task, a lot of psychology is involved at this stage.

Asking the right questions is the starting point.

Who is the user? Which UX pattern is the best for the app? Do we use hotspots or tooltips? What are the most vital features?

And so on. Remember, your goal is to educate your users so well that they won’t need customer support. In the long run, the right answers to these questions will guarantee customer retention.

4- Get down to business

You researched, decided, and planned alright. Now’s the time to get your app walkthrough running, and more questions await.

You need to answer 3 questions:

  1. Is the app walkthrough running smoothly?
  2. Who sees the app walkthrough – everyone or just new users?
  3. How is the user response to the app walkthrough?

According to the answers to these questions starts the final step.

5- Test and optimize it

All UX patterns need maintaining and optimization. And app walkthroughs aren’t an exception.

After you have answered the 3 questions during the launch step, the final step is where you act on them.

Firstly, a test phase must be initiated. If there is a backlash or simply negative feedback, there is a call for a change.

Secondly, you need to fix any issues that might be present in the app walkthrough.

Be it technical or content-related.

Lastly, to make sure the app walkthrough is optimized regularly, an optimization period must be decided.

If you have the right tools, this should be easy enough.

Remember, the worst kind of walkthrough is one that does not exist. As long as you keep optimizing and maintaining your app walkthrough, your users will be happy.

Conclusion

Times are changing and there is a huge demand for mobile apps.

In such a climate, you can’t just launch an app and dump it in the app store. You need proper user onboarding. Hopefully, now you know how a good app walkthrough looks and how to build one. May you have great luck with it.


Frequently Asked Questions


What is a good walkthrough?

A good walkthrough is one that answers all the questions for users before they can ever ask them to customer support. It is easy to see that bad onboarding becomes a burden on customer support teams. A good solution is making sure to adopt app walkthroughs.


How do you create a walkthrough?

When creating a walkthrough, the first question to ask is whether to go in-house or use a third-party tool. While in-house requires intense work from the developers, third-party tools are almost always no-code and most probably more affordable than coding in-house.

Serra Alban

Serra is a Creative Content Writer of UserGuiding specialized in user onboarding and UX. When she is not writing you can find her playing video games or throwing random movie trivia at uninterested people.

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