There are two things about onboarding that no single person can deny:
- It is absolutely essential,
- There are a ton of ways to execute it.
Not all those ways are equally efficient. In my experience, self-serve onboarding is the most time and cost-efficient one, and interactive elements are the best tools to keep the user engaged with the onboarding process.
CommandBar is a tool that takes self-serve onboarding and interactivity to a new level.
Today, I’ll be talking about:
- Whether it is as efficient as it claims,
- Why you might need an alternative
- And the best alternatives.
What is CommandBar?
CommandBar positions itself as an “intelligent layer that wraps around your product”. In other words, it is a command bar that is both a resource center and an onboarding checklist.
The tool is great for people that want one and only element to collect all their elements in.
The usage is pretty simple:
- You create a command bar that acts as an internal search engine,
- Connect all your documents, links, guides, etc. to the command bar,
- And set the command bar live so that your users like your product more.
All this sounds pretty good until you find out that CommandBar doesn’t have many other additional features and can’t be used as a full user engagement tool.
For instance, the tool doesn’t provide analytics, interactivity other than the search bar, and user-specific segmentation.
And it also comes with a steep price. The first 2500 MAU is free of charge, but after that, the price goes up pretty quickly for very little extra MAU. Here are the details:
CommandBar has a freemium pricing model, which means that you can use the tool for free up to a certain point. But after that, the pricing becomes a big burden. Here are CommandBar’s pricing plans:
- Free Plan: Free for up to 2,500 MAU per month, 1 editor, and 5 Commands.
- Starter Plan: $249/month for up to 5,000 MAU, 2 editors, and unlimited Commands.
- Growth Plan: $899/month for up to (again) 5,000 MAU, 5 editors, and no branding.
- Enterprise Plan: Custom quote for each customer’s specific needs.
“Provides users with a quick and easy way to access features, and tools within the application which significantly increases user productivity.”
“CommandBar can be overwhelming for new users, particularly if there are a large number of available commands and options. Some may find the CommandBar interface unfamiliar or unintuitive.”
Why you need a CommandBar Alternative
1- The pricing is off the top 💸
It is great that CommandBar has a free version of 2500 MAU which can be used to onboard employees etc. But the free plan doesn’t include all the features, and once you go past the 2500 MAU limit, the price goes up $250/month for only another 2500 MAU.
2- Doesn’t have enough functionality 🔎
CommandBar has only three features: a command bar, hotspots, and announcement banners. If you want a full user engagement flow without any friction or support load, you will also need to gamify the experience, have chatbots or live chat to speed up the process, and most importantly, have analytics and data to scale. Unfortunately, Command Bar doesn’t provide any of those.
Top CommandBar Alternatives
Here are the top 6 alternatives to CommandBar:
I’ll go over each tool, compare it to CommandBar, and talk about which cases they should be preferred. So, without further ado, let’s start with our first product:
1- UserGuiding – No-code Interactive User Onboarding
UserGuiding is a no-code digital adoption product that helps you provide better in-app experiences.
UserGuiding is a great tool to enable your team to have a better user experience. It allows you to create step-by-step walkthroughs so that users can easily complete their tasks without any hassle. That’s why it is an effective way of improving the quality of your product.
With UserGuiding, you can create:
- Interactive Product Tours,
- Tooltips and Hotspots,
- User Onboarding Checklists,
- Resource Centers,
- NPS Surveys and feedback,
- And custom user segments along with automatic localization.
Another cool thing about UserGuiding is the price. It’s totally free to try for 14 days, and their monthly prices make UserGuiding the most affordable among all its competitors, even though they serve a good number of features and great support.
- 14-day free trial (no credit card required)
- Basic Plan: $69/month when billed annually for up to 2500 MAU
- Professional Plan: $299/month when billed annually for up to 20000 MAU with unlimited guides
- Custom Quotation Available for Larger Companies
“UserGuiding is a fantastic alternative to more “big-budget” solutions; and the good news is: that it does the same. After one month of searching for a tool and a few weeks of using UserGuiding, I’m honestly still asking myself what it does less (than the 5 times higher-priced competitors)…”
“Sometimes there are inconsistencies in terms of where the guide appears or does not appear. But the support team (Shout out to Gabriel, very helpful!) walked me through why I was seeing these things.”
UserGuiding vs CommandBar
|Starting Price||$69/month||Free – $249/month|
|In-App Resource Center||✅||✅|
|Avg. Deployment Time||15 Minutes||1-2 hours|
|Knowledge Base Integration||✅||✅|
|Learning Curve||😄 Smooth||😟 Steep|
UserGuiding also offers free migration services for your in-app content created using other software to minimize your switching costs.
Schedule a demo with one of our experts or start your free trial now:
Intercom is best known as a Customer Success Tool that provides in-app live-chat widgets and help centers, but did you know that it also provides in-app walkthroughs?
Not long ago, in April 2019, they launched their “Product Tours” feature that allows you to create step-by-step interactive onboarding guides.
Intercom Product Tours helps you manage software adoption and onboard new visitors by building product walkthroughs and tours within your product.
Using the add-on, you can:
- Create step-by-step product walkthroughs,
- Tooltips and hotspots,
- Announcement banners,
- And create basic user segments.
However, I need to point out that Intercom Product Tours isn’t the most powerful and most developed tool on the market. It has limits in terms of functionality when it comes to product adoption and user onboarding.
If you want to use Intercom with Product Tours add-on:
- Start Plan: $74/month for Intercom subscription (2 seats) plus $199/month for Product Tours add-on = $273/month Total
- Support Package: Custom quote on request
“It gives you a complete dashboard to help you understand your user’s usage pattern and also helps in creating a very elaborate help center as well. Also, the ability to integrate it with multiple applications like calendars, translation apps gives tremendous opportunities for customer success.”
“The pay per feature model can get a little expensive, which some companies might not be willing to pay for.”
Pendo is another robust product analytics, and user engagement platform businesses use to build better products.
Unlike CommandBar, Pendo focuses on multiple aspects of user engagement, such as in-app analytics, resource centers, and powerful integrations.
And I have to be honest about the fact that Pendo is quite good at what it does (it allows you to enhance adoption without engineering efforts.)
But, it comes with a pretty ridiculous price.
If you are a new startup that isn’t past its seed funding, you might be eligible for their “startups” package which is more affordable, but unfortunately, that package has very limited functionality.
Pendo’s pricing is feature and usage-based, and it possibly scales with how many users you have like other analytics platforms.
Pendo has a free plan called “Pendo Free“. Pendo free allows up to 1,000 monthly active users for one web and one mobile app. For bigger plans, Pendo doesn’t have set pricing.
However, various Pendo users revealed the details of Pendo’s pricing. One user claimed that they are a medium-sized business that pays $12,000/year for the standard package of Pendo while another user upped this number to $20,000. Additionally, a Pendo customer claims to pay $2000/year just for the “Guides” feature of the product; so, you get the picture.
“As a CSM, I utilize this monthly to check on my clients and how often they’re accessing our website. Also great for seeing what features they’re not even trying.”
“The only downfall to having access to this kind of information is when clients ask for this information to see whether their reps are using it as much as they hoped they would.”
Whatfix is another good digital adoption platform that offers both cloud and on-premise onboarding solutions with enough capabilities for small businesses, but for the pricing of an enterprise tool.
Whatfix is like a mixture of UserGuiding and Pendo. It is enterprise-oriented just like Pendo, and it is easy to use just like UserGuiding.
With the tool, you can benefit from all necessary user experience and adoption features such as checklists and interactive walkthroughs, but you will have to pay a price that is closer to Pendo.
Which is a lot.
And if you are a data-oriented company, you might have to search for a separate analytics tool as Whatfix isn’t the strongest in terms of analytics.
Whatfix doesn’t provide us with fixed pricing models, they offer each customer a customized plan. The pricing can vary according to the size of your product, the number of your monthly users, etc
You can contact Whatfix to learn their custom price for your product.
“Their team really helped us during a project we were doing, and I think they would be great for any company looking for help. This is a must to onboard customers and drive retention.”
“The only negative I have to say is that whatfix is not catered well for bigger web apps which present the users with multiple options to complete the task they set out to do.”
Appcues is a pioneer in no-code user and employee training for software users since it was the first “no-code DAP on the market” back in 2014.
It is quite an experienced and decent tool with a wide variety of customers and use cases.
But, the fact that it is so old brings a hunch with the tool, that hunch being the learning curve.
Appcues is a user onboarding software that still requires a bit of technical knowledge to fully benefit from all features, has a long integration time, and requires dedication to fully understand the tool.
- The Essentials Package of Appcues starts at $249/month when billed annually with 2500 MAU.
- The Growth Package of Appcues starts at $879/month when billed annually, again at 2500 MAU.
- The Enterprise Package of Appcues doesn’t have public pricing, so you need to get a custom quotation.
“Appcues is pretty easy to learn and use and very flexible and powerful. It’s easy to customize for our tool and brand and provides a way to onboard our users in a scalable way without taking up precious developer time.”
“It can be a little tricky to use, especially when we get into more complicated use cases. There are occasional bugs (although they are typically fixed quickly).“
If you want to inform your customers about products without relying on a third-party tool, have a limited budget, or are a developer with lots of free time, please let us know as that’s not quite realistic, but Intro.js could be the one for you in that case.
Unlike most open-source products, this one comes with a small fee for commercial use, but I can easily say that it is by far the best open-source software experiences platform.
Intro.js is a free library for non-commercial products. If it is for a commercial product, however, you need to purchase a license, the prices of which are shown below:
- Starter pack without any official support for $9.99,
- Business pack with a month of official support and code review for $49.99,
- Premium package with a year of official support, code review, and unlimited projects for $299.99.
“I really like the Intro.js plugin because documentation is straightforward and easy to understand. This can work in almost any webpage using jQuery as an included library.”
“The library is definitely open source and free software, but at the same time if I want to use it for commercial use it seems I need to pay a license fee. Why is this required if the code is open source?”
Frequently Asked Questions
Who should use CommandBar?
People that need a compact and quick solution to engage users can use CommandBar or its top alternatives.
How much does CommandBar cost?
CommandBar is free of charge for up to 2,500 monthly active users, then the pricing goes up to $249/month for up to 5,000 MAU.
What are the top alternatives to CommandBar?
The top alternative to CommandBar is USerGuiding since it provides a resource center that is more comprehensive than ComandBar, and many other functionalities that CommandBar doesn’t have. Other alternatives include Appcues, Pendo, Intercom, Whatfix, and Intro.js.