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:
- Why you might need an alternative to CommandBar,
- And the best alternatives, along with prices and reviews.
Why you need a CommandBar Alternative
1- The pricing is off the top 💸
The cheapest plan of CommandBar – the one that doesn’t include unlimited features, sufficient design or integration options – starts from $249/month and only covers a mere 2500 MAU. The rest of the pricing is hidden so you won’t know how much it will spike up once you need more MAU quota, as if the starting price isn’t high enough.
2- Doesn’t have enough functionality 🔎
If you want a full user engagement flow without any friction or support load, you will need seamless integration, an AI that doesn’t break all company codesh, and most importantly, have analytics and data to scale. Unfortunately, Command Bar’s versions of those features are immature and need a lot more improvement before being capable.
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 solution that helps you provide better in-app experiences.
👉 Compared to its alternatives, UserGuiding is much simpler to use since it is a no-code platform. It doesn’t require a single line of code to work.
It works with a Chrome browser extension that lets you create various user onboarding elements directly on your website.
Compared to other tools, UserGuiding’s user onboarding features are much more extensive and significantly more affordable, while its analytics functions are limited.
But, this lack of product analytics can easily be covered with product analytics software (that’s more capable than Pendo) such as Mixpanel or Amplitude, which are easily integrated with UserGuiding.
UserGuiding offers a wide range of features, including:
- Interactive Product Tours,
- Tooltips and Hotspots,
- User Onboarding Checklists,
- Resource Centers,
- NPS Surveys,
- Easy Localization,
- Advanced Analytics with User Activity Feed,
- Custom user segments,
- Material Tagging and Easy Targeting,
- No-code customization,
- Advanced integrations.
There are three main upsides of using UserGuiding for user onboarding instead of Pendo:
Interactive in-app guidance
UserGuiding is the easiest tool to use among digital adoption platforms that offer a full scope of onboarding features, with a 93% satisfaction rate regarding the ease of use on G2.
UserGuiding’s guides are not only easy to install, but also quick to create. It is possible to push your guides live in under 15 minutes, and see instant results on how much the customer journey has improved.
With tooltips, modals, hotspots, announcement banners, checklists, and resource centers; UserGuiding offers powerful features for all pricing tiers – meaning that you don’t have go out of budget to have a good quality customer retention strategy.
By using UserGuiding’s browser extension, you can start building and customizing your interactive guides directly on your web app.
Surveys and NPS
In July 2023, UserGuiding launched their new feature, “Surveys”, which now allows users to create multiple different types of questions and combine them within a single survey (or launch different surveys for different segments).
With this feature, you can get the most specific user feedback that you need, exactly when you need it. UserGuiding also offers NPS surveys for companies to measure their promoter score, and combines all survey results in the dashboard.
Also, thanks to their user details & activity log feature, you can dig deep into how each user journey comes together, and find what is it that makes the customers’ digital experience special for them.
UserGuiding’s easy-to-create intuitive resource centers have increased their users’ activation rates over 25%.
Resource centers allow you to create a self-paced learning environment right within your app without covering too much space.
You can trigger guides or surveys within UserGuiding’s resource center, insert external links, direct people to help center articles, or provide quick tips based on their usage – all from a single source
Analytics and Customization
UserGuiding brings analytics to a new level.
UserGuiding’s Analytics dashboard gives you actionable insight on the performance of your onboarding content. UserGuiding allows you to track view and completion data for each guide, tooltip, hotspot, checklist, and resource center – while also giving you information about daily active users, and satisfaction scores.
You can mix and match different survey responses and data on the analytics dashboard, and dig deep into each user’s activity using the user details page and activity log.
What is UserGuiding good for?
✅ The #1 strength of UserGuiding is the value it provides for the price it costs. UserGuiding offers a full set of no-code engagement and adoption elements for as little as $89/month.
✅ Unlike many other competitors, UserGuiding’s interface is very user-friendly so that even first-time users can set up and publish their own product engagement sequences.
✅ UserGuiding is also very customizable. You can play with your engagement elements’ shape, color, positioning, and much more.
✅ UserGuiding provides fast and solution-oriented customer support. This means that customers can get help quickly – no matter which time zone you are in – and solve their problems without friction.
What is UserGuiding bad for?
❌ Since UserGuiding’s main focus is onboarding, the analytics features it provides might not be enough for some companies. However, the tool provides various integration options with most analytics tools.
❌ Although you can use UserGuiding on mobile web browsers, it doesn’t work on mobile apps. If you need a solution to work on web and mobile, UserGuiding isn’t the one for you.
- 14-day free trial (no credit card required)
- Basic Plan: $89/month when billed annually for up to 2500 MAU
- Professional Plan: $389/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
|Free – $249/month
|Avg. Deployment Time
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 known as one of the most popular customer messaging platforms, although the tool has many other features that are also helpful.
In April 2019, they launched their “Product Tours” feature that allows you to create step-by-step interactive onboarding guides. Intercom’s Product Tours helps you manage 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.
Even though it is not Intercom’s main focus, there is a lack of UI elements in product tours. They do not give you many onboarding features, which means that you can’t use checklists, modals, or any other key UI elements for user onboarding.
Also, some features such as end-user surveying or advanced analytics are priced separately, causing the price of Intercom to become unreasonable.
But I have to point out that the features that Intercom does provide are very user-friendly and easy to use. If you are currently using Intercom’s messaging widget already, it is really easy to implement and use Product Tours and start decreasing churn rates.
Briefly, Intercom Product Tours is very simple and easy to use, but it lacks efficiency and is particularly pricey to early-stage startups.
Creating a product tour on Intercom is an easy process. It’s simple, and Intercom provides all the help that you might need – in case this is your first time creating a product tour.
Also, if you are already familiar with creating product tours with another tool, it is going to be easy to adapt to Intercom since the process is quite similar.
Let’s go over the steps of how to create a product tour on Intercom:
1- Get to the product tours page
To open the product tours page, click on “Outbound” on the left-side slider within Intercom. Then, click on “Product Tours” from the menu that opens.
2- Click on the “New product tour” button
This will be a blue button on the top-right of your screen.
When you click on it, you will get 2 options to choose from:
- Start from scratch,
- Or choose a template.
If you choose to go with a template, the next screen asks me to select a template (although there is only 1 choice.)
I decided to create one from scratch since that is what the walkthrough asked me to do.
3- Install Intercom to your website and start editing
It is not possible to edit intercom product tours without code installation. If you just want to try the product without all the hassle, I’m sorry to say that you won’t get the chance.
If you have the code installed, a new window displays your website and the product tours editor.
You can edit and place the elements in the editor, and preview your product tour before publishing it.
To your walkthrough modals and tooltips, you can add:
- ✅ Texts,
- ✅ Images,
- ✅ Gifs,
- ✅ Videos with/without audio,
- ✅ Buttons,
- ✅ And directions about how to proceed to the next step.
And that’s it.
As simple as it is, it is also limited to this.
Intercom product tours definitely delivers what it promises, but it only promises walkthrough steps. Nothing else.
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 a robust product analytics, and user engagement platform businesses use to build better products.
Founded by the software entrepreneur Todd Olson, Pendo is based in North Carolina, US.
It is a very popular solution with thousands of customers, including big names such as Verizon, Zendesk, and Salesforce.
The platform has two core functions that users can benefit from: behavior analytics and user onboarding.
Pendo’s product analytics features can help businesses track user behavior, and product insights across the web and mobile devices.
Once integrated, you can see every user activity, which allows you to create different reports that can later be combined in custom dashboards that fuel your business decisions and help you find actionable insights.
Data-focused product managers use Pendo to understand what users are doing inside their product, what functions/features are being more utilized, how product changes affect business metrics, and more.
User/Employee Onboarding and Guidance
Additionally, Pendo has a “Guides” feature, using which you can create different in-app elements to pop up on the user interface to boost user experience and guide and engage with your users.
You can create interactive product tours, tooltips, announcement modals, and resource centers using Pendo; to set up a customer journey that sets users up for success.
Once combined with the analytics part of Pendo, in-app guides, and other elements can help your teams onboard users and employees with higher engagement.
Additionally, Pendo provides its users with a variety of in-app feedback collection elements that are extremely valuable when used correctly.
What is Pendo good for?
✅ The best feature Pendo provides is its in-depth analytics; meanwhile, its user segmentation truly makes a significant change in the way users consume onboarding material.
✅ Pendo puts together different solutions like user experience, user onboarding, and highly sophisticated data collection and analytics under one tool to guarantee customer success and easier customer engagement tracking for digital product teams.
✅ Founded in 2013, Pendo is among the first comers of digital adoption; it has a strong background and customer portfolio.
✅ Though Pendo is quite expensive, it offers a free trial and a freemium, something other platforms of its caliber rarely do.
What is Pendo bad for?
❌ Though Pendo represents itself as a digital adoption solution, its onboarding UX elements are pretty limited to the very basics, leaving out checklists, hotspots, and more.
❌ Being a highly sophisticated tool with a complex UI, it might be hard to set up and use if not used by an experienced user.
❌ Likewise, Pendo’s features tend to be complex and use case-specific, so it might be hard to leverage all features and possibilities without a fully established game plan dedicated to Pendo.
❌ Though Pendo does not publicly share its pricing, it is very well known that Pendo is more expensive than the market average.
❌ Yet another enterprise-level tool, Pendo’s customer service might not be as responsive as smaller products’ customer service teams.
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, similar to WalkMe, can be the solution you’re looking for if you’re more interested in organization-wide digital adoption rather than product analytics.
Its analytics side lacks a ton compared to Pendo, but Whatfix can be a powerful solution for employee onboarding and training. It has a variety of options for creating on-screen guidance for end-users.
Whatfix’s analytics features are focused on tracking the on-screen content you create with it and the effects of this content on core product metrics.
With a more affordable pricing range, Whatfix can be a better DAP solution for small-medium-sized companies than Pendo, maybe even WalkMe.
While Whatfix offers a wide variety of features, they categorize it under 2 different aspects:
Whatfix focuses on enterprise-level customers, that’s why they specialize in providing highly detailed and personalized experiences. Whatfix allows you to create in-app elements such as checklists, onboarding flows, hotspots, and so on.
While Whatfix does offer a great range of features, I have to warn you that its elements are not the most pretty and pleasing to look at. So if you want your onboarding elements to look good on the screen, Whatfix probably shouldn’t be your first choice.
Whatfix doesn’t disclose what kind of features you can use within their product analytics plan, but here are the details that are listed on their pricing page:
What is Whatfix good for?
✅ Whatfix can help you create beautiful and interactive product walkthroughs so that you can provide your customers an engaging onboarding experience, and get them to like your product easily.
✅ Whatfix provides exquisite customer support. They are great at coming up with quick and highly personalized solutions to all your problems whenever you have one.
What is Whatfix bad for?
❌ Whatfix isn’t the best when it comes to analytics features. If you would like to get the best out of your customers, you will have to use integrations.
❌ But Whatfix doesn’t provide enough integration options either. Only if you only use Amplitude, Google Analytics, Salesforce, and Slack, well, then you won’t be disappointed.
❌ No matter how friendly the UI is, Whatfix has a steep learning curve that you must get past – which is only possible if you have enough technical knowledge.
❌ Whatfix is also not affordable. Even though they don’t share their pricing plan or provide a free trial, users on the internet say that Whatfix charges them much more than other similar tools.
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, as one of the first user onboarding tools on the market, offers much more comprehensive user onboarding features compared to most onboarding tools.
The tool is beautifully designed for non-technical people to create and track in-app elements they use for their onboarding flows. With various features and in-depth customization complemented with ready-to-use templates, the tool has everything you need to create power users.
- Interactive Product Tours,
- Tooltips and Hotspots,
- User Onboarding Checklists,
- Resource Centers,
- NPS Surveys,
- Easy Localization,
- Advanced Analytics with User Activity Feed,
- Custom user segments,
- Advanced integrations.
Although the pricing of Appcues matches the price of Pendo’s “only product tours” plans, if you have to choose between the two for user onboarding features, Appcues wins by a landslide.
Here are the main features and reasons why:
Although Appcues is not the easiest tool to set-up, or the most affordable one, it is definitely a strong tool in terms of technical capabilities. Depending on your pricing package, Appcues gives you the liberty of coding and editing your guides to your ideal.
Once you get used to the UI and functionalities of Appcues, the tool becomes relatively easier to use, and maintaining your guides won’t be an issue. Of course, this is only applicable if you get past the steep learning curve with your technical capabilities or with the help of someone knowledgeable.
Experiments and A/B testing
You can choose to experiments with new flows or UI elements using Appcues’s new feature, experiments.
Using Appcues, you can create multiple kinds of UI elements and show them to some. of your end-users while others don’t see it and compare the results. This way you can see which of your ideas reach the users more easily, and act accordingly.
Analytics & Data
Appcues’s analytics isn’t much different from it’s close competitors, such as UserGuiding or Pendo. You can see al the data of your guides, surveys, checklists, and so on. What makes Appcues’s analytics strong are the “journeys” and “experiments” features, which allow you to play with custom parameters and dive deep into details.
What is Appcues good for?
✅ Appcues can help you create beautiful and interactive product walkthroughs to provide your customers with an engaging onboarding experience, and get them to like your product easily.
✅ Appcues provides exquisite customer support. They are great at coming up with quick and highly personalized solutions to all your problems whenever you have one.
✅ Founded in 2014, Appcues is among the firstcomers of no-code digital adoption; it has a strong background and customer portfolio.
What is Appcues bad for?
❌ Appcues isn’t the best when it comes to analytics features. If you would like to get the best out of your customers, you will have to use integrations.
❌ No matter how friendly the UI is, Appcues has a steep learning curve that you must get past – which is only possible if you have enough technical knowledge.
❌ Appcues is also not affordable. Their starting price is not only above the market average, but they also don’t grant access to all features in the essentials package.
- 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).“
Intro.js is an open-source library for user onboarding that is used by big brands such as Nestle, Amazon, SAP, and more.
You can create product tours and feature introductions using the library.
The good thing about using an open source is that it is affordable, even free, if it is not for commercial use.
The bad thing is… actually, there are two bad things:
- The product requires a developer to function at all times, making it not such a viable option for businesses that need to keep updating their products.
- The onboarding elements are very limited, so any user onboarding designed with Intro.js will not be likely to satisfy every need of a user.
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 $249/month for up to 2500 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.