User Onboarding

Advanced Guide to In-App Tutorials - getting in-app training done right

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    Home / User Onboarding / Advanced Guide to In-App Tutorials - getting in-app training done right

    It goes without saying: good user experience is everything.

    What really does not go without saying is the fact that onboarding UX is a huge part of any product’s overall UX.

    And guess what is ignored the most?

    Yup, you guessed it. Onboarding UX. The very thing welcoming the users on the product.

    Now, let’s today give onboarding UX some credit and talk about one of the most important user onboarding process elements: in-app tutorials.

    And specifically:

    • What an in app tutorial is,
    • Why in app tutorials matter,
    • How you can create the perfect in app tutorial,
    • Some great tools to create an in app tutorial, and
    • Some of the best in app tutorial examples

    Let’s start with the basics.

    Don't have the time? Here's our quick YouTube video that covers it all ⬇️

    What Is an In-App Tutorial?

    An in-app tutorial is an onboarding UX pattern designed to assist new users to quickly reach value or help your current users continuously see your product’s value. Essentially, an in-app tutorial takes place in the user interface and initially focuses on key features. They are generally designed for first-time users and, therefore, are more commonly used during the new user onboarding process than during the remaining user journey. An in-app tutorial is easily one of the most important elements of user engagement.

    But then, why do we feel the need to manage user actions so much?

    And how does a good product experience help?

    What makes in-app guides so important that they are an inseparable part of the user onboarding process?

    Well, let's take a look at the benefits of an in-app tutorial ⬇️

    Why Do I Need an In-App Tutorial? - The Benefits

    In hopes of increasing user engagement, you might be going for interactive walkthroughs or simple in-app messages. In any case, a proper in-app tutorial has a say in whether your product will stick with the users – or not.

    But hey, you already knew that.

    What you probably don’t know, though, however, might be that:

    1- In-app tutorials increase customer acquisition

    It’s no longer the dark ages, and unless you like to gatekeep your product’s contents with no free trial, before making a purchase, users get to check out a few core features or two.

    That means even before they become your active users, customers interact with a product walkthrough.

    👉 A good example of the best app tutorials before key activation is definitely Bubble, with their demo environment on their website that website visitors can check out even without signing up for a free trial.

    bubble website in app tutorial
    bubble in app tutorial

    Now, imagine receiving such a cool feature adoption experience before the purchase, the days of installation, and other core actions.

    👉 You’d probably be agreeing with the 63% of customers who consider the onboarding period when deciding to subscribe to a service or purchase a product.

    2- In-app tutorials increase customer retention

    Much like a good product walkthrough can charm first-time users, it can also inspire your current users or new conversions into doing more with the valuable features you offer.

    Don’t believe me? Let me pull up some stats.

    👉 Poor onboarding is the third most important reason for customers to churn, right after wrong product fit and lack of engagement.

    👉 What’s more, 86% of customers say that they would be more likely to stay loyal to a business if they knew that they would have access to educational and welcoming onboarding content post-sale.

    And that sounds like users want better adoption to retain. Here's a good example of how in-app tutorials can help with adoption and, thus, retention.

    Indicata was having trouble onboarding their customers spanning over 13 different markets, and they decided to go with a digital, in-app approach.

    Here's a cool hotspot/product tour in-app tutorial they use for feature adoption now:

    indicata feature adoption customer retention userguiding
    Created using Userguiding

    And that's how they scored 47% feature adoption with UserGuiding. Read the rest of the success story here 👈

    I say you take in-app tutorials seriously 😎

    3- In-app tutorials decrease costs and effort

    After what you just found out about the impact of a good in-app walkthrough on customer acquisition and retention, I bet you understand the impact it would have on your budgeting.

    An in-app tutorial well done can save thousands of dollars you would have to have spent on user education, customer support requests, your product team, and more.

    As in the case of Grove HR, now offering help 24/7 with resource centers:

    grove hr resource center in app tutorial userguiding
    Created using UserGuiding

    Read the full success story here 👈

    And as in the case of Cuepath, who decreased support tickets by 72% and thus support costs and effort:

    Cuepath in app tutorial userguiding
    Created using UserGuiding

    Read the full success story here 👈

    But if you play your cards right, you can save effort as well.

    Let’s talk about how to do in-app guides right.

    7 Tips for a Great In-App Tutorial

    Creating cool product tours and showing off your core features sound promising.

    But let me tell you, if you do it wrong, it might even become the reason why your customers churn without even telling you why.

    Big shocker, I know.

    Contrary to popular belief, a tooltip and a welcome modal window thrown in together is NOT considered a fully-fledged in-app tutorial.

    But do not fret; I am here to give you all my top tips for good in-app training.

    Here’s what a great in-app tutorial ought to look like:

    1- Keep your in-app tutorial short

    When you’re creating an in-app walkthrough for a complex product, there are two options:

    👉 Go with an overall 10-step onboarding walkthrough or

    👉 Use contextual onboarding with bite-size in-app guides on different parts of the product.

    And the right answer entirely depends on the nature of your product.

    Still, you can’t go wrong as long as you remember two things: always use a progress bar and keep a single in-app guide between 3-7 steps.

    For example, this ClickUp in-app tutorial is just ideal with 5 steps and high contextuality:

    canva new feature onboarding in app tutorial

    2- Personalize your in-app tutorial

    Personalized experiences are getting more and more unique, and if you haven’t considered it yet, a good starting point can be:

    • Referring to your customer by their name,
    • Segmenting in the sign-up flow,
    • Designing different user journeys for each segment of users,
    • Or just personalizing the elements to fit your target audience's tastes

    A good example of this can be Yoga App:

    Yoga App signup flow in app tutorial

    There are, of course, many other cool personalization tips and tricks, but they all require user segmentation. And the best way to do it is to give a third-party tool a go (like this one right here 🤫)

    3- Have your users do it

    The essential problem with traditional user onboarding is that it gives users no chance to get on a product hands-on and learn it by themselves.

    Remember: you don’t teach them; you show them.

    That’s the difference between walking users through endless features and showing the users what those valuable features can actually do for them.

    Some gamification can help.

    Going with interactive walkthroughs and in-app guides can make the most difference while also keeping it all organized with user checklists.

    in app tutorial userguiding user checklist
    From the UserGuiding Panel

    4- Make your app tutorials fun

    I am giving out these tips for free, and there are others on the internet who can tell you what an in-app walkthrough should look like or how you can nail user engagement.

    What they can’t tell you is how you can make the most out of your in-app tutorial.

    To create a bond of trust between your users and yourself, you need to offer them an enjoyable experience. And that is something you know the best when it comes to your product.

    What you can do is consider gamification, your brand image, and your voice, and simply to just put yourself in your users’ shoes.

    Start with fun little gifs in in-app messages, for example. does that just right:

    Created with UserGuiding

    What matters at this point is to know your user persona and what would work best with them.

    5- Track your in-app tutorial performance

    Your in-app tutorial will consist of many steps that extend over different pages.

    That means a step that becomes a pain point can kill your completion rate, rendering the whole concept useless.

    That’s why you need to be constantly tracking your in-app tutorial performance using the right metrics and KPIs. Don’t worry; we’ve got a selection of them.

    6- Improve on feedback

    One big fat mistake to always avoid is not taking feedback.

    The trick is to be a little paranoid.

    Everything’s alright, and your churn rates are low? There is no guarantee that it’s going to stay that way.

    Everything’s going downhill, and you don’t know the reason why?

    Why not ask your users?

    Regularly prompting users with NPS surveys and feedback forms can have a positive turn on users, AND the data collected might actually help take core actions regarding the product itself and product/feature adoption.

    Frase does it phenomenally.

    in app tutorial frase feedback

    7- Keep the developers out of it

    There is a bell curve when it comes to going in-house with in-app tutorials.

    Only very small companies or big enterprises tend to do it.

    And if you’re neither one of them, trust me, you don’t need your developers wasting time on coding and maintaining your in-app tutorials and overall user onboarding.

    Not when there is a better way.

    Let’s take a look at the tools you can use to create top-notch in-app guides.

    Tools for Creating In-App Tutorials (Free and Paid)

    UserGuiding – No-Code In-App Tutorial Tool

    When it comes to user onboarding tools, the majority of them have in-app tutorials featured.

    So why would I like to suggest UserGuiding when there are many alternatives?

    Well, I have multiple reasons:

    It needs no coding – at all!

    A significant amount of onboarding tools that claim to be no-code still require technical knowledge to fully implement and maintain.

    That’s not the case with UserGuiding. It supports the no-code revolution by being as useful to a non-technical person as it would be to a senior developer.

    Anyone in your company can utilize UserGuiding.

    Wide Range of Features

    UserGuiding can help you create a complete onboarding experience with many features such as:

    Segmentation and Targeting

    One size never fits all.

    If you don’t offer each user a unique experience that is tailored for them, you are behind the competition. With UserGuiding, you can segment users into different groups, then target those segments with different creations.

    Best tools for in app tutorials userguiding user segmentation

    In-depth analytics

    To improve something, you must measure it first.

    In user onboarding, the measurements you have at your disposal are completion time and completion rate of in-app tutorials overall and their individual steps.

    UserGuiding provides you with a tool that displays both of these values for every step, allowing you to locate pain points and fix them.

    best tools for in app tutorials userguiding in depth analytics

    Affordable Pricing

    And every feature above costs only $89/month.

    UserGuiding charges less than its competitors, who offer the same value with different plans from Startup to Enterprise level.

    You can start your free trial and get unlimited access to all features for 14 days. See its value for yourself!

    Free Open-Source In-App Tutorial Tool: Shepherd.js

    Now, if you don't think you can afford or need a no-code tool with a monthly subscription, there is always onboarding solutions like Shepherd.js.

    shepherd js free open source in app tutorial

    Shepherd.js is a free, open-source javascript library that gives you the opportunity to code your own in-app tutorials using the comfort of ready too use code.

    Though Shepherd offers a minimal range of onboarding UX patterns and no support other than the GitHub forum, it is still a viable solution for anyone who needs to code their own onboarding process.

    Now, if you've decided what tool to use, let's take a look at some cool examples to really get the idea of good in-app tutorials straight.

    3 Top In-App Tutorial Examples (desktop and mobile)

    A few years back, good in-app tutorials were quite hard to come by.

    But as time passes and we all realize just how crucial good user onboarding is for customer retention and royalty, we've been able to see more and more good in-app tutorial examples.

    Here are my favorite three in-app tutorial examples these days:

    1- GhostwriterAI In-app Tutorial Example

    GhostwriterAI is an AI-based platform that helps marketers to identify the target audience and involve them with new, highly focused content.

    But today, our topic is its in-app tutorial.

    The onboarding starts with a warm welcome.

    in app tutorials example ghostwriter ai
    Created with UserGuiding

    GhostwriterAI uses contextual onboarding in their in-app tutorials, prompting a different bite-sized in-app guide on every page.

    This helps users stay focused and lets them actually interact with the product from the get-go.

    What is also interesting about their tutorials is the fun gifs they use.

    Remember, keeping the onboarding fun is one of the most fundamental things you can do to improve it, and GhostwriterAI is a natural at it.

    in app tutorials example ghostwriter ai in app guide
    Created with UserGuiding

    Also, they do not use visuals just to entertain, they've used custom images they've prepared to visualize the point they're making.

    in app tutorials example ghostwriter ai contextual onboarding
    Created with UserGuiding

    GhostwriterAI’s tutorials are straight to the point, entertaining, and informative.

    Here’s how UserGuiding helped GhostwriterAI spent %63 less time on creating and maintaining their guides 👈

    2- Picsart In-app Tutorial Example

    Picsart is a famous photo editor that was first popularized on mobile; today, it is available both on the web and on mobile.

    On its web editor, Picsart prompts a 5-step in-app tutorial to guide users in using the tool and its functionalities.

    picsart in app guide example

    What makes this in-app guide so attractive is not just its chic, dark style but other subtleties as well.

    Picsart is aware of the fact that a long in-app tutorial is offputting, so it's kept short. The copy complements the interactive guide in this sense; all we see are a few sentences.

    The in-app tutorial is also designed with fun, colorful images that, in a way, support the onboarding by showing specific features.

    Best of all, the in-app tutorial has a progress bar to reassure users that it won't take long.

    3- CapCut In-app Tutorial Example

    Similar to Picsart, CapCut is a mobile video editor that is pretty popular thanks to Instagram edits and TikTok trends.

    It might not look very serious, but its mobile in-app tutorial is quite an interesting one.

    in app tutorial examples capcut

    CapCut does not use a progress bar or any other progress indicator to keep the users engaged.

    Instead, what they do is keep things contextual in a single user interface, which is much more favorable in mobile onboarding.

    The animations used are also fun and visually stimulating, which again are crucial for mobile in-app tutorials.

    While it doesn't follow all the tips we mentioned above, CapCut's mobile app guide goes to show us that mobile onboarding can be a lot different yet still follow the same principles. 


    An in-app tutorial is a perfect tool to onboard users - if done right.

    In this article, we went over the what, why, and hows of in-app tutorials while also reviewing some of the best in-app tutorial examples out there.

    Hopefully, this is your sign to adopt or enhance your very own in-app tutorial.

    Best of luck!

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