3 Ways to Create Interactive Walkthroughs – low-code, no-code, and from scratch

You know how to knead dough, right?

Trust me when I say creating interactive walkthroughs and kneading dough have much in common.

Let me elaborate:

If you knead the dough by hand, that’s like creating an interactive walkthrough in-house—basically from scratch.

If you use a dough-kneading machine, then that’s low-code for you.

If you buy ready-made dough from your supermarket, that’s no code since all you gotta do is garnish it, which happens to be my favorite part 🤤

In this article, I’ll explain these three ways in detail to help you choose the most optimal way to create an interactive guide for your business.

Method 1 – Using No-Code Platforms

Just as picking up the ready-made dough from the supermarket allows you to skip the lengthy process of kneading and let it rise, no-code platforms enable you to create interactive walkthroughs without the intricacies of coding.

Imagine having the ability to whip up a guide as easily as garnishing that pre-made dough to suit your taste.

That’s the essence of no-code: it’s all about focusing on the final touches, the content, and the experience, without getting your hands dirty in the technical dough.

Benefits of No-Code Development ✅

  • Accessibility: No-code platforms open up the realm of interactive walkthrough creation to everyone, regardless of their technical background. This democratization makes it possible for any team member to contribute to the development process.
  • Speed: With no-code, the time from concept to deployment is dramatically reduced. This means you can iterate quickly and adapt your guides to changing needs without being bogged down by development cycles.
  • Cost Efficiency: By eliminating the need for specialized developers for every step of the process, no-code solutions can significantly lower the costs associated with creating and maintaining interactive walkthroughs.

Limitations ⛓️

  • Customization Restrictions: No-code platforms may offer limited customization options, which could restrict how precisely you can tailor the walkthroughs to match your brand or meet specific user needs.
  • Scalability Concerns: As your project or organization grows, you might encounter scalability limitations with no-code solutions, especially for complex requirements.
  • Dependency on Platform Providers: Using a no-code platform means relying on an external provider for the functionality, security, and availability of your walkthroughs, which might pose risks if the provider changes their service or pricing.

Popular No-Code Software for Interactive Walkthroughs

1️⃣ UserGuiding

UserGuiding stands out for its simplicity, ease of use, and quick deployment. It offers a user-friendly interface that allows for a high degree of customization, making it ideal for businesses looking for a straightforward solution to create and implement interactive guides swiftly.

Simple, Affordable, and Powerful User Onboarding & Survey Software.

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2️⃣ Userpilot

Known for its straightforward approach and detailed analytics, Userpilot helps businesses not only create interactive guides but also to understand user engagement deeply. It’s particularly suitable for those who value insights into how their content performs, allowing for data-driven decisions to enhance user experience.

3️⃣ Appcues

Appcues is a blend of simplicity and advanced features, offering capabilities that span both UserGuiding and Userpilot. While it may come at a higher price point, Appcues differentiates itself by also supporting mobile app walkthroughs, making it an excellent choice for businesses looking to provide a seamless user experience across both web and mobile platforms.

Each platform has its unique strengths: UserGuiding for its ease of use and rapid deployment, Userpilot for its analytics and insights, and Appcues for its comprehensive feature set and mobile support.

By understanding these key differences and ideal use cases, businesses can choose the most suitable no-code tool to create effective and engaging interactive guides.

Method 2 – Using Open-Source Libraries for Low-Code

2.1 Open-Source Libraries

Engaging with open-source libraries is akin to utilizing a high-quality dough-kneading machine. It automates the foundational aspects of dough preparation, leaving room for personal ingredient choices and final shaping.

Benefits ✅

  • Customization: Developers can tailor the interactive walkthroughs to precise project requirements, benefiting from the ability to modify and extend the library code.
  • Community Support: Access to a global community of developers ensures robust support, diverse contributions, and continuous enhancements to the libraries.
  • Cost-Efficiency: Most open-source libraries are freely available, significantly reducing the financial barriers to development.

Limitations ⛓️

  • Technical Expertise Required: Implementing and customizing these libraries necessitates a certain level of programming knowledge and skill.
  • Maintenance Responsibility: Developers are often tasked with ensuring the library remains up-to-date and compatible with new technologies or standards.

Top Tools/Libraries:

  • Intro.js: Simplifies the creation of step-by-step user introductions for web applications.
  • Shepherd: A flexible tool for guiding users through web apps with customizable steps and tooltips.
  • Bootstrap Tour: Designed for easy integration with Bootstrap-based projects, facilitating the development of guided tours.

2.2 Low-Code Development Platforms (LCDPs)

Opting for Low-Code Development Platforms can be likened to selecting an advanced, programmable dough-kneading machine. It offers preset options for various types of bread while allowing for adjustments to suit different recipes.

Benefits ✅

  • Rapid Development: LCDPs accelerate the creation and deployment of interactive walkthroughs through drag-and-drop interfaces and pre-built components.
  • Ease of Customization: Developers can achieve a high degree of personalization with minimal code, thanks to the platforms’ flexible design options.
  • Scalability: These platforms are designed to scale, accommodating growing project needs with ease.

Limitations ⛓️

  • Platform Dependencies: Projects may become tied to the platform’s infrastructure, limiting future migration options and flexibility.
  • Learning Curve: Understanding and mastering the specific tools and functionalities of an LCDP can require significant time investment.

Top Platforms:

  • OutSystems: Allows for fast development cycles with extensive customization options, making it ideal for a wide range of applications.
  • Mendix: Facilitates collaborative development processes, offering both speed and flexibility for teams.
  • Microsoft Power Apps: Integrates seamlessly with other Microsoft services, providing a powerful tool for enterprises to develop applications quickly.

In these two methods, both open-source libraries and LCDPs offer pathways to develop interactive walkthroughs with less coding involved.

Open-source libraries bring flexibility and community support, demanding more technical involvement, whereas LCDPs streamline the development process with ready-to-use components and visual programming environments suitable for rapid deployment and scalability.

Method 3 – Create Walkthroughs from Scratch – Become Sir Code-a-lot

Choosing to build your interactive walkthroughs from scratch is akin to baking bread entirely by hand, offering maximum flexibility and control.

This hands-on approach is best suited for teams with specific requirements that cannot be met by no-code or low-code solutions and who have the technical expertise to fully tailor the user experience.

Benefits ✅

  • Complete Customization: Tailor every aspect of the user experience to meet your exact specifications without any constraints.
  • Optimization: Enhance performance and integration with your application, ensuring the walkthroughs are as efficient and effective as possible.
  • Ownership and Independence: Full control over your codebase means not being tied to any platform’s limitations, pricing changes, or discontinuations.

Limitations ⛓️

  • Resource Intensive: Demands significant time, technical skill, and potentially higher costs for development and ongoing maintenance.
  • Complexity: The absence of scaffolding provided by platforms can make managing the project’s complexity challenging.
  • Time to Market: Typically the slowest route to deployment, which could delay obtaining user feedback and making necessary iterations.

Development Approaches Based on Product Type:

🌐 For Web Applications:

  • JavaScript frameworks like React or Angular for creating dynamic, interactive user interfaces.
  • CSS for styling and animations to guide users through the walkthrough.
  • Resource Recommendation: Mozilla Developer Network (MDN) for extensive documentation and tutorials on web technologies.

🖥️ For Desktop Applications:

  • Electron for cross-platform desktop apps, using web technologies (HTML, CSS, JavaScript).
  • .NET for Windows applications, particularly using WPF (Windows Presentation Foundation) for rich client UIs.
  • Resource Recommendation: Microsoft Documentation for comprehensive guides on .NET and WPF development.

📱 For Mobile Applications:

  • Swift for iOS apps, offering powerful features for Apple’s ecosystem.
  • Kotlin for Android apps, providing modern language features for Android development.
  • React Native for cross-platform mobile apps, leveraging web development skills for mobile environments.
  • Resource Recommendation: The official Android and iOS development guides as a solid starting point for mobile app development.

This method requires a careful evaluation of your team’s capabilities, resources, and the specific needs of your project.

While it provides unparalleled flexibility and control, it necessitates a significant investment of time and expertise.

Starting with a clear understanding of the appropriate technology stack for your product and leveraging high-quality resources can set a solid foundation for your development process.

To Sum Up

In crafting interactive walkthroughs, whether you opt for the simplicity of no-code, the flexibility of low-code, or the total control of coding from scratch, your choice should align with your project’s needs and your team’s expertise.

Like choosing between ready-made dough, a dough machine, or kneading by hand, each approach offers a different path to the same goal: creating engaging guides that enhance user experience.

Select wisely to best serve your business objectives and user expectations.

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Renk Mert

Renk Mert

Sugar, spice, and everything nice... These were the ingredients chosen to create the perfect creative content writer. But UserGuiding accidentally added an extra ingredient to the concoction: *sass*. Thus, the daydreamer Renk with an undying love for cats was born. Feel free to contact me via LinkedIn to talk about user onboarding, inbound marketing, and even the series Buffy the Vampire Slayer.