There are two kinds of online businesses:
- The ones who buy their onboarding,
- The ones who build their onboarding.
Intro.js is an optimal solution for those who prefer the second option. But as any other tool or open-source, it is not perfect.
In this article, I will:
- Introduce Intro.js and
- Talk about the Intro.js license fee,
- See some reviews about its product features,
- Delve into the reasons why you might need an alternative,
- See the best intro.js alternatives and competitors so that you can create the best interactive step-by-step guides (and more).
Let’s begin with:
What is Intro.js?
Intro.js is an open-source library that numerous businesses use for creating user guides and feature introductions.
Known companies such as Amazon, SAP, and Nestle use Intro.js for their user onboarding, and that is for a good reason:
🌟 The library is a great tool to benefit from for the teams that might have a low budget, and/or an extra developer to spare for some time.
If you do have the necessary crew and time to develop and maintain your own interactive guides, Intro.js is a perfect low-cost solution.
But, as you may expect, it is not perfect for everyone.
Most companies now buy time to focus on the most crucial things in their businesses. In other words, investing in automation is becoming the new black.
Now that onboarding can be easily automated and customized without having to develop and maintain an in-house guide, most companies just get help from third-party tools that are experts in digital adoption and user engagement.
Intro.js is like the middle line between a fully-automated onbaording and creating a code from scratch.
It helps you start off quicker, but you still have to put in the effort and time to create a functional product walkthrough. And, you will have to create your other user engagement elements such as:
- ❌ Checklists,
- ❌ Resource centers,
- ❌ Customization and personalization options,
through other tools and/or codes.
Let’s see further why Intro.js might not be the right solution for you right after we see the pricing information and reviews.
Intro.js is completely free for those who do not use it for commercial projects.
When the project is commercial, however, a lifetime license is required to be purchased:
- 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. Very good onboarding tool for basic use cases requires no technical background thanks to its user-friendliness.”
“The library allows you to create product tours and feature highlights but it has limited available customization options. Keep in mind that this tool requires a lot maintaining make sure to keep a spare engineer if you want to use this tool at its best.”
Why You Need An Intro.js Alternative
1- It has loads of bugs
Users complain that “Intro.js shows up at the wrong place,” “Intro.js is not scrolling correctly,” or “buttons in Intro.js don’t work.” You should expect that sometimes Intro.js has trouble finding the targeted element, causing the onboarding sequence to be difficult to complete.
2- The tool is not actually free
Once you have a product ready to be launched and your company is almost in business, Intro.js is no more free. If you have a commercial app/site/product, you must acquire a commercial license.
3- Maintaining Intro.js is a difficult task
Maintaining an open-source solution is always a difficult task, and it is not any easier with Intro.js. You can encounter the errors above at any point and have a hard time solving them without any support. You might have made changes to your UI and it can be a time-devouring process to update the guides.
4- The tool doesn’t provide all the necessary onboarding elements
In order to provide frictionless onboarding, you need additional onboarding elements. The elements that Intro.js focuses on are step-by-step guides and feature introductions, but great onboarding needs much more than that; checklists, analytics, surveys, hotspots, in-app notifications, and more.
Top Alternatives to Intro.js
- React Joyride
- Bootstrap Tour
Without further ado, let’s start with the first alternative:
1- Intro.js vs UserGuiding – better onboarding without coding
UserGuiding is a user onboarding tool that helps you improve your user experience with its wide variety of onboarding elements.
Although when compared to Intro.js, UserGuiding might get a “Why would I pay for this when I can do it myself?”
Here’s the answer: your developing time is worth a lot more than using a third-party tool.
Also, UserGuiding offers way more features than Intro.js, or any other open-source tool to help you improve the experience of your users, in every way.
UserGuiding seems a bit more expensive than purchasing a license for Intro.js.
Still, don’t forget to take into account the expense of hiring a developer to create and maintain the interactive walkthroughs. You will see that choosing the 3rd party tool that provides much more than just walkthroughs is actually more affordable.
UserGuiding has 3 different plans:
- 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
“The tool is helpful and easy to use! No code is required to implement the features. Would recommend!”
“UserGuiding lacks in in-depth analytics and there are some more integrations we need.”
UserGuiding vs Intro.js
|Starting Price||$89/Month||Free For Non-Commercial Use|
|Interactive Product Tours||✅||✅|
|In-app resource centers||✅||❌|
|Customer Feedback Gathering||✅||❌|
|Ease Of Use||🤩||😥|
2- Intro.js vs Shepherd
Similar to Intro.js, Shepherd is an open-source library helping you create interactive product tours. But unlike Intro.js, it is totally free of charge.
Shepherd claims its design is highly customizable and easy to create and implement. It is correct that shepherd allows more flexibility than Intro.js in terms of customization.
Yet it requires a high amount of technical background and coding knowledge to maintain.
If you have a spare developer available and you think that Shepherd’s visual components fit your website and product better, it could be better for you.
3- Intro.js vs React Joyride
React Joyride is one of the many React applications that helps you create excellent tours for better user onboarding and digital adoption.
You can customize React Joyride product to some extent. For instance, you can change the selector labels and button colors, add a skip option or remove the skip button altogether.
But that’s about all the customization you can do.
Intro.js has a React wrapper if you prefer Intro.js and the benefits that come with the source, but if you need a different alternative that is based on React, React Joyride will be much easier to use.
And here is a list of other React Libraries to compare.
But unlike Intro.js, you can’t create announcement modals using this tool.
4- Intro.js vs Bootstrap Tour
Bootstrap tour is an open-source and completely free library that you, or your developers can use to develop a product tour for your business.
This one is probably the most similar open-source to Intro.js. If you don’t want to pay the license fee that Intro.js comes with, then Bootsrap Tour will be your savior.
However, as it is close in characteristics to Intro.js, it also seems that the tool doesn’t receive regular updates, and it has been a long time since the last one.
There are sadly more than 150+ open issues on Github, from which you can conclude that if you experience a problem with the product, you are all alone.
If you trust your technical abilities and if you are in the early stages of your product, Bootstrap tour could be a starting step, although I wouldn’t recommend it in the long run.
5- Intro.js vs Crumble
Crumble is also an open-source free platform that is much more basic than the other open-source tools mentioned on the list.
Crumble gives you bubbles to place into your product and display to your users, which makes it easier for users to engage with a screen. The design makes it seem more relatable and more human-like.
It is highly useful for those who seek a simple onboarding experience with tooltips only. Crumble doesn’t support other elements than product walkthroughs either, and doesn’t track analytical data about the usage of those tools.
Crumble is also free and surprisingly, it requires less time than any other open-source on this list.
Still not as little as a third-party tool, though.
6- Intro.js vs WalkMe
With its 10+ years of experience on the onboarding market, WalkMe is a decent solution for employee and user onboarding.
Giant companies such as Microsoft, PayPal, Cisco, and numerous other enterprises are improving their product adoption with WalkMe.
However, as you can notice, the tool is largely aimed at enterprise businesses seeking to solve their user and employee onboarding. Also, the product is comprehensive and complex; so it takes time to completely learn and adopt the platform.
For medium-sized companies and startups that don’t have an abundance of technical people, choosing a simpler and less expensive tool is ideal.
For each of their customers, WalkMe offers a custom price that varies depending on the product and the Monthly Active Users(MAU).
The overall price is higher than the market average.
“It has very useful tools and features — new features are released regularly, consistently improving the software.”
“WalkMe is a relatively expensive platform for the amount of effort it takes to build workflows (mobile functionality is an add-on). There needs to be quite a bit of time investment in order to learn the platform efficiently. Some users have been complaining about the bad experiences they had with the customer support because issues are taking longer to be solved then what they should. The tool lacks some UI elements such as progress bars and checklists.”
7- Intro.js vs Appcues
Appcues is a pioneer of “no-code” onboarding tools, and the creator of checklists and tooltips.
It is one of the leading businesses of the industry with a huge number of users all across the world. By erasing the need to be a developer to create onboarding flows, Appcues created a breakthrough in onboarding.
Although they offer a decent product that can solve all your onboarding problems, Appcues is not really a budget friendly option.
Also, you will have to spare a few days to setup and maintain your onboarding with Appcues, since the tool might be a bit tricky to implement to your business right away.
Appcues’s Essentials plan starts from $249/month and the Growth package starts from $879/month.
Onboarding tools such as UserGuiding offer less than half the price of Appcues with the same features, making it non-ideal for companies with less resources.
“Their targeting and reporting is also superb. We’re able to show flows to certain users based on URL paths and other actions they’ve taken within our app. We can also see some great reports of users who have completed our flows and metrics on where they stopped if they did not complete a flow.”
“The way ‘appcues’ are organized in the management console can be a little more user-friendly.”
Frequently Asked Questions
Who should use Intro.js?
As Intro.js is an open-source tool for product tours and feature highlights, it is only suitable for developers and for product managers with coding knowledge.
How much does Intro.js cost?
Although Intro.js is a free library, implementing it to a commercial product requires a license; which starts from $9.99 with no support and $29.99 with support.
What are the top alternatives to Intro.js?
The top alternatives to intro.js are UserGuiding, Shepherd, React Joyride, Bootstrap, and Crumble.