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Contextual guides: Right place. Right time.

Meera Kanani
2 min read

Existing in-app support is ineffective 

Typical onboarding is a smattering of tooltips: one-time product tours that show you around. But for end users, it creates a host of problems:

  • The information is often dismissed
  • When dismissed, it’s rarely retrievable (and we all know that learning takes repetition)
  • Pop-ups happen when the user first encounters the feature, not when they actually want to use it

Tooltips are overwhelming, ephemeral and distracting

So, we took these issues and turned the philosophy on its head primarily by making contextual guides opt in. Opt in guides have benefits like:

  • Allows for users to tell you when the right time is based on engagement rather than an assumption about what information is required during initial onboarding 
  • The guides are persistent, they can be re-engaged as needed and dismissed when no longer relevant
  • Far easier to maintain than multi-step tours, and having multiple on a page won’t be overwhelming.

Opt-in contextual guides are less distracting and available when needed

In-app support: How it works

Create a guide, like you normally would with Bento, highlighting the core value prop, and then the specific actions related to a feature or workflow. 

Once the guide is created you have to decide how you want users to discover it. There are three options for discoverability:

  • Visual tags: A clear label / hotspot placed in the app that can be interacted with to open the guide (most popular).
  • Animated sidebar toggle: when you navigate to a designated page in the app, the sidebar toggle will animate, indicating there’s a guide for this page.
  • Guides list: The guide will appear in the list of “available guides” for the end user (this is the least discoverable).

Get started with in-app support

Getting started with contextual guides is easy, and requires no engineering support. 

  • Pick 1 or two features where you otherwise would have asked your engineers to add a help icon or tool tip
  • Build a contextual guide for those features
  • In the guide, link to additional help articles as necessary
  • Set up the step to automatically complete (and hide the tooltip/guide when the user has already completed the task
  • Decide the discoverability method and launch your contextual guide!

Stay tuned to the Bento blog to learn more about how to manage the ecosystem of help from feature announcement emails, to the help center, to in-app guides.

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