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The help system of my desktop application contains a "first steps" tutorial to introduce the general workflow and some terms. The tutorial can be found directly in the main menu and in the help browser.

So, it should be easy to find, but still I am thinking about explicitly asking the user if he wants to see it when the application is run the first time after installing:

"Welcome to XYZ-APP. This is the first time you use this application. Do you want to read a short 'first steps' guide?" [Show 'first steps'] [Cancel]

For some users this might be helpful ("Hey, there is a tutorial. Let's go see it."). But others might just be annoyed by the interruption ("I just want to get started!", or worse "It's not my first time! I just installed it on my second machine!").

Any advice?

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3 Answers

up vote 4 down vote accepted

Including a "new user experience" option is fairly common for many many applications. I have often recommended showing a message like you described upon first use, and even having the message linger for a few weeks. If you include an option "do not show this message again" at the bottom of the notification, you can prevent the message from becoming intrusive.

The problem with an unchecked checkbox in the installer is that I fear many people will just not see it or gloss over it in their hurry to finish the installation process. This kind of help is more relevant upon actually using an app for the first time.

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If it's in the form of an unchecked checkbox at the end of the installation then it's really not that bothersome for the user. Very easy to ignore.

Then have the tutorial easy to find within the application itself.

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Putting it into the installer, not the app. Good idea. I have to check if my installer script system supports this... –  Sebastian Negraszus Oct 20 '11 at 20:47
    
I'd be surprised if it doesn't. what are you using? –  Assaf Lavie Oct 20 '11 at 20:51
    
I'm using Innosetup –  Sebastian Negraszus Oct 20 '11 at 22:53
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Mind that in companies, often the installer and the user are 2 different persons. In that case it would not be a good idea to put the option in the installer. –  Bart Gijssens Oct 21 '11 at 7:01
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But others might just be annoyed by the interruption

It depends on the kind of interruption. Modal window would probably annoy.

"It's not my first time! I just installed it on my second machine!"

I would expect this to be a reaction of a person that just installed the application for the 30th time on his 30th machine.

Maybe just go with something subtle, (a "tooltip" somewhere in the corner with a message to user that there is a tutorial if he wants), something that also implies that it will go away as soon as user starts using application even if he does not click on the "X" in the corner of a tooltip. (positioning and design will be important here i suppose)

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