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In my app (sort of like a music-oriented PDF reader), there are a couple of basic PDF's describing features and what certain buttons do, but there isn't a full blown tutorial. Adding to that, I absolutely despise having to update the PDF's in every single language with a new file, which is not memory efficient at all. So, I've got to thinking about other ways to guide the user around the app, and have come up with 3 realistic options:

  1. Guided Tour Videos: Not only would it be more intimate than a PDF, but it would allow users to skip ahead to the most relevant section instead of digging around in a PDF. (plus, I really want to reverse-engineer apple's video app transitions, so cool XD).
  2. Hard Coded Guides: Sort of like drawing attention to each object, then displaying a text field or a short description, etc. I don't know of any good examples of apps that do this, so it would be rather interesting to see how it turns out, but from a UX standpoint, this would seem to be the most informative, as it would show each object and it's function in just enough detail to be helpful, plus it would almost be the easiest to do.
  3. ToolTips: There is no implementation of them that I know of, but it would eliminate the need for PDF's, and present information on a per-object basis.

So, if anyone has any ideas as to which would be the most helpful/intimate to the user, or any other suggestions as to what path I should take when designing the tutorial section of the app, any help would be appreciated!

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Wonder what makes your app that complicated !! –  Pratheep ch Mar 5 '12 at 1:12
    
It's rather intricate, despite being contained in at the most 3 screen changes. –  CodaFi Mar 5 '12 at 1:39
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1 Answer

There's the book Mobile Design Pattern Gallery with a section dedicated to the first time user experience, which the author Theresa Neil calls "invitations". She identifies 6 common patterns: dialog, tip, tour, demo, transparency, embedded, persistent, and discoverable. They are all summarized in an article on UX Booth.

If your app is rather complicated, your users will most benefit from tips (contextual help) and persistence. Otherwise, choose any of the 6 and don't be afraid to mix'n'match them.

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