I have a video clipping application which allows the user to clip, add visual effects and create a new file from uploaded video.

The user does all the clipping and editing on the same prompt where he/she uploads the video. For a new user, I want to display help/hints without the user leaving the upload prompt. What is the best way to achieve this?

  1. FAQ or Documentation (can be displayed in prompt)
  2. ToolTips or overlay
  3. Interactive JS or JQuery based tutorial
  4. Any other option...

Also is there any historical data that would help in deciding the best user experience in this scenario?

2 Answers 2


There are many ways to onboard users and it is crucial for first timers. Every method has pros and cons attached with them. Below are the few methods being used nowadays.

Joyriding : Using this method, you highlight key action points on the screen where user has to click, click, click many times to come to the end. Although, user can skip it if he doesn't want to see. But remember user is not doing any action and he may forget information at the end.

Learn by doing: It allows user to learn while doing. However, you need to carefully tweak the interaction and let the user learn while doing. I personally prefer this.

Setup: Remember? old way of installing s/w on windows machine with the progress bar?

Lazy/Continued onboarding: Linkedin or other social media sites are best example for this kind of onboarding. They ask key information at first and continuously remind users about the remaining percentage they need to complete.

There are many more...

I purpose, for above usecase Learn by doing is way you should onboard users.

  • Ask them to upload videos
  • Tell them they can edit (annotate touch points on the screen, Slack is the great example for that)
  • Tell them they can clip as well
  • Once done, tell them they can also add filters on videos

There are a number of options to consider depending on context and goals you would like to achieve. Help should be provided when needed, in the right time and right place. Other than that help content should be largely be out of users way until requested. I will address each point briefly without getting into interaction design patterns, hopefully that would be of help:

Onboarding : Help delivered at this stage is meant to introduce users to the app features and functionality. The main purpose being to reduce the learning curve. A good example here is guided tours.

Contextual help: this type of help is inseparable from the core content and is generally a reflection of best practices applied to labelling and navigation. Contextual help relies on providing users with good information scent as to what they can do and where they can go next.

Adaptive help: this type of help is provided to users based on where they are in the user journey. Facebook and google analytics incorporate this type of help via dedicated search box. The main purpose behind adaptive help is to increase help content relevancy, reduce clutter, provide help content when needed and ultimately keeping users in control.

Last but not least, there is dedicated help which generally takes the form of a dedicated help section that houses frequently Asked questions and help articles. While this is really a great option to have depending on the need, it does come at a price as it’s not contextual. The main purpose here is to cope with complexity and to house help content in a central location.

Now, to answer your question, consider carefully what type of help you need and why and explore options to reduce the need for help.

Generally speaking contextual help is the most relevant here along with on boarding tutorial if the need arises. Testing with your users should hopefully help you decide on the best option to take.

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