See related meta post I answered: https://meta.stackoverflow.com/questions/369410/why-is-there-no-explanation-hint-when-a-big-ui-change-occurs What is this type of functionality called (aside from Tutorial).

From my post:

I will say this..the one thing Google and some of the other major sites do that probably stackexchange could / should do is...

When a new layout or major update is done google makes the site's background kind of grayish and sets focus to new elements with an arrow pointing at something new and explaining how it works. You click "next" and it shows you the next feature, etc. You can always click the "I got it" button to tell google, "hey I get what you mean now get out of my way and let me use it" (they do this in the new gmail client as well).

It is pretty effective because it becomes a sort of tutorial for the end user. It signals to the user that something has changed (by graying out the background). It highlights the new features by bringing focus (color, arrows, text, etc.) to it. It explains what it does and actually lets you interact with it. It is progressive in that it goes out of its way to show you the next tid bit of new feature(s) within the update. It's dismiss-able for power users who can pick up new features and understand them right out of the box.

Sample library that uses this type of technique: https://introjs.com/

3 Answers 3


It sounds like you are referring to 'Onboarding'

Things like this:

  • I like the term onboarding for this.
    – JonH
    Commented Jun 14, 2018 at 10:18
  • Please add some of the links' contents to your answer, in case they go down.
    – Orphevs
    Commented Jun 24, 2018 at 21:33

There are Instructional Overlays and Coach Marks...

But I don't think that's exactly what you meant.

I would call what you are describing Update or Change Modals.

They are functionally similar to modals in that they usually are contained in a 'box' or 'window' and need to be dismissed intentionally to access the site, and they provide information on what has been updated or changed on the site.


You mention this for the case "when a new layout or major update is done", but not many sites do the extra work necessary for this when they roll out new features.

In general, the UI for introducing users to a site can be called "product tour" (there's even open source framework for that: http://linkedin.github.io/hopscotch/). When it's for a new feature only, it could be called "feature tour".

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.