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Problem:

I'm designing a web app that has features that people are not familiar with (learned this through user testing).
I need to guide users through, like hand-hold them, telling them what this page is for, what this term means.

For example, there will be a page called "Goal setting." Users can write goals and key initiatives that contribute to each goal. users don't know the difference between goals & key initiatives.

Some possible solutions:

1. Tooltip
but I'm opposed to it since it won't be a quick tip)

2. Chatbot
- e.g. Intercom
- it is non-intrusive
- but it might get expensive

3. Standard side sheet Google Material's example
- it can contain some long-form information as I intend to
- but I don't have the top app bar in my app to anchor this side sheet onto

I'm leaning towards #3. If anyone has any decent examples of this or other ideas, I'd love to know!

Thank you so much :)

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Like Calum said, a relatively simple approach (build-wise) would be to create an appendix/help section, where all important terms are defined. This could be linked to from your tooltips, which could provide truncated definitions. Worth noting that this would likely take considerable content writing.

Alternatively, you could create onboarding slides or coach marks. Slides are relatively easy to implement and can scale well when features are changed. However, this works best if you can distill things to a handful of key ideas or interactions for a user to consider. Depending on how complex your app, you may want to consider onboarding per screen (this isn't unheard of, and can prove useful). Of course, always allow users to skip it and revisit it if necessary.

As I mentioned, one important benefit of implementing a system like that is scaling to updates. It's easy to update the slides, and it can even open the door for "update slides" for existing users. They don't need to see the whole onboarding thing, but if an important new feature is added to the app, existing users would benefit from a quick "We've made changes! Here's what's new" kind of slideshow.

  • Thanks so much for your advice, Ben. Just one more quick question; where in your web app do these slides live, in case the user wants to go back to do re-educate themselves? – Jean Aug 13 at 5:03
  • That's the tougher decision. It would make most sense to be found in a "Help" section. In there, you could unpack the slides as basic content (so the user doesn't have to flip through slide again to find something specific). Where "Help" exists in your nav is tricky. Depending on how often people run into issues, though, it may be good to feature it prominently alongside other nav items, or at the bottom of every screen (like "Having trouble? Check out our how-to for a quick refresher!"). – Ben Paddock Aug 13 at 15:57
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Gov.uk has a lot of information that users aren't particularly familiar with and they explain it with a linked "contents" list. You could use something similar to their "How it works" section, please see link below.

https://www.gov.uk/shared-parental-leave-and-pay

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