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I'm developing a new CRUD app for Android.

I feel like my menu is intuitive, but nevertheless, I worry that some new users may not understand my app.

My Question:

  • Do mobile apps typically include a tutorial for new users?
    • Specifically, do mobile apps typically load a multi-step dialog to teach users how to use the app?

In my limited experience, it seems like this is not the case. I'll cite the iOS and Android versions of Twitter as an examples. These variants feature a menu that is intuitive with a UI that is appropriately minimalist for the mobile experience. Neither has a tutorial.

On the other hand, I wonder if Twitter is a poor standard to use because it is so widely known. I wonder if new CRUD apps are different, and if they need some sort of tutorial to teach the user the expected use case(s).

  • What does "typically" mean - 1-in-5 apps, 1-in-100 apps? Providing help is sometimes unavoidable, but if you need to provide it you should be sure you're not just patching poor UX with a tutorial. There is no "standard" to providing help, you have to make that call. Also, being a "CRUD app" has nothing to do with the importance (or not) of providing help over any other type of app. – Evil Closet Monkey Apr 18 '14 at 17:03
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    ...You should be sure you're not just patching poor UX with a tutorial. 1000% agree. This is the genesis of my question. I feel that when a mobile UX is good enough (or familiar enough), a tutorial feature can be either overkill or clutter. – Jim G. Apr 18 '14 at 17:08
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A tutorial is designed to explain some features that may be unclear to the user, or ones they may not know about that might be helpful to them. If you believe your app doesn't have any of these, they're is no need to include a tutorial.

It wouldn't be correct to say these tutorials are common for mobile apps, but there are quite a few. In the case of the Office for iPad apps, the tutorial is designed to explain some extra features further. This doesn't necessarily mean anything bad for the app, since the tutorial only describes things like an Office 365 subscription, auto save, and peer editing.

However, if your app needs a tutorial, make sure it's for a good reason. Your users would rather have a well-designed app than a tutorial to explain how to use it.

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Tutorials are a great way to avoid icons etc that would try to explain gestures that do some things. Most modern apps use gestures to give a user functionalities that typically would need more UI like buttons etc.

So gestures almost always needs an explanation and it's your responsibility to tell them what is not intuitive.

You may want to avoid usual dialogs or view overlays, and sometimes you can suggestively animate your UI so a user know that, for example, there is a menu hidden on screen edge which is typical for android.

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A good tutorial cannot make up for a major UX problem, but it can increase usability by demonstrating functionality and features with examples or involving the user in the set up process. However, you should not rely on this because you always run the risk of users skimming the tutorial or skipping it altogether.

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