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Most productivity and communication apps have advanced features (e.g. keyboard shortcuts, advanced search etc) to allow users be use the tool more effectively, but they are not readily discoverable directly within the app.

A lot of apps rely on a "tips and tricks" section within their documentations or support site to capture this information. (e.g. HipChat) This means a user have to 1) know advanced features exist, 2) be motivated enough to navigate to the documentations to learn.

It makes sense not to clutter the interface with advanced features to make it easier for on-boarding new users, but, at the same time, is documentation outside the app the best approach for presenting these?

I noticed there is this post Discovering new features talking about getting users to try new features. I'm not sure Seductive Design applies in this case because these tend not to be different features per se, but ways to use parts of the system the user cares about more effectively.

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A couple of things come to mind for ways of telling users about advanced features without adding friction to the UI.

1. pop up a non-blocking dismissable message

When the user performs an action that can be done using an advanced shortcut key then let them know one and only one time (unless they ask to be reminded again)

toast alert

2. put all your advanced features in a single searchable place

Keep advanced features readily available in context and let first time users know how to access the list. I am seeing quite a few websites like github and Google inbox using the ? key as a quick toggle for advanced features.

github

Hitting the question mark key will probably never be universally acceptable but now that you know about it I bet you will try it on other sites you frequently visit.

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