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Our company is preparing to launch a web app, and we are trying to decide on the right tutorial/onboarding process for new users. In our user testing, we have seen that the app itself is relatively easy to use. We've determined that users just need a simple orientation to the location of different controls and settings, and they can begin using the app.

However, the app is used to design a fairly sophisticated component-based system, and users need some domain knowledge in order to design a successful system. For experienced users of our systems, that's not an issue, but we want the app to be accessible to novice users as well.

Our current plan:

  • When a user first visits the app, we'll use an feature tour system like Joyride to introduce them to the tool.
  • We'll also offer a more in-depth tutorial -- most likely a video -- for novice users who need to bring them up to speed on the domain knowledge. We'll offer this tutorial on the landing page, at the end of the feature tour, and in the header or footer of the web app itself.

Have you see good implementations of two-stage tutorial processes like this? Do you have other suggestions for how to train novice users so they will be successful?

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    A simple solution would be at the end of the basic orientation tutorial have two buttons "Learn More" and "Start Now" (or whatever wording applies). This way those who know what they're doing can skip the more in depth tutorial.
    – DasBeasto
    Commented Jun 25, 2015 at 14:23
  • That's a good suggestion. What about users who initially skip the in-depth tutorial, but later realize they need more instruction? Would a "Help" button be right?
    – mhick
    Commented Jun 26, 2015 at 12:17
  • Yah a help button would be good, just as long as you link back to it somewhere in the app for those who skip it and those who need to rewatch it.
    – DasBeasto
    Commented Jun 26, 2015 at 12:37
  • @DasBeasto this should be an answer, no?
    – Midas
    Commented Mar 30, 2016 at 9:11
  • A good video can convey a lot of information
    – PhillipW
    Commented Aug 23, 2021 at 10:09

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Borrowing from the way that technical writers think about writing manuals, there is usually a concept of a 'quick start guide' that is just aimed at orienting advanced users that have good subject matter expertise but not familiar with the application.

Then there is usually the more detailed 'full user guide' that provides a more comprehensive explanation of concepts and also the interface for novice users.

How this is presented in a digital format depends on the way that you are implementing the tutorial/training of the application (which can be in-app or external to it such as YouTube or Vimeo), but this type of two-stage tutorial process is not uncommon.

Another alternate strategy is to use the features as the top level navigation and allow the tutorial to be separated into those that are not dependant on knowing other functions and features, and those that require knowledge of other functions and features.

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