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Product tours have become very popular in recent times. It's also used here on StackExchange. I personally mostly skip the 'Take a 2 min Tour' notifications or link.

So I'm wondering; based on research/ statistics anyone known may have or have done; how much do users really take the tours? Do most people find them annoying? Are they really worth it?

EDIT

I'll try and be more specific. I'm mostly referring to web applications and web portals, such as this StackExchange's landing page. And within some content management systems eg. Wordpress - where some new plugins come with a 'Welcome to Application 2.0! Take a quick tour to find out our new features'. These tours usually come in form of pop-ups with buttons that lead you to the new feature and the next feature after that, showing more information about said feature, all within the same page. They also allow you to skip the tour and continue on your normal browsing. Facebook has used them on several occasions in the Facebook Pages when showing Admins the changes they have implemented. This is a simple example.

I'm not asking for a specific use-case, just generally. They are a trend and I'm wondering whether people do them just for 'fashion' or whether anyone has had real positive results with users taking tours on their websites/ application or whether they just annoy people.

I guess my question is, has anyone been successful/ unsuccessful with this kind of product tours that can share their experience?

  • As written this question is too broad: without an understanding of the context(s) for the site and users, an understanding of how the tour is delivered, or the target context for a tour, it's not clear whether a meaningful answer can be provided. Can you provide more information? – Peter Aug 5 '15 at 9:53
  • People with any self-proclaimed knowledge of the tech world will never take a user tour, never. I just see it as a waste of time, I can assume a lot of other users do too. – insidesin Aug 11 '15 at 10:23
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Because your question is so general and you haven't talked about a specific case, I answer generally.

I think there is no exact test to determine if users really like to take a tour and how long they tolerate it, but if a task is progressive and user feels going forward, they will do it.

In some cases when you get into the homepage of some websites they will start to enforce you to take a tour, whereas you know how it's working and you don't need it. So taking a 2 minutes tour adds no value to the user and is a waste of time.

Mostly I recommend to look at your Experience Map. If your users are acting as expected, probably they don't need a tour. However, asking your users to start a tour still will be a good option.

If users are doing some (or lots) of unexpected things (Ex: clicking on unconventional buttons or staying too long on a page which doesn't require that time), it shows you that user needs something to get involved. Even in this case ask them to take a tour and they can do it with freedom.

The keypoint I always think about is to not guess what users need. Simply test their behavior and then decide what to do. If they find it progressive they will give a good response.

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Just-in-time tip for a user is better than long app tour before a user even tried to play. High UX and right words for actions in proper places do not make a need to present the tour at the beginning. If you would like to present anything in the beginning of the app make a user see it in a smart movie on a landing page/ homepage. Don't make a user skip and annoy cause they have to click additionally before they even tried to use it on their own. This attitude is being a good mentor teaching by practice and giving a hint just only when really needed and helpful + providing it in digestible chunks.

  • I agree. On further research online, I've found that the best approach is to provide suggestions on an as-needed basis. Where you suggest a user do something or an action when they get to that point for the first time in their experience. This way, their experience is not interrupted. Here is a good read - smashingmagazine.com/2014/04/… – Eujomnoma Sep 2 '15 at 9:25
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To be honest I do think that product tours are still relevant when it comes to a users experience. I do think there has been a shift to move away from using the word product tour and instead using the word demo. I think they do in fact provide value to not just the company but to potential customers.

To sum it up...I do think you will continue to see an increase in the use of product tours whether it is a demo or a free trial that steps you through the product.

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