Alternate titles: Joyride.
The user wants to learn the products and services you offer in order to make a decision to join a service or buy a product.
A tour explains a product or service in terms of features, benefits, and in general what the product or service allows you to do. It is most often split into more than one section, which is sometimes put on separate pages.
A product tour is a marketing tool. This is especially prevalent with larger, well established companies, who use the tour to sell their product rather than to teach users about their product. Strong marketing imagery and compelling copy that appeal to users’ emotions is often seen in tours.
In contrast, a tour for some companies means a list of screenshots that are accompanied with a few explanatory captions.
A good mix of the two approaches is the video tour: a combination of screencasts and, marketing talk, and teaching.
With this in mind, here are a few principles to keep in mind when developing a tour.
Whether the tour is strictly a marketing tool or a tool to teach, a focus on the users’ tasks is important. How can you help them? Aim for a good balance between only describing essentials and explaining everything. Only describing essentials might not give users an elaborate enough view of your product to aid their decision to engage with your product. If you are too elaborate you might on the other hand scare then away.
Resist the urge to show off the latest and greatest features – the most important thing is to convince your users that your product will help them with their fundamental problems. New users aren’t interested in your bells and whistles; they just want to accomplish their goals1.
Don’t just write about your product and its features. Show it! Include screenshots, illustrations, and even video clips of how to use your product.
This will allow your users to get a better feeling of where exactly to click – but also how easy your product actually is – how it was meant to work and be used.
As users use tours to learn about your product or service, they will go back and forth between the tour and the product. The tour is their reference point, so make it easy for them to go back and forth between the two. Provide direct links, if possible, to the sections you explain.
Address the top concerns your users might have when they are trying to decide whether or not to use your product or not. “Is it safe”, “Can I import my data easily?”, “Can I export my data if I decide to move?”. Put any concerns to rest so that your users can start using your product or service with confidence.
A tour of your product or service helps inform users about:
Purchasing a product or service can be costly and users will need a significant amount of persuasion and encouragement before buying in. A tour allows users to get a glimpse of your product without having to sign up.