Love it or Hate it: Website User Tours

 

I’m starting a new theme for posts, “Love it or Hate it”, to present pros and cons arguments about various ideas, beliefs, and attributes of support organizations. Today: the website user tour.

The website user tour is a feature of a support website that introduces users to the available functionality, usually via a short video that showcases the main functions of the website.

Love It

  • For websites with lots of different functions, a tour is a wonderful tool to give new users a feel for what’s possible, and encourage them to use the website
  • You can make the tour basic (voiceover accompanying a video of screen navigation) or sophisticated (full animation).
  • If your users log into the site, allow them to hide the tour on return visits (or hide it once they have watched it). Put your limited screen real estate to its most valuable use.
  • Having a tour can yield 4 extra points on the ASP’s 10 Best Support Websites (at least it did based on the 2018 scoring system).

Hate It

  • A tour is not a substitute for a badly-designed website. If your website is hard to navigate, fix it– don’t think a tour will solve the problem. And if your website is very simple, you may not need a tour at all!
  • Don’t drag on. Most users will watch a 2-minute video. 15 minutes is too long!
  • Steer clear from death by PowerPoint (show the site, not slides!) and ego-boosting perorations by the support VP. Focus on usable information.
  • The tour needs to match the site! Think about how you will keep the tour updated as you make changes to the site. (Hint: a more basic tour is easier to update.)

Do you offer a tour? What have you found works (or not)?

And would you like more in the Love it/Hate it series? Please add your suggestions in the comments.

 

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