Product Training, Onboarding, Help Documentation & Microlearning

Online Customer Support Strategies: How to Increase Self-Service Adoption

The subject of self service adoption has been gaining more and more momentum lately. Self service is no longer restricted to pumping gas or supermarket checkout: today this term applies to any form of customer support users can get through their own actions.

 

Many service providers are discovering the benefits of self service. The chief advantage is lowering customer support costs and saving valuable employee time. It is, however, important to remember the role of self-service in empowering users toward better use of your technology and a more profound understanding of how to navigate the UI.

 

increase self-service adoption

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WalkMe vs. Iridize Ratings / Competitive Reviews: Which is better?

We’ve updated our Iridize vs. WalkMe review 

read new review

 

Since we are often asked about the differences between WalkMe and Iridize, this post is an effort to provide you with an objective source of information about WalkMe vs. Iridize on-page guidance solutions.

 

Our approach is simple: We list the advantages and disadvantages of both WalkMe and iridize so that you can form your own opinion (though we are certainly more than happy to answer any questions you might have about WalkMe or iridize).

 

WalkMe

WalkMe Advantages:

  • WalkMe provides a feature-rich and fully-customizable walk-thru service that includes a welcome screen, auto-start and rich media capabilities, and branched walk-thrus.
  • WalkMe offers an easy-to-use editor that enables users to create walk-thrus without any programming knowledge.
  • WalkMe offers an analytics platform that allows their users to track the walk-thru usage statistics.
  • WalkMe walk-thrus can support multiple languages.
  • WalkMe offers turnkey project and professional services to help their clients create and manage their walk-thrus.

 

WalkMe Disadvantages:

  • WalkMe’s editor extension only works in the Firefox browser. WalkMe’s editor is not compatible with the Chrome, Safari, and Internet Explorer browsers.
  • WalkMe’s prices are significantly higher than any of its competitors. WalkMe also charges $100/hour for its professional services and thousands of dollars for its turnkey project services.

Iridize

Iridize Advantages:

  • Iridize provides a feature-rich and fully-customizable walk-thru service that includes a welcome screen, auto-start and rich media capabilities, and branched walk-thrus.
  • Iridize’s walk-thrus include a variety of usage rules that enable our clients to control when different types of users will be shown the walk-thrus.
  • Iridize offers an easy-to-use editor that enables users to create walk-thrus without any programming knowledge. The Iridize editor is compatible with all modern browsers.
  • Iridize offers an analytics platform that allows their users to track the walk-thru usage statistics.
  • Iridize walk-thrus can support multiple languages.
  • Iridize’s prices are lower than WalkMe’s.
  • Iridize offers unlimited turnkey project and professional services at no additional cost to help our clients create and manage their walk-thrus.
  • Iridize offers more than one type of guide (ex. on-page wizards, tips, and site tours)

Iridize Disadvantages:

  • Iridize’s editor is not as user-friendly as WalkMe’s editor (which is why Iridize provides unlimited turnkey project and professional support services at no additional cost).
  • Iridize is a smaller company than WalkMe with fewer resources at its disposal.

 

Learn more about Iridize’s features and benefits

how iridize works

WalkMe Competition: Who Are WalkMe’s Competitors?

This article is from 2013. Read an updated review:

WalkMe Alternatives in 2016

 

Not unlike most other industries, WalkMe has its fair share of competition.  There are a variety of competitors to WalkMe that offer competing on-page guidance tools. Most of WalkMe’s competitors, except for Iridize, cater to the self-service, lower end of the market. Their solutions are great for companies that don’t have a sizeable budget for on-page guidance tools. Here are some of their main differentiators:

 

Tutorialize has a nice, clean design, and their tutorial themes can be customized via adding a fully custom CSS into their extension. Their tooltips also “speak” Spanish and French. Their prices range from $9/month to $49/month, and their pricing model is based on number of tutorial plays and published tutorials.

 

 Tutorialize tooltip

 

TourMyApp are also multilingual and customizable. Their pricing range, based on the number of times their guides are used, ranges from $24/month to $250/month, and they charge an additional $100 per hour for professional services, which includes guide and analytics creation services.

 


 
TourMyApp tooltip

 

Taurus offers a nice drag-and-drop interface for tooltips, but no demos are available. In fact, you have to click “Sign up” to view the pricing page and only then proceed to check capabilities and features. Their pricing plans, which range from a free plan to $39/month, are based on pageviews per month and number of tours created.

 

And then there’s Iridize, which is probably the closest competitor to WalkMe.  Just like WalkMe, Iridize provides comprehensive, feature-rich and fully-customizable solutions for medium to large SaaS and enterprise customers. Iridize offers a variety of guidance solutions, not only walkthroughs, and Iridize’s pricing, which is based on the number of guides needed, includes an unlimited amount of “Extreme Support” and professional services.

 

  Iridize tooltip

 

WalkMe Pricing: How Much Does WalkMe cost?

Read our full comparison of Iridize and WalkMe. 

iridize vs. walkme

 

This article was originally published in 2013 and commentors have been updating it in the comments’ section of this post over the years. Please scroll down to the comments and read or contribute from your own experience. 

 

WalkMe  currently offer two plans: the free  plan and the paid custom plan. Most of the blog posts and directories listing WalkMe pricing have been taken down over the years, but this article by A Better User Experience – survived.  A quote from the article:

 

Now I’m starting to wonder who the target market is. I’m in all day long for $10/mo. if I can make a walk-thru how I’d like to. But these restrictions and pricing feel really limiting. Maybe I’m misunderstanding how they count walk-thrus but at $97/mo. we’re in the ClickTalk, SEOmoz, Raven Tools pricing territory. And for that cash the tool remains branded. Not ideal.

image

 

Have you received similar or different information about WalkMe’s pricing?  Please feel free to share what you know about WalkMe’s prices in the comments section below.

 

 

to iridize’s pricing

Problems with SaaS Onboarding Guides? You’re Doing it Wrong

There has been a lot of talk about SaaS onboarding walkthroughs lately. Seeing as walkthroughs are a rising star in UI design, everyone in web design and UX has an opinion about them, and rightly so: Facebook, Google and LinkedIn have all added different forms of walkthroughs and tooltips to introduce new features and guide their users through changes in UI. If everyone is jumping off the bridge – well, there must be something awfully appealing in the water.

 

The big question regarding walkthroughs revolves around principles of design. Onboarding walkthrough critics claim that if UI design is clear and intuitive enough, there is no need for onboarding guides. While there are quite a few arguments contesting the need for walkthroughs, there are very few in their favor.

 

ux-walkthroughs-trending

 

The Contenders

The most quoted piece contending walkthroughs is the provocative if you see a walkthrough, they blew it by designer Max Rudberg. The thing with this blog post is, that it doesn’t really criticize walkthroughs, rather it rebuffs many apps’ failure to provide Clear UI with visual cues that stimulate users to action.

 

That said, the articles based on Rudberg’s post provide some substantial arguments against walkthroughs: Sarah Perez claims walkthroughs give the unjustified feeling that mobile apps are complicated, whereas Jeremy Olson argues that the users lack context if they view the walkthrough before the app. He also states walkthroughs may be confused with the actual app and that they annoy impatient users.

 

Granted, all these critiques are referring primarily to mobile apps, but the assumption is that many of the same design principles apply to webapps, especially with the new and improved flat UI trend.

 

Bad UX Design Makes for Lousy Everything

Here’s the thing about all aforementioned arguments: they are all true. But they don’t actually criticize walkthroughs as a UI tool, rather they argue against bad walkthroughs. Walkthroughs that come up too early in the onboarding process; guides that are meant to compensate for lazy design; that are misplaced or badly used. That’s kind of like every other feature, design trend and novelty ever developed for web or mobile use: when it is done badly, it sucks. But that doesn’t mean the principle of it is wrong. Just the carrying out of it. “Bad Walkthroughs” does not equal “Walkthroughs are Bad”.

 

 Does this mean Google “blew it”?

 

What “Intuitive” Means for Your Smartest Users

Walkthroughs are a tool to help with navigation in the right places. They do not replace good design but are there to support it. No matter how Clear and Intuitive you strive to design your UI, there will always be users who don’t get it, to whose intuition it doesn’t appeal. John Pavlus at MIT Technology Review wrote some wise words about the delta between intuitiveness and familiarity:

 

If you don’t feel like you have to learn how to use a tool–that you “just get it,” that you “already know,” or “it just works”–then it feels like it’s magically tapping into your ineffable “intuition.” It ain’t. You still have to learn how to use it. It’s just that the more familiar it is (or seems), the less you notice the effort of that learning (or the less effort there will be to begin with). A pen is “intuitive” because you’ve used a zillion pens, pencils, crayons, markers, and stick-shaped inscriptor-tools in your life.

 

As a long time Android power-user with complete confidence in my technological abilities, I can safely say my mind goes to boot when I am handed a machine that runs iOS. I find myself staring blankly at the screen, trying to Slide and Tap various icons, but they usually don’t do what I assume they would. This happens to more users than you can imagine, all the time: with marginally decipherable new icons, with vaguely familiar symbols and with the frequently-occasional new feature. Needless to say, this is NOT a reaction to poorly designed UI, rather it is derived from the UX baggage a user brings to this FTUE: old, well ingrained habits.

 

How Do We Create Good Walkthroughs?

The long answer is – it depends on your users. Like everything else in the app world, this needs ongoing testing and response to feedback. In some cases, your users may make better progress with elaborate walkthroughs on every page. In other cases – the occasional helpful guide on fields pointed out as “weak links” by your analytics will hit the spot. Likewise tooltip positioning: some users groups may prefer a prominent, colorful whereas in other cases, an un-invasive, modest tip on a side-bar will do the trick.

 

The longer answer requires some delving into recent on-boarding and First Time User Experience doctrines:

In a comprehensive article on First Time User Experience theory and methodology, tech journalist and entrepreneur Michael Grothaus expounds on the merits of progressive reduction. The idea is that users at different levels of proficiency require different levels of interaction with your design. Veteran users are familiar enough with the features to get impatient with what they consider information overload.

 

The easiest way to visualize progressive reduction is by imagining a button that has a shape (say, a rectangle) and inside that button is a text label that describes what the button does, and also an icon representing what the button does. For a first-time user, a clearly defined (rectangle shape) and labeled (text and icon) button is a good thing to see. In progressive reduction, however, once a user has reached a certain stage, the text label is removed from the button, with only the rectangular button’s shape and icon left behind.

 

Kera (RIP) blogger Taige Zhang presents a graphic depiction of a similar idea – instead of the user learning the app, the app learns the user. The web page has sadly been taken down, but we managed to save a screenshot:

 

 

This applies to onboarding guides, as well. Well then, I can hear the iOS designers’ eyebrows going through the roof, if you’re gearing up for progressive reduction, doesn’t that mean you’ve decided to give up on walkthroughs altogether in favor of The Clean and the Minimalistic?

 

In fact, I have not. Interactive website guidance systems serve a wider purpose than introducing the occasional new feature: as a navigation tool, they appeal to an entire segment of online users. Aaron Travis sheds some light on the different kinds of learners – Global Learners, who take in the overall screen at a glance, and the Sequential Learners, who learn better through step-by-step guides. Your users hail from both types and according to Travis, the percentages are split right down the middle. Per Travis:

 

Sequential Learners:

  • gain understanding in small sequential, logical steps
  • tend to follow logical stepwise paths while problem solving
  • may not understand material fully but are still able to solve problems and pass tests
  • may know a lot about specific aspects of a subject, but may have trouble relating them to different aspects of same or different subjects

To summarize – for walkthroughs, like most SaaS solutions, much of the effectiveness depends on the application which, in turn, depends on user response. Which is to say – walkthroughs are not some lazy solution for a badly designed UI but a tool addressing the solid learning needs of roughly half of your users.

 Would you like to see good walkthroughs in action?

right this way

 

How to Make Your Tutorial Stand Out in the Crowd

Many instruction and guidance professionals are faced with the Holy Grail of online marketing questions – how to differentiate yourself in an already flooded, highly competitive marketing environment. Advertising is costly, SEO requires an arguably worthwhile amount of work (unless you employ a fleet of writers). Instructors and Guidance professionals, however, have two advantages over most businesses trying to market themselves online:

  1. Your product is your marketing strategy: instead of having to come up with figures for a fancy infographic or pay a designer for a witty cartoon, in the hope that it will go viral – instructors can just put a taste of their stuff out there and let the search words do the crawling. The trick is, of course, to find a niche that hasn’t been exhausted, where people still look for tutorials. Or else be the early bird on a hot new topic.
  2. Use the most trivial, existing platform: youtube – instead of slaving away on another page for your website or trying to get noticed by prominent opinion-makers’ in your field, create a channel and upload your tutorials onto it.

What makes the popularity of youtube tutorials so fascinating is the fact that you can find a tutorial for any subject that comes to mind, including functions on widely popular websites with their own extensive knowledgebase or FAQ. Tutorial videos on youtube like How to Find a Job on LinkedIn, for instance, have garnered nearly 130K views. Granted, it was posted 4 years ago, but even then LinkedIn was a globally leading professional network with some kind of Help or How To page.

So how come so many users flock to youtube instead of using on-site resources, written by the product pros?

  • Accessibility to the website’s help tools -and this relates to no single website or app in particular- isn’t smooth enough, in terms of UX. After one click too many or upon encountering a complex or elaborate knowledgebase, the user opts for a system s/he is more familiar with and as such, navigates in with more ease.
  • Old habits die hard but live long and prosper – This has less to do with the website’s navigation and more to do with users tending to default to familiar browsing patterns. It is quite possible that many users simply prefer the half-automated open-youtube-search-click routine to treading an unknown terrain on a yet unfamiliar website, in terms of UX. The youtube platform is, again, comfortably familiar, no effort required to navigate a new UI.
  • Content standardization – users have come to depend on peer review, in some cases far more than on professionals. The general assumption is that your peers share your perspective and challenges and that from that POV, someone has provided the perfect guidance solution. By now, most of the top rated and most viewed tutorials on youtube are done by professionals, but the peer review assumption, most likely, prevails.

The best examples I found for good youtube promotion for instructors and guidance professionals are, unsurprisingly, in the realms of excel: A search for “how to VLOOKUP” lead me to this tutorial and from there on it was a short ride to the instructor’s About page and then to his website.

3 in 1: Engage your users, Guide them and get their Feedback.

3 in 1: Engage your users, Guide them and get their Feedback.

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