Mobile Tutorials, In An Effective Way
While working with my application project “ColorCollect” I thought of how to make a tutorial for it so people won’t get lost. Simply put, tutorials are there to help the user understand how to use an app, but, do they work?
Users actually become confused or frustrated because they “Just want to get in the app and start exploring”, and you know what? I agree. My personal experience with tutorials can summarized in “Skip this crap”. But is it the very existence of the tutorial the problem or just the design? Well, I believe is the latter, if we can improve the tutorials and make them interactive and unobtrusive then maybe people will stop skipping and getting annoyed at them. Here are a few “rules” to follow when designing a tutorial.
Number 1: Avoid Using Too Much Text
This is a common mistake in tutorials. Don’t make people read 11 pages, it should have a “Show me” approach instead of a “Tell me” one. When someone sees an action it’s more likely they will remember it than if you otherwise have simply wrote it. So, avoid relying too much on text.
Number 2: No Frontloading
Don’t overwhelm the user with information at the start of the tutorial and the rest it’s just “blah-blah”, in fact, never give too much information to the user unless he demands it, that’s what the help section is for. Instead provide the information in short but helpful ways.
Number 3: Make It Playful
No, I don’t mean to use all the colors of the rainbow and stuff like that. What I mean with playful is to give the user a hint of what he can do now and what he can do next while using the app instead of saying what to do before using the app. For this, it helps if the app is quite consistent in design so people can better get the hang of how the app behaves.
Number 4: Learning Through Use
Personally I think this is the best way to go at it. While you navigate the app the tutorial would guide you in small but helpful ways. Like a small text on the top of the screen saying “Swipe Up” and it reveals more information or some other action. By actually doing the action it’s more likely you will remember it later when you need it and simply learn how the app behaves by actually using the app instead of being told what to do entirely.
Number 5: Listen To The Users
Get the time to see what your users are struggling to understand on your app, that way you can tailor your tutorial to better work with that specific area of the app.
“Familiarity blinds you to what users need to learn. Let users show you themselves through unbiased user testing.”