Onboarding Tutorials vs. Contextual Help

Tutorials interrupt users, don’t necessarily improve task performance, and are quickly forgotten. Contextual help signals can avoid these pitfalls but require unintrusive ways to activate.

When I first launched the app, it ushered me into a long tutorial on how to set up the new belt. The multistep tutorial was nice and clear, except for one big thing –- once I finished it, I couldn’t remember how to do the procedure on the setup screen, and, even worse, I couldn’t figure out how to launch the tutorial again. Eventually, I realized that there was a list of instructions available in the Help menu, but that still required me to memorize the steps, go back to the main part of the app, and complete the process with all that information in my working memory.


Nice to have my gut feeling confirmed. Onboarding tutorials do not work. In context help indicators like tooltips, coach markers, and inline overlays are better.