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New release! Attractive ways to improve customer engagement

about 1 month ago

In our recent releases we’ve been working on the back end to improve targeting and translation. Today we’re making it easier for you to create engaging interactive walkthroughs. This release includes new ways to attract users to guide them through your onboarding flows. There are also improvements under the hood for smoother integration.

If you’re planning your customer engagement strategy, these are important features to consider.

Improve customer engagement with launchers

Now you can change the style of Tooltips and Launchers to draw user’s attention without getting in their way. These attractive launchers can link to pop-over tooltips, or right into a user onboarding flow, or step-by-step tutorial.

Say for example, you’re making a new product launch, or announcing a new feature. As part of your customer engagement strategy, you may want to reach out to existing users so they don’t miss this new feature or product upgrade. Because these users have already been through your product onboarding process, they’re already familiar with your application. If they’re quite adept, they may not notice subtle changes in the UI. Tooltips can be helpful, but even still, they may tend to think those are for new users. Instead, try changing the look with a Hotspot which pulses. This will draw the user’s attention so they don’t miss important information.

Previously, by default a tooltip or a launcher was a question mark in a circle. Here are the new styles of Launchers and Tooltips, and how you can use them with different content.


Add tooltips to your UI without code
When to use a Tooltip. New users especially like information points like these in the UI. A small question mark shows where you provide more information. You can replace the content with single characters such as a small “i” for information. This can save users from having to refer to an FAQ outside your app or seek support.


Add a pulsing launcher to attract attention
When to use a Hotspot. Create a hotspot to draw attention to a new opportunity in your application. Need to highlight a new upgrade to existing users? This will help draw their attention.


Add short text tooltips to your app
When to use the Text style launcher. In some cases, you may want to prompt users with a short phrase. With this style, you can change the text to a single word or two and the launcher has a fixed width.

Long text

Add long text tooltips to your UI
When to use the Long text style launcher. This is similar to the Text style launcher, except this will resize to fit more text. For example, Long text could be useful when users are filling out a form, you might like to put in a few words of information. However, if they click on the launcher, they can get the additional detail.

Smoother user flows and interactive walkthroughs

With Inline Manual you can target any selector in your application such as a header, or a table or a button. You may want to draw a user's attention to a table header, or prompt them to click on a link. Our Authoring tool identifies the best selector in most cases without requiring you to code or know the source code of your application.

If you were just making a product tour, the selectors you interact with in your app wouldn’t matter too much. Generic headers and tables might do really well in most cases. However, if your customer engagement strategy depends on guiding your new users through your application, and prompting them to click specific things in your UI, then being precise about the selectors you choose is very important.

What makes Inline Manual stand out is the way you can use interactive prompts to get users to take action within your application. With interactive walkthroughs, you can also react to user events in your application, for example when they click or hover over elements in the user interface. Making this work relies on the selectors you identify when you’re building your walkthroughs. The more specific you can be with the selectors, the more precise you can be with how you prompt users and respond to interactions.

This release improves how the Authoring Tool detects elements in your user interface. Now you can find better selectors and fine-tune your walkthroughs for specific applications.

You won’t see any changes visible in the authoring tool, all the magic is happening under the hood. The default behaviours should work nicely with both single page applications and dynamic elements. Our Customer success managers will be able to help with the initial configuration if the defaults won’t work as expected, so please do contact our Support team.

Find out how to fine-tune the CSS selectors in the Authoring tool.


When you’re implementing your user onboarding and customer engagement strategy, you don’t want to be limited in what you can do. Thanks to our customers for continuing to share your stories and experience with us so we can better understand how you use Inline Manual.

We’re always looking for ways to make it easier to get fine-grained integration with your application so your users have a seamless experience. This release will make it easier to be precise when creating interactive experiences, with smoother integration with your app’s user interface. And you can provide help for users to keep them engaged and in your application.

We’ve also released various bug fixes and ongoing stability improvements, which help us to continue to deliver you 99.97% uptime.

Watch this webinar for inspiring examples of user onboarding

about 2 months ago

This webinar includes websites that have the best user onboarding flows and explains why. In 17 minutes, you’ll finish with practical ideas and inspiration.

It’s easier to understand user onboarding best practices from real-life examples. Watch this webinar for examples of websites that have the best user onboarding flows.

Marek Sotak shows you sites and applications that have great onboarding processes and he explains why. You’ll finish this webinar with lots of ideas for user onboarding which you can take to your site.

There are many tools available for in-app guidance, and many companies do it in house with full teams of developers. If you’re wondering how you can create the best in-app onboarding experience for your users without any coding, request a product demo of Inline Manual.

You can also sign up to our next live webinar on 18 May 2017 for a product overview of Inline Manual.


New release: Improved translation workflow and more

3 months ago

With our clients, we’re helping onboard, convert, and engage new customers all around the world. When you’re reaching a global audience, multilingual support is crucial. We’ve introduced an easier translation workflow which enterprise applications need for global reach at scale.

Thanks to your feedback, we've also improved the Topic display, giving you quicker access to details and saving you time in targeting your messages to users.

Here are some more details about today’s release.

Improved translations workflow for multilingual content

Many of our customers have global audiences, and they need a way to translate content quickly. With Inline Manual, you can already translate your interactive walkthroughs into any language. Once you’re translating to several languages, the workflow gets trickier.

Now Standard Pro and Enterprise customers can export content, translate it in another application, and then import translated content. For a limited time, we’re allowing all account levels to try out this feature.

This new workflow will make it easier to write and manage translations. You can export and import the translation files as CSV or Excel files. In those files, your content editors can edit the HTML source and any tokens you’re using. Then you can import the translation file back.

Translating a walkthrough

Use AND/OR to target your messages.

By default, topics are available to Everyone. With segmentation you can make topics only available to your chosen segments. For example, you may want to add articles and walkthroughs which only administrators and editors can see.

You told us you were creating additional segments to handle these cases. Now, we've made it easier so you can use both AND and OR operators to combine segments. Find out how.

User new operators to choose segments

See tags when viewing your Topic list

Now you can see the tags assigned to a topic, right on the topic list in your Site.

By using tags, administrators can quickly see which content they are working on. When you’re using Segmentation to offer unique content to different types of users, it can get confusing if you have topics with the same names. That’s just one way to use tags.

Topic tags


We’re hearing more and more from our customers that they are reaching audiences at a larger scale than ever before. That is such great news! The new translation workflow makes it smoother and faster to communicate to a global audience.

New release: Better interactivity, integrations and targeting

4 months ago

We’re so excited to share this much-anticipated release with you. With new integrations and flexible customization options, you will have more insight into and control over your content. This release includes something for everyone.

  • Custom Step Templates for consistent branding across your content.
  • Persistent Steps to continue a walkthrough while users explore.
  • Device targeting to send messages users on mobile or desktop separately with autolaunchers.
  • Use regex (regular expressions) to target your autolaunchers to the right users.
  • Send data about your users to Third Party Analytics [beta].
  • Article Topic Type can be translated now.

And we’re also introducing a new way to give you access to upcoming releases with a Gradual Rollout.

Check out the release notes for more details.

Here are some highlights.

Introducing Gradual Rollout

Customers choose Inline Manual because of the flexibility and control. This means you’re building dynamic walkthroughs and creating some brilliant integrations. We carefully test each release, and we know you want to test it too. If you have advanced customizations, enable the Beta version on your staging site before rolling it out to production.

You have a two week period to switch to the new player version on your sites. At the end of two weeks, the player will go live for everyone, across all sites. If you do find problems, contact our support team.

Sign up to our Developer Mailing List to get updates.

Beta version option

More ways to auto-launch walkthroughs such as for mobile or desktop users

Use the new Advanced Activation Rules for Autolaunchers to control who sees your walkthroughs and when.

  • Target specific devices and launch a walkthrough weather a user is on desktop or mobile.
  • Use regular expressions (regex) to match URLs, and autolaunch interactive walkthroughs when users are in specific parts of your site or application.

Track user interaction with Third Party Analytics

Standard Plan and Enterprise users can now track when users complete tutorials or reach specific steps in Google Analytics, Kissmetrics or Segments. These new player integrations send event information to your third party analytics services.

Find out how to set it up and start sending your data to an analytics service.

We’d love your feedback about this new feature. We've built a solid framework to easily add any one way integrations, so more will come soon. Give us a shout and tell us what you would like to see!


Consistent branding with Custom Step Templates

When you create in-app walkthroughs they should look and feel like part of your application. Now it’s easier to get consistent branding by using our newly released feature: Custom Step Templates.

Custom step templates

Up until recently we provided a default Step Templates which allowed authors to choose a design as a starting point. To use the default templates, you would select which template you want to start with, and then edit the content or the HTML.

Now create your own Custom Step Templates which your content creators can use as starting points. This will help your teams deliver content with consistent graphics and copy.

Our customers already get full branding control through the design tools and custom CSS. And now with Custom Step Templates, they can get consistent branding no matter who is authoring the content.

Book a personalized demo

Considering Inline Manual for

  • user onboarding?
  • self-service and contextual help?
  • or employee training?

We'll quickly show you how Inline Manual can help.

Request a full product demo

What can game mechanics teach us about interactive walkthroughs?

5 months ago

Interactive walkthroughs are one of the key user engagement patterns that came from gaming. Game designers discovered a way to get players up-to-speed quicker. Instead of referring players to manuals - interactive walkthroughs put the user in control. A player sees a sparkling door, they click on the door, and the adventure begins!

What can we learn from gaming to apply to application design, user onboarding and interactive walkthroughs? First we'll look at why we should take gaming seriously. And then we'll look at three simple ways you can make your interactive walkthroughs more engaging.

Make interactive walkthroughs more engaging

Taking Gaming Seriously

The brain is still mystifying scientists. One theory suggests that “dopamine invigorates actions toward desired goal” and another that “dopamine is a teaching signal.” Either way, it looks like dopamine plays a vital role in motivation and learning. And now scientists are looking at how games stimulate dopamine, and how that in turn, increases motivation to continue playing.

We can learn a lot from gaming about stimulating motivation in users. The notion of gamification conjures up ideas of employing game mechanics like badge collecting and point scoring. Yet, Product Marketers and Product Managers don’t need to be so literal with interpreting game mechanics.

Games demonstrate social psychology and concepts in behavioral economics that product designers can build into their applications. So this weekend, why not spend some time playing a game? All for research purposes, of course. The next time you do, observe these concepts in action and consider how to apply that to your user onboarding experience.

Apply Game Mechanics in Web Applications to increase User Engagement

With the first time user experience in mind, here are some tactics you can employ in your plans to slowly reveal advanced tools, functionality and concepts at just the right time in the user's journey.

Each of these game design tactics correlate to design concepts in web applications. For example, the sparkling items or “pulsing circles” in games indicate what players can interact with. In a web application, a Product Marketer can place cues like Launchers which are “baked into the gameplay” of someone using an application. Users can click, launch the tour and learn-while-doing.

Other game mechanics correlate well to web application design.

  • Starting areas in games are like your Blank or Empty States in a web application. Deliberate gaps and clear calls to action motivate users to complete and fill out the missing items.
  • Leveling up in a game can be like Progressive disclosure in a web application. As your skills improve, you get ever more complex spells and harder but appropriate challenges.
  • Immersive game play is like the consistent branding and experience of an application.

Find out more here:

Product Marketers are looking for ways to create custom user onboarding experiences and interactive walkthroughs, which they can’t build into the application.

How can you apply this ideas to the user onboarding experience?

Three simple ways to make user onboarding more engaging

Over at Gamasutra, they applied theories from motivational psychology to explain gamer behavior. What made some activities more sticky and addictive?

Perhaps some concepts are quite gaming specific: “Rewards that are unpredictable (loot drops) are generally more motivating than rewards that are predictable (100 xp per monster)” That type of advice might be trickier to apply in the context of using an application.

There are three ideas Gamasutra highlights which are immediately useful to apply to user onboarding.

  1. Show users progress.
  2. Provide a meaningful reward.
  3. Reinforce the message.

Where’s the best place to demonstrate these three? As part of your walkthrough! Let’s break these down.

1. Show Users Progress

After your users complete tasks, keep track of their progress. Here’s an easy way to do this:

  • Start step 1 of your tour with a check list. This is an outline of what they will accomplish.
  • After each task is completed, display the checklist again, with one item marked off.
  • Continue through the steps until the tasks are done.

This is a simple trick - but it also gives you an easy way to reinforce your message.

2. Provide a Meaningful Reward

Use encouraging words and graphics - but make sure to connect them to a real result. “Great job!” really should mean something.

Start your tours by offering a tangible benefit. We looked at crafting that offer in our post on how to create short and practical interactive walkthroughs.

When users opt in, they should know what the offer is. For example:

“Do you want to [do task] so that you can [gain benefit]?”

When they finish, you should be able to demonstrate the meaningful reward of achieving that benefit. If they signed to get a free valuation or to create a free asset, that is your meaningful reward.

3. Reinforce the message

Don't miss out on the chance to reinforce your message. The final step in your user onboarding tour should relate back to the promise you made.

Remind users of what they have achieved e.g., “You’ve just finished…” or what they received, e.g., “Here’s your new... “ Games tally up experience points to remind uses of the time and work they invested, and what they achieved. In the same way, remind users of what they've already invested in your application. This helps them connect what they did to the value they experienced.

Now you can reiterate your overarching message and the next call to action.


Game mechanics are already widespread in application and software design.

If you take gamification too literally by building in point-scoring or other gimmicks, it might not fit your application. And even game designers can improve their user onboarding game, as Samuel Hulick shows in his recent tear down of the Super Mario Game onboarding,

We should look to games to inspire designs of interactive walkthroughs. By giving your first time users clear goals (quests!) and rewards, help them stay motivated to get their work done, and bring them closer to success with your application.

How many things are truly rewarding in our daily work? We have multiple tasks on our plates every day, loose threads, and open feedback loops. Getting something useful done with a tangible benefit is incredibly valuable, and why not celebrate it?

With a few simple improvements we can make an interactive walkthrough more engaging, motivating. Users will get a greater sense of accomplishment, and the path to success will be immediately visible.

So the next time you play a game, think of how the game shows you progress, gives meaningful rewards, and reinforces the message.

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