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Triggers now with branching - react to user activity with more flexibility

6 months ago

The trigger is the most important component that advances a user’s progress through your walkthrough. With triggers, you can react to user activity and bring users to the next step in reaching their goals.

How do triggers work?

A trigger has three parts

  • An event: What does the user do? Click something, hover over something
  • A destination: Where should we go? Jump to a step in the walkthrough.
  • An assigned element: What are users interacting with in your UI? By default this is the step element, but each trigger can be assigned to its own element.

For example, you might have a step where users click the assigned element, and the walkthrough advances to the next step. Or you may have a step where users have several potential options to choose from, and each should go to a specific step in your walkthrough. These are examples of when you’d use Triggers. Without triggers, you have no way to get users to the next step in a walkthrough.

Check out the help page for an in-depth look.

Major trigger update!

We’ve just updated Triggers to give you more control over the types of events you can respond to and also where users can go.

  • More mouse events. With the addition of Mouse enter and Mouse leave, you can respond better when users interact with dropdown menus or other elements which appear on mouse hover actions.
  • Go anywhere! Before, the only available action was to go to the next step. Now you can go to the Next step, Previous, any step available in your tour, or even deactivate the topic.
  • Easier to identify multiple triggers. Each new trigger is color coded to make them easier to identify. Click the eye button and the element you have selected which be outlined in that signature color. colour coded
  • Sensible default options, with Expert control available. When you assign an element, our Authoring Tool will choose the best and most specific element. However you might want to manually edit this selection, and you can now by clicking “Expert” mode.

These changes make it easier to create triggers to respond to user actions in your UI.

Easier to manage Dropdown menu actions

Say for example you have a dropdown menu, and by Step 2, you’re directing users to select from a sub-menu of options. What happens if they move their mouse out entirely and the menu closes?

In this case, two triggers are better than one. You can start with one trigger which responds to a click and advances your user to the next step. By adding a second trigger, you can have a fall back to go to Step 1 again.

To find out more, check out this tutorial on managing drop down menus with triggers.

Indicate your final step

Using Analytics, our customers like to track whether their users complete a tour. Usually, this is the final or end step on the list by default. Now with the availability of multiple triggers from a step, you can create a kind of branching in your tours. For this reason you might have multiple valid end points you want to track.

For example, on a specific step, you might offer the user to choose from two possible options. From there, they might have one more step to complete, but each “end step” will be different depending on which option they chose. If a user reaches either of those end steps you want to know they completed their task.

Now you can specify which steps you would like to track as End steps. Under the Misc panel for a step, enable End step. And you’re all set!

Want to learn more?

We’ll take a closer look at triggers in our webinar on Thursday, 8 September. Sign up to find out how to create engaging user onboarding and tutorials.

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Continuous user onboarding - Part 2

6 months ago

In our previous post, we laid out our argument that you don’t stop onboarding users when customers are actively using your product. Yes, a multi-channel approach to feature announcements will help; and the more channels, the stronger the multiplier effect.

Users might find out about your new features through newsletters, social media, and your blog. That is, as long as they are opening your emails, checking their feeds when you post, or visiting your blog.

In this tutorial, we’ll show you how to add in-app announcements to help make sure your users see them. You can add step by step walkthroughs, videos or slideshows.

Scenario for this tutorial:

A returning user comes logs into their dashboard of your application. They see a pop-up message with an announcement. If they are interested, they can start the feature tour now. If not, they can dismiss the message, and view the new feature tour from the widget another time.

1: Be quick and earn trust with a quick feature tour

First we’ll build the step-by-step walkthrough. We need to build this first, so that we can link to it from our announcement welcome screen.

Follow the instructions in the help guide to create your tour.

  • Create a walkthrough using the backdrop to highlight elements on the screen.
  • Users click Next to advance through the steps.
  • Add media if you need to show elements users cannot see in the UI, for example if it’s a feature not available at their level of access.

Keep your new feature tour punchy and quick. People are overcome with distractions. If they have opted in to view your tour keep it as brief as possible. Researchers have discovered there is a median duration of focus of 40 seconds before knowledge workers switch tasks.

Backdrop tip!

  • You can use a Backdrop to darken the entire screen except for the selected element. This can call attention to an area of the screen. By default, it also leaves that highlighted section clickable. Usually this is to progress an action.
  • In the product tour, it’s likely you don’t want users to be able to get off track. In this case, you can enable the Cover. Then the highlighted elements are not clickable.

2: Capture with curiosity using an opt-in message

After following the steps in the guide, you’ll have a new announcement tutorial appearing in your widget. Yet, how can you make sure people know it’s there?

This welcome screen links to your new walkthrough, letting users opt-in to your tour.

Follow the steps in this guide to see how to create a modal window message like the one above with custom buttons. This will not appear in your widget. You can control who sees it in the next steps.

Wondering what to write? In our previous post, we wrote about using prompts to spark a user’s curiosity. This helps users decide if information is relevant to them. This let’s users quickly dismiss this announcement if it’s not relevant for their needs right now. You can also use variables to give them a personal, first name greeting.

For example: “Hi {{first_name|there}}! Did you know you can test your Inline Manual tutorials on a development site? If you’d like to see how, you can get a quick 30 second tour, and we’ll show you now.” See how to use variables like first names in your content

3. Targeting

Now you’ll be able to target who sees this greeting.

While you could offer this announcement to all of your users, in this case we want to limit it to a set of users. For example if we have a special onboarding experience for new users, and you want to limit this greeting to returning subscribers. To do that, see how to create segments

Of course, you can keep your tour in your widget, or linked from your release notes.

4. Retargeting with Analytics

With our analytics you can also see who has engaged with your messages. If you find that over time, there are users who haven’t seen your message, you could retarget them with another prompt or reminder.


A continuous onboarding plan will implement the strategies you use for new users across your entire user base, each time you have a key update or improvement.

Having in-app messaging tools which integrate directly with your application will help draw interested users to the right messages. Inline Manual makes it easier to share your message of great service and your vibrant development right in context for your users.

Sign up for a demo

to find out how you can use Inline Manual.

Read the other posts in this series on customer retention.

Continuous user onboarding - Part 1

6 months ago

Use the tools in Inline Manual to keep your users informed and engaged as your application evolves with new features and opportunities, because user onboarding never ends. Here’s some ways you can approach continuous user onboarding.

Your application is always evolving and changing.

Many of our customers start using Inline Manual to launch tutorials for new users, specifically for onboarding to ensure conversion and adoption.

Why put all that effort into attracting new customers, and not so much on keeping existing users engaged as your product evolves? Customer retention is crucial to the success of your application. 70% of companies find it’s cheaper to retain a customer than to gain a new one. Repeat the success you find in onboarding for your entire user base.

As Marc Saunders of Coniq explains, “We have a 3 week release cycle which often comes with new or updated UI features. Inline Manual helps us promote these features and gives us a interactive way of showcasing these to our customers.” Coniq’s users love to see a vibrant application and active development.

When you add new features, it’s another chance to communicate that you listen, and a product tour is another chance to demonstrate how you’re making the user experience better.

Add Inline Manual to your multi channel approach

In terms of customer retention, it’s likely you’re investing in getting support to existing users as fast as possible, and perhaps you’re maintaining a relationship marketing program to keep two-way communication flowing. You’re probably using multiple channels to communicate with your users, and specifically to tell them about your new features.

However, the engagement levels for getting users to engage with announcements is a dodgy bet at the best of times. Typical email open rates hover around 20% and click-through rates are awesome at 5%. Typical click-through rates on social media such as Twitter are at 1.64%.

The most natural place to show existing users your new features is right within your application. Inline Manual can help you do this.

Spark curiosity with prompts

You can use Inline Manual to create announcements for new users, which they can quickly dismiss or engage with depending on their needs.

Pique your users curiosity with prompts such as

  • “Want to know how to X?”
  • “Wondering if you can X?”
  • “Did you know you can X this now?”

Using prompts like this gives all users a hint of what they can expect from your new feature, while sparking the curiosity of those who will want to see more of what you have to offer. Next your users can opt for a tour with quick steps, 1-2-3, to show them how to make the most of your new feature.

Don’t let users miss new opportunities

With your new feature tutorials in place, you will be able to see which users are missing out through our Analytics tool.

You will see those who didn’t click through your prompts, and you can later re-target them with different in-app messages. This could be particularly helpful if your application’s new feature is only available through an upgrade.

Your tutorial could be the key message that helps them discover the benefits of your new feature, and the convincing nudge to get them started.

In our follow up post, we’ll look at how you can implement a feature announcement like this in Inline Manual.

How are you communicating new features to your users?

Sign up for our newsletter to get the next tutorial in your inbox.

Read the other posts in this series on customer retention.

How we increased tutorial launch rates by 25% - just by adding 2 words

7 months ago

This is a guest post by Dimitris Athanasiadis, Business Development & Marketing Manager at Megaventory.

In Megaventory we provide online inventory management and order tracking software to small and medium businesses which handle physical goods – whether it’s an eshop or a wholesale distributor. If this doesn’t strike you as a very sexy or simple product, you’re probably right.

As the business cases we’re addressing are complex, our software is also multi-layered and must meet very varied needs. This led us to include many help systems in our application and consequently we needed to find a way to encourage users to take advantage of all these help methods. That would allow users to grasp how Megaventory works faster and ultimately allow them to actually make the best of our software. We have indeed found a simple way to do that that increased our tutorial launch rates by 25% and it only took us a few minutes.

The problem

In the world of business software things need to start making sense within seconds, particularly during trial periods. Your software will affect how users run their businesses so there’s an important decision at stake. And of course, you also need convince them your product stands out from the competition and is the best fit for their needs. So, no pressure…

Typically our users are very busy entrepreneurs who need to understand complex processes and workflows. Megaventory has a unique flexibility to fit different types of businesses, which means many potential customizations for users. Understandably, learning the software and how it can be adapted can be particularly challenging if users are new to these processes of inventory management, as many entrepreneurs are.

Sometimes users are experienced and pick up things effortlessly but most of the time we’re actually dealing with users who are coming in contact with these concepts for the first time.

The solution

What we do is try to help our customers have the smoothest introduction to our product and its details. Having a well-thought out design is rarely enough. We also need to provide helpful elements such as hover tips, a knowledge base, and live chat - yet some of our users will still not be covered.

Enter the Inline Manual tutorials and step by step guides which help show people what a multi-layered application like Megaventory does. With Inline Manual we can easily take the visitor by hand and explain how each process works and what they need to know to run it.

An even better approach

Despite all these measures we have found that many customers seemed unwilling to launch the tutorials, thinking it would be too much of a hassle and it would side-track them – remember their time is very limited. And it’s true to an extent: if you’re focusing on understanding something you don’t want to freeze that mental process just to start something else.

So we thought of a simple solution to show them that it only takes a few minutes to complete a tutorial. And that’s just what we did – and it only took us just a few minutes to add times to the titles:

Moreover since we always try to make data driven decisions, we ran a little experiment. Inline Manual tracks how many users have started the tutorial over a period of time (play rates). So, we tracked play rates across our main tutorials over two weeks. We then included our estimated completion time in the title of every tutorial and let another two weeks pass before measuring the play rates again.

The results were impressive. Comparing play rates before and after adding the time estimate of the duration of each guide meant a 25% increase in total play rates! This translated to a significant improvement to engagement and understanding of the Megaventory functionality – and ultimately better conversion rates from trial to paid accounts.

Sometimes, very little work can bring awesome results.

Easy and improved translations management & Labs launch

8 months ago

Easily manage multiple languages and translate each step within a walkthrough. No need to create clones anymore. Seamlessly integrates  with our Automation, Release management and Revisions.

Language management for each step

The topics can be translated to multiple languages. Each Topic has its own set of languages, which allows you to translate just the content of the step (title and content). The step translation use the same settings for the step - e.g. backdrop, element assignment, etc...

This makes it significantly easier to manage for Authors, but also if you are using our API for automated translations.


Introducing Labs

The underlying changes to our infrastructure and API allows us to push forward integrations that we have started working on. The Labs portal will introduce features that we are experimenting with before they will make it into production. It currently allows you to export the content into HTML > PDF, import knowledge base from services like Freshdesk, Zendesk,... and automatically translate the content via 3rd party services. The labs are available on request to our Standard and Enterprise customers. Request an accesshere.

As always, get in touch if you will need any help.

Marek - Founder
Inline Manual Team

Upcoming free webinar

First-time user onboarding: what works and what doesn’t.

Thursday, February 23, 2017
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