evaluation playbook
activation playbook
adoption playbook

Building goal-oriented product tours

Goals, of the non-soccer variety. In this playbook, we’ll cover how to set them for your product tours—as well as the best UI patterns for serving them up.

What you’ll learn: 

  • How to outline clear goals for your product tours.
  • How the three most popular UI patterns for various steps of the product tour work.
  • Why benefit-focused design and copy just works.

What you’ll need: 

  • Clear objectives for your product tour that align with user goals.
  • An understanding of your users' needs, goals, and context for using your product.
  • A map of your user journey.

Suggested playbooks to check out before starting this one:

6 steps to building goal-oriented product tours:

Step 1: Show it to the right user.

Step 2: Determine the goal of the product tour.

  • Ask what the user is trying to accomplish and what they should be able to do after completing the tour.
  • Pro tip: each product tour should focus on only one goal or task. 
  • We’re a firm believer that learning by doing is the best way to onboard users. The best product tours consist of a hands-on learning experience that guides users through a series of steps to achieve a goal.

Step 3: List the 3–5 things users need to do.

  • Respect users' time by keeping your tour brief. Avoid unnecessary steps that could add friction to the onboarding process.
  • Aim for a tour with 3–5 steps. If more steps are needed, consider breaking it down into multiple product tours.
  • You can present multiple tours through an onboarding checklist, as done by Bynder Orbit, a cloud-based organizational app.
Bynder Orbit's mini product tours
Source: Bynder Orbit's mini product tours

Step 4: Select the UI pattern for each step in the product tour.

  • Choose a UI pattern that matches user needs and app requirements. The 3 most popular patterns are modal windows, tooltips, and hotspots. 

Modal windows can pop up over your UI or take over the entire screen. 

  • We suggest using modals at the start and end of the tour to provide context and more resources. 
  • Brightcove, a leading video hosting platform, starts their product tour with a welcome video through a modal window.
Brightcove's welcome tutorials
Source: Brightcove's welcome tutorials

Tooltips point out specific features within the product. 

  • They're most commonly used in product tours to guide users toward accomplishing their goals. 
  • For example, HubSpot uses a tooltip to introduce social post-scheduling.
HubSpot's new user onboarding
Source: HubSpot's new user onboarding

Hotspots are small dots and icons that highlight a specific feature. 

  • They're excellent for encouraging user exploration with gentle nudges in the right direction.
  • For example, Grammarly’s learn-by-doing demo document does that nicely by introducing new users to the editing tool features.
Source: Grammarly's learn-by-doing demo document

Step 5: Focus your copy and design on the benefits.

  • Explain why each action or feature matters to the user. Don't merely point to key features—explain their relevance.
  • Pay attention to your communication with users during the tour. Use clear, concise copy and integrate UX power words wherever possible.
Tip: As part of your design and copy, each step should have a progress indicator letting users know how many more steps are left in the tour. For example, Canva’s four-step product tour has the progress indicator in the upper left corner of the tooltip.
Looking for more Playbooks? Go back to the Product-Led Growth Flywheel →