Closely related to Call to Action Invitations are Tour Invitations. The situation: you have a newly redesigned site or a whole range of new features. How do you invite the user to interact with the new site correctly and discover these new features?
When Yahoo! Maps went through a major interface change they included an Tour Invitation (Figure 9-6). Tours are a great way to introduce new features.
Figure 9-6. Yahoo! Maps provides a Tour Invitation for its features; the tour provides a way to invite users to interact with new features
While tours can be a nice way to explain design changes to a web application, they are too heavy-handed for showing features at the moment the user interacts with them. And they run the risk of not being used since they are optional to the user's flow.
Be careful. It is tempting to use tours as a Band-Aid for a poor interface. If users don't get it, then creating more instructional text and providing tours will not solve the real problems an interface may have during interaction. But coupled with a well-designed interface, a tour can be just what is needed for users to get started.
Tours don't make a difficult site easy to use.
The key to tours is keeping them simple, easy to start, and easy to stop. A tour should ...