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Designing Web Interfaces by Theresa Neil, Bill Scott

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Tour Invitation

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.

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Yahoo! Maps provides a Tour Invitation for its features; the tour provides a way to invite users to interact with 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

Considerations

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.

Not a Band-Aid

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.

Tip

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 ...

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