Inline Hints and Outline Hints

When creating a new tool, it is incredibly important to help users along the way understand how to use it. One of the biggest different in uptakes of new features between iOS and Android is that iOS put these hints first.

Android had Android Beam for a while to share files via bluetooth, but no one uses it since it is obscured under its name and there is no explanation for it anywhere. On the other hand, iOS later introduced AirDrop and everyone began to use it, since it had purpose and instructions front and center.

AirDrop Instructions

Image courtesy of TechnoBuffalo

Hints as Next Steps

In Schedulenaut, we help acclimate users to the new tool by providing two types of hints that helps different types of users, which we outline below.

Either way, however, each hints are used as a guide that users can click on. That is: they can not only figure out what they need to do, but also act upon this new information since clicking on the hints will lead them to their required action.

Inline Hints

Like the AirDrop hints, inline hints are provided next to the features as information to help a user act upon it. These are useful for those who like testing and exploring things and learning as they go than being given an instrucction manual

Hints Throughout Schedulenaut

Outline Hints

On the other hand some users, like being given a walkthrough of how to accomplish their task. We take this to the next level by using checkpoints as a walkthrough to-do list.

In the event page, we add a clear and visible "help" button in case users get losts in the next step. It updates everytime they click it and tells them what they have accomplished and what they need to.

Outline of Hints

Sidenotes

It is important, however, to keep these hints short and objective. Hints are means to accomplish a goal and thus should be subtle. Additionally, as with any instruction, they should be objective as to not assume anything about a user's intelligence.

Conclusion

Hints are a powerful way to increase uptake of a tool, especially when it is revolutionary. Sometimes, what is basic to the creator, is not for the user. We must guide them along the way lest they feel the tool is too hard, or miss out on cool features that were developed.