4 Proven Ways to Educate Online Users About Your Technology

Talya Rachel Judovits
September 13, 2011

Creating new technology and offering updated products/features is exciting for any business. After all, we techies know what we’ve got is great and ultimately easy to use, but now we are stuck with the challenge of communicating our (modest) genius to a diverse web of users. So, the question is, how do we overcome this challenge?

Introducing a New Feature or Product

As we profess over and over, all visitors are not created equal. Therefore, not only the way visitors use your site, but also the way they acknowledge and handle website changes differs as well. It is for this reason that modifications or updates made to your system/technology need to be subtly, but clearly explained. And the way you do this depends on your own visitors’ behavioral preferences.

Remember, we are all creatures of habit, and even slight positive changes can be a big deal to your users. So be patient with your visitors and they’ll be patient with you.

Learning through Example

Recently Gmail revamped their UI making their many web page components user friendly with a cleaner layout and some guiding instruction to introduce new features.

In order to help gmail users become aware of the new changes and options, they have included education tabs on new features and customizable settings.

classic google education 4 Proven Ways to Educate Online Users About Your Technology

Pull down menu education is a great way to teach about new updates, giving users the the option to have the explanation as part of their ui.

As you can see here above, the pull down designs are great for introducing new features, as they allow each individual user the option to display instructions or not. Depending on whether your visitor is a new user, a returning customer, or simply a customer who wants to learn more, the way in which they want to see and experience the UI on your website may differ.

Google chat call feature 4 Proven Ways to Educate Online Users About Your Technology

Guiding arrows can be a strong visual way to call your users' attention to a new feature or fact you would like them to know.

Some technology sites decide that they will display the explanation/instructions for the first few entries from the time of update implementation or use by the visitor. Then they will no longer be displayed. However, by monitoring the general usage patterns of your visitors, you can determine how to go about educating them on your own site.

ClickTale Education

We, too, at ClickTale have adopted our own educational structure, offering our users the option to learn more about new products, features, and just facts about our technology. Whether it is through helpful tips, hovering explanations, drop down menu education, we are continually letting you in the loop on our latest and greatest products and features.

ClickTale Tip 4 Proven Ways to Educate Online Users About Your Technology

ClickTale includes helpful usage tips on the UI of each user's account to educate our customers about important features/solutions they may not have had a chance to use or notice.

hovering education 4 Proven Ways to Educate Online Users About Your Technology

Short explanations that appear as the user hovers over each feature is a UI space saving way to educate without overwhelming users.

Take Aways

Some good, quick tips to keep in mind when educating your own users include:

  • Short descriptions outlining each new feature that can be selected and made visible upon request.
  • Nice visuals to accompany copy.
  • Guiding arrows that focus your users’ eye on what you want them to be looking at.
  • Helpful tips if suitable for UI design.

Related posts:

  1. Why You Should Be Checking Out Site Search Analytics
  2. Online Pop-ups: Amazingly Annoying or Annoyingly Amazing?
  3. ClickTale Year in Review
  4. What is Customer Experience Analytics?
  5. User Engagement Time Revisited

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