Appcues vs Whatfix: Which is Better for Interactive User Guides?
Is Appcues or Whatfix the best tool for interactive user guides? And is there a better in-app onboarding software that would better fit your needs?
With so many alternatives on review sites, it’s a bit tricky to really choose one.
You need to consider your priorities and what functionality you’ll need from the tool to get the job done. Then there’s also the price that needs to match your budget. Right?
In this post, we’ll discuss exactly that – what the perfect tool for interactive user guides should deliver and which will be the best choice for your company’s needs.
Let’s dive in!
- An interactive user guide is a set of UI patterns designed to teach customers how to use your product and help them achieve their goals.
- Interactive user guides help you engage your customers, improve user onboarding, and drive product adoption.
- The main functionalities when picking a tool to build in-app guides include a good range of UI patterns, customization and segmentation options, product usage analytics, and the ability to trigger contextual guidance.
- Appcues is a no-code user onboarding platform that helps non-technical teams track and analyze product usage. You can publish in-app onboarding tours, announcements, and launch surveys. It offers the main functionality as its competitors but highly restricts it when using its lower plan.
- Whatfix allows you to create user flows, knowledge bases, and task lists to get new users engaged and learning. On top of this, their analytics platform is easy to understand and helps you keep track of behavior analytics, guidance analytics, and user feedback all in one place.
- However, Whatfix is designed for enterprise companies and the pricing reportedly starts from $1200/per month. It also doesn’t support NPS surveys so you can’t collect user feedback and measure customer loyalty.
- Userpilot is a powerful product adoption platform that enables you to quickly build personalized, flexible, contextually relevant in-app experiences targeted to different user segments – all without writing a line of code. Book a demo to learn more!
Looking for the best tool for interactive user guides? Search no more!
What are interactive user guides?
An interactive user guide is a set of UI patterns designed to work together and help customers understand how to use your product.
There are two main types of user guides: full product tours (which tend to be more detailed and time-consuming), and interactive manuals (using tooltips and real-time guidance to provide more contextual help to your customers).
Why should you care about interactive user guides?
All product managers want to delight and engage their customers. A big part of that is making sure your users know how to get the most from your application (and in the modern world, that means more than creating a support documentation page).
- Interactive user guides improve user onboarding and drive product adoption. How? By helping real users get value from your product through engaging with interactive content relevant to them.
- Contextual and personalized interactive guides will shorten the time to value and reduce friction in the adoption of your product.
- In-app guides are part of a self-serve onboarding strategy and they reduce support and customer success cost while increasing customer satisfaction. Users just get access to help, when they need it.
All in all, interactive user guides are the backbone of a successful onboarding strategy and should be a must for your user experience.
Why do you need tools for building interactive user guides?
Wondering why you even need a tool to create interactive user guides? There are several reasons why you may need one:
For most software companies, creating interactive manuals from scratch is the wrong approach. Why?
Rather than reinventing the wheel, your developers should prioritize their efforts around enhancing your software – making it faster or more visually appealing – and regularly shipping updates that delight your customers.
Here’s how using a tool can help:
- With the low technical barrier to entry, anyone -from operations to customer success managers – can quickly create an interactive tour, which means you can reduce reliance on software developers.
- Rather than a “one size fits all” approach, you can trigger user guides contextually – so based on the specific actions the customer has taken, targeted support is triggered to help them navigate and use the product more effectively.
- There are dozens of variables you might want to adjust, from small changes to copy to tweaking the design. In a custom-built tool, this represents a significant amount of work – in a no-code tool, it’s incredibly simple.
- Customer adoption tools make it easy to see which version of an interactive user guide performs more effectively with A/B testing (and adapt your approach accordingly).
You shouldn’t question the necessity for a tool to build interactive user guides, but you need to understand what functionality you should look for in a tool and which tools are the best.
Must-have features for building no-code interactive user guides?
Not all tools are built the same. Some offer different advantages over others while some will simply get you basic functionality but at a low price. It depends on your budget and needs which will be the best tool to build interactive user guides.
Here’s what to look for as the main functionalities when picking a tool to build in-app guides:
- Good range of UI patterns to use for building your guides.
- Ability to customize each interactive guide to fit your brand and style.
- Segmentation so you could trigger the guides to the right audience at the right time. A one-size-fits-all approach won’t bring you the desired results.
- The ability to trigger the user guides when specific in-app events happen is nice to have and will help you build more contextual in-app experiences.
- Minimum product usage analytics, to be able to track how users engage with the product, and where they get stuck so you can build relevant user guides to help them.
The above list is not exhaustive but it’s a starting point. Depending on your product, you might also need automated localization, A/B testing capabilities, advanced analytics or security, and more.
Appcues for interactive user guides
Unlike Userpilot, the functionality is limited if you are using the basic plans.
When it comes to driving product adoption, Appcues offers the main functionality as its competitors but highly restricts it when using its lower plan. This makes it quite pricey if you need checklists for example, which are quite an essential tool for getting users to engage and adopt your product.
Here’s how Appcues can help drive adoption:
- Building a product tour in Appcues is relatively easy. You can choose from a range of UI patterns and use a friendly Chrome extension builder. If you want to style the modals or tooltips in your tour to match your native UI, you might need to resort to CSS.
- Welcome screens are an integral part of Appcues product tour templates. You can mostly customize them as you please by adding or removing elements, micro surveys, etc.
- The flows option offers 4 main onboarding elements (modal group, tooltip group, slideout group, and hotspot group) and only 1 action – navigating to a different page.
- You can get access to building checklists but only on the more expensive plans.
- Unlike its alternatives, Appcues doesn’t offer the possibility of building an in-app resource center.
Pros of Appcues
Let’s look at some key advantages of Appcues:
- It makes it easy to build product tours with a user-friendly UI and predefined templates that can save you time.
- Can be used on web apps and mobile apps too.
- It integrates with most user analytics tools: Heap, Segment, Amplitude, and Mixpanel. This compensates a bit for the lack of in-depth analytics but means you need multiple subscriptions.
- You can use predefined flows or build your own using a good range of UI patterns.
- Allows basic segmentation and event-based flow triggering.
- It’s easy to build in-app surveys using modals or the integrated NPS tool.
Cons of Appcues
But as any tool, Appcues is not without its flows – and at this price point, we think you may really want to consider some options that offer the same or more advanced functionality, but at a lower price tag:
- Appcues lacks certain transition actions like driven actions, scroll position, or page change, which would make product tours more interactive.
- It heavily limits the functionality available in the lowest (Essentials) plan. If you need checklists, more than 10 events, or more than 5 user segments, you’ll need to upgrade to the Growth plan (starting at $879/mo payable annually, which means you need to fork out more than $10,500 to start using Appcues for more use cases.
- Appcues doesn’t have a resource center feature, meaning you can’t use it to offer self-service support to your users.
What users say about Appcues
What do Appcues users share about their experience? Overall users feel positive about Appcues.
Here’s an example summarizing some key points about its features and the value it offers. You can find more reviews on G2 or Capterra.
The best part of Appcues is the guided tour features which they call flaws. Especially on a team with limited resources, it allows you to improve your activation and engagement overnight by using this feature to guide your users around your product. What I love even more is the design and UX features are modern unlike other tour tools we’ve researched, and the software is easy-to-use with the need for a developer after the initial installation. – Raeann F.
However, there are some points that could be improved:
As with all software, you will run into irritating limitations. Appcues does collect a lot of data that could automatically be turned into user attributes (like the first log-in or visits per month) but they don’t do that. Jumping between the build mode and the studio can also become very confusing at times. – Ville T.
Is Appcues the right fit for your business?
There are good and bad when it comes to using Appcues but to sum it up, here’s why you might need an alternative:
- You need to build complex user flows and target them to specific user segments. In this case, you will need more than basic segmentation.
- You want to track product usage properly and don’t want to be limited by Appcues’s event explorer.
- You want to take full advantage of all onboarding functionalities (like a checklist) without paying a premium crazy price for them.
All things considered, Appcues does not offer the best value for money compared to some Appcues alternatives – at $249 per month. If your product has 2,500 active users, the costs for different plans are:
- Essentials: $249/month (Up to 3 user licenses)
- Growth: $879/month (Up to 10 user licenses)
- Enterprise: Custom (Unlimited user licenses)
There is a better tool for your SaaS than Appcues!
Whatfix for interactive user guides
Whatfix is one of the top digital adoption platforms around and a driver of innovation in this space.
Whatfix offers a well-made product that allows you to create user flows, knowledge bases, and task lists to get new users engaged and learning. On top of this, their analytics platform is easy to understand and helps you keep track of behavior analytics, guidance analytics, and user feedback all in one place.
Whatfix helps your enterprise company achieve that by unlocking the full potential of user segmentation and in-app guidance.
Here is what you will get with Whatfix product adoption functionality:
- Create contextual in-app guides to make users get the maximum value of your product.
- Provide omnichannel support without skyrocketing your customer support goals.
- Powerful analytics to try new ideas based on real-time data and find ways to optimize the customer experience.
Pros of Whatfix
There are many advantages when it comes to choosing Whatfix. Here are its pros:
- Easy to create flows, even for non-technical team members.
- Allows you to develop knowledge bases for self-help solutions.
- Ideal for both customer and employee onboarding.
Cons of Whatfix
But at the same time, Whatfix has some cons so it’s better to get an overview if you’re thinking of buying it:
- User experience issues, including bugs and sometimes spotty customer service.
- Fewer analytical features and views than you might like.
- Lacks in-depth style customizations.
- It’s difficult to integrate some of the scripted code in the admin integration sections without the help of a Whatfix support team member.
- No free trial option despite it being stated on the homepage.
- It’s targeted at enterprise accounts so small companies might get ignored.
What users say about Whatfix
Overall, Whatfix is a good tool and customers are happy with the product. Here is what their customers say about the product.
Our Whatfix Customer Success Manager Kritika has been amazingly responsive to our questions and creative in finding solutions.
Their team really helped us during a project we were doing, and I think they would be great for any company looking for help. This is a must to onboard customers and drive retention.
Though Whatfix is considered a solid tool in the market some people have complaints. Mostly they are related to complications for non-technical people and instability.
Here is what they say:
We were promised a lot of features that weren’t as easy to use as they made it seem when we signed up.
The tool itself is challenging for the less technical people to use the tool, as you need to know the css classes to show flows and steps.
Is Whatfix the right fit for your business?
- It’s designed for enterprise companies and the pricing reportedly starts from $1200/per month. So it’s not something you’ll be delighted to buy if on budget.
- Whatfix doesn’t support NPS surveys so you can’t collect user feedback and measure customer loyalty.
- Though you can create onboarding flows, tooltips, and beacons with Whatfix, there are many cost-efficient tools in the SaaS market that provide the same or even more functionality with customization options at a much lower cost.
Whatfix doesn’t have any pricing plans on its website. Instead, you’ll need to speak with one of their team members to get a custom quote tailored to your needs and organization.
Otherwise, you can request a free trial to see if Whatfix works for you.
There is a better tool for your SaaS than Whatfix!
Is there a better alternative for interactive user guides?
Appcues and Whatfix are good tools for interactive user guides. We’ve seen how they compare to each other and what you can achieve with them. Call us biased, but if you’re looking for something better, Userpilot offers more value for your money than these tools.
Userpilot for interactive user guides
Userpilot is a powerful product adoption platform that enables you to quickly build personalized, flexible, contextually relevant in-app experiences targeted to different user segments – all without writing a line of code.
Product adoption describes the process of getting users to the point where they are experiencing value from your product.
Userpilot is a powerful product adoption platform that enables you to quickly build personalized and contextual in-app experiences targeted to different user experiences – all without writing a line of code.
It’s a great option for enterprise users too since it’s SOC 2 Type II certified and offers robust features for large-scale usage.
Here are some of Userpilot’s product adoption features that you may find helpful:
- A broad range of UI patterns to build fully customizable, contextual, and interactive in-app flows: modals, slideouts, tooltips, hotspots, driven actions, banners, and more. And – most importantly – you are not limited by plan when it comes to how many UI patterns or designs you can build.
- Advanced in-app checklists with built-in gamification elements like progress bars or ”automatically marked complete” tasks: checklists also come with analytics so you can track who is interacting with them and how.
- Fully interactive walkthroughs walk users through engaging and adopting specific features of your app.
- The self-service in-app resource center lets users search your knowledge base directly inside the app, access chat, and support but also launch guides and tutorials when they get stuck.
- User feedback tools allow you to collect insights to improve the product and the user experience, thus leading to a higher product adoption rate. You can also collect NPS data and tag responses to uncover patterns into what makes users stick, or build micro surveys for more granular data. Then you can use all the feedback collected to build user segments based on the answers and personalize the path to higher product adoption for each segment.
Want to see Userpilot in action? Get a demo and improve product adoption with contextual and personalized in-app flows that actually help users.
Pros of Userpilot
Userpilot has a number of advantages, especially for mid-market SaaS companies looking for a robust but at the same time very easy-to-use, no-code tool for user onboarding, product adoption, and simplified product analytics. Let’s have a look at the pros of using Userpilot:
- No-code builder – Userpilot comes with an easy-to-use Chrome Extension builder.
- Multiple UI patterns – choose from a range of options to build customized flows: modals, slideouts, banners, tooltips, hotspots, and checklists are all at your disposal.
- UI patterns are not limited by plan – you get access to all of them on every single plan, meaning you get value even with the Traction plan (this is the entry-level one).
- Engaging walkthroughs and onboarding flows- build interactive walkthroughs targeted to distinct user segments.
- In-app help – build a resource center offering self-service support to your users, customize it with your branding, and select from a range of help options to boost user satisfaction (i.e. videos, in-app flows, chat, and more).
- Experimentation – built-in A/B testing for flows lets you explore and quickly iterate based on direct user behavior.
- Powerful feedback options- integrated NPS surveys with analytics and response tagging unlock insight into how your users feel.
- Advanced analytics and segmentation- analyze product usage and in-app flow engagement and build user segments using the data.
- Event tracking and feature tags- tag UI engagement (clicks, form fills, hovers) and group them into one custom event to track what really matters.
- More value with integrations- unlock value faster with built-in integrations with popular tools like Segment, Amplitude, Mixpanel, Kissmetrics, Intercom, Heap, and more.
Cons of Userpilot
There are, however, some downsides to Userpilot as well:
- Browser/web app only – Userpilot won’t run on mobile devices/applications.
- Doesn’t support employee onboarding- The tool is better suited for customer onboarding than for employee onboarding as you can’t build in-app guides on third-party tools.
- Missing integrations – doesn’t have built-in integrations with some tools, but it has webhooks, and Hubspot and Zapier are coming soon.
- Not appropriate for small startups on a shoestring budget (<$100)- Userpilot is a powerful, mid-market to the enterprise-level tool. So $249 a month might be too expensive for really small startups.
What users say about Userpilot
Let’s check what real users like about Userpilot.
Userpilot is an incredible, user-friendly software that allows us to create unforgettable experiences for our clients! From basic to complex experiences, we have been able to do them all with ease! I would highly recommend this software to anyone who wants to provide their clients or users with the best product tour experience. The possibilities of what you can create are endless! – Tayla G.
Userpilot is simple to set up, use, and does not require any dev – which means instant publishing. This is critical for us as a SaaS company that releases new features frequently; we need the ability to inform our customers of changes quickly, and doing this in our platform through Userpilot allows us to reach the right audience, at the right time, in the right place. There have been many awesome extra features we’ve discovered since coming on board, and it’s been great to see new features released frequently. The tool itself is intuitive and reliable. Having used similar products previously that were clunky and buggy this has really made us happy with our decision to move to Userpilot. – Melina K.
Get more value for your money with Userpilot!
Userpilot offers great value for money compared to other similar tools on the market. Even its entry-level plan (Traction) provides all the necessary features without any usage limit.
The price-to-feature ratio is the best for Userpilot. Other cheaper tools in the market would definitely not fulfill your needs, and others like Pendo would be out of budget. Userpilot sits in that sweet spot. – Saurav S.
The pricing differentiation happens mostly on the service level (e.g. custom domain hosting, dedicated Customer Success Manager, SLA) and is based on the number of Monthly Active Users (MAUs) your company has.
Here’s the detailed Userpilot pricing:
- Traction: For up to 2500 users, this plan is $249/ mo.
- Growth: For up to 10,000 users, this plan is $499/ mo.
- Enterprise: For large-scale businesses, these plans begin from $1000/ mo.
There you have it.
It should be easier now to make an informed decision between Appcues and Whatfix. Both tools come with advantages and disadvantages so there isn’t one that is the best. It will depend on your product and current needs.
If you want the best value for money, going with the alternative option would be our recommendation. Want to see how Userpilot can help with interactive user guides? Book a demo below.