Pendo vs Chameleon: Which is Better for Interactive User Guides?
Is Pendo or Chameleon 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.
- Pendo is a comprehensive digital adoption platform with impressive analytics, in-app feedback, and product adoption features. It caters primarily to enterprise users and probably has the most advanced analytics of all tools we’re covering in this article. But it all comes at a price.
- Chameleon is a digital adoption platform with a difference: while the other tools discussed are mostly no-code, Chameleon will require some developer involvement.
- Nevertheless, it’s a powerful and effective tool that works in a similar way to Userpilot and offers similar features: styling, analytics, templates, goals, A/B testing, and checklists.
- 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 is 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.
Pendo for interactive user guides
It caters primarily to enterprise users and probably has the most advanced analytics of all tools we’re covering in this article. But it all comes at a price.
Pendo is a robust product adoption platform with user engagement features, impressive analytics, and in-app feedback.
It caters mainly to the enterprise sector and as of the end of 2022, has the most advanced analytics of all product adoption tools on the market. Here’s how Pendo can help you improve product adoption: When it comes to product adoption, Pendo offers analytics features to track the adoption of features as well as guides for building in-app guidance that improves feature adoption both on web and mobile apps.
Here’s what to expect from Pendo’s product adoption features:
- Pendo’s analytics allow you to evaluate each feature usage and which features deliver the most value.
- You can see which features are underused for different user segments.
- You can then build guides to improve the adoption of these features.
- You can use Pendo’s free version to create guides, but you’ll only get access to limited features and basic analytics.
Pros of Pendo
Despite the price and its steep learning curve, Pendo does have a few pros compared to its competitors:
- Pendo is known for its good and easy-to-use analytics tools like Paths, Retention, and Funnels. (As of Q1 2023, Userpilot will have the same analytics features, with more robust functionality).
- Pendo has a shareable product-planning tool to organize customer feedback and prioritize high-value features. It helps keep teams aligned with the shared feature-planning guide.
- It works on web apps and mobile apps so if you need both, this might be a good choice for you.
Cons of Pendo
Surprisingly for a product engagement tool that claims to be “all in one” you can’t act directly on the user analytics from Pendo in Pendo.
That’s because Pendo doesn’t allow you to target users segmented by in-app events with the in-app guides you’ve built with it.
Here’s a short list of Pendo’s cons:
- It doesn’t allow you to trigger experiences based on in-app events either. This is probably because of tech debt – but makes Pendo’s analytics pretty much NOT actionable.
- Pendo offers limited onboarding elements, which means you can’t always create the best experience for your users. If you want checklists these can only be accessed from the Resource Center which defeats the purpose of having them in the first place.
- Pendo’s pricing is only available to you if you ask for a quote. The company doesn’t list pricing on its site for the higher tiers. However, some reviews say they have prices starting at $20,000-$25,000 per year for a single product, and around $50,000 per year for the mid-tier package. This might be Pendo’s biggest downside.
If you’re looking for a tool that shows you user analytics in real-time and allows you to trigger in-app experiences based on in-app events and user behavior in real-time – Userpilot offers these features (and at a lower price tag too).
What users say about Pendo
Users appreciate Pendo’s analytics but find it complex for building in-app guidance using the guides feature.
As soon as it has been integrated, Pendo is easy to use and manage without the need for developers. I also like that usage is captured retrospectively and the dashboard views or ability to segment users/accounts based on different criteria is really powerful. The guides are great and multi-functional making it really simple for Product Managers to help users navigate with walkthroughs, or post announcements or poll users; they allow Product Managers to get creative with how they engage and interact with users directly in the product. – Parita P.
The best feature about Pendo has been the constant collection of User clicks without the need to set up trackers via code. This enables us to tag the usage directly from the tool and start monitoring historic data without having to involve development teams.- Joseph E.
Most users complain about the lack of granularity in analyzing data and the price.
Not much to dislike here, the general product is fantastic but there are some niggles. I think the track event feature, manual sending of tracking events, is the tool’s weakest link. It is not as developed as the rest of the suit and exploiting that data can be very cumbersome.- Joseph E.
And there’s more:
Need to be able to drill more into the Dashboard widgets. For example, using the Stickiness Metrics widget of WAU vs MAU is valuable but I should be able to click into these widgets to figure out which specific Clients these are referring to by different segments. This would be helpful information to hand over to other teams like Customer Success. It would also be helpful to be able to see which Clients are not using certain features when using the Behavior section to create reports. For example, if a CSM has 30 accounts and we can see that 14 are using a specific feature, having a quick list of the 16 not using the fea -Computer Software Admin.
Is Pendo the right fit for your business?
Pendo shines when it comes to analytics, but that’s kind of its main superpower. Here are the top three reasons why you should be looking for an alternative:
- If you only need analytics, there are more affordable tools out there with better functionality too.
- If you want to build more than simple in-app guides and trigger them contextually, Pendo is not the best tool due to its basic guides functionality.
- Not convinced? The price in itself should be the main reason why Pendo is not the best solution.
Pendo’s pricing is only available to you if you ask for a quote. The company doesn’t list pricing on its site for the higher tiers.
However, some reviews say they have prices starting at $20,000-$25,000 per year for a single product, and around $50,000 per year for the mid-tier package. The tricky part when it comes to Pendo’s pricing is that you get to pay separately for different modules:
- Pendo Free: up to 500 MAU, single-app, and basic functionality and analytics.
- Pendo Starter $7000/year: 2,000 MAU limit, multi-app, and access to premium features like NPS but it doesn’t include advanced analytics or integrations.
- Pendo Growth: Custom MAU, single-app, NPS and PES, resource center, and access to support compared to lower plans.
- Pendo Portfolio: Custom MAU, multi-app, cross-journey reports, experimentation, and 1 free integration included.
- Pendo Feedback: Collecting feature requests is a separate module with custom pricing.
- Pendo Adopt: Employee onboarding is a separate module with custom pricing.
There is a better tool for your SaaS than Pendo!
Chameleon for interactive user guides
Chameleon is a digital adoption platform with a difference: it will require some developer involvement.
Nevertheless, it’s a powerful and effective tool that works in a similar way to Userpilot and offers similar features: styling, analytics, templates, goals, A/B testing, and checklists.
However, it doesn’t offer a resource center, or dedicated NPS, and it’s a lot worse value for money with limited features in the basic plan, which is over $150 more expensive for the same number of MAUs.
Step-by-step tours: to guide users through the product.
Self-serve launchers: for easy access to resources.
Tips for unblocking users and giving best practices.
In-product micro surveys: for gathering contextual feedback.
By allowing you to personalize customer experiences, you’re able to create user flows that will lead to the successful adoption of your products.
Additionally, Chameleon offers highly customizable styling, allowing you to create experiences that look native rather than like external products.
Pros of Chameleon
Chameleon is a robust tool for your onboarding and adoption needs. Here are the main pros to consider if you’re still deciding:
- Offers a good range of in-app messaging and UI patterns. You can create custom modals, slideouts, tooltips, hotspots, launchers (checklists or resource hub), and more.
- Good segmentation options, you can either build different user segments inside the product, or you can integrate your Chameleon account with other tools and import your data.
- Can be used on 3rd party tools, meaning you can use it for employee onboarding too.
- Offers a good range of two-way integrations: Mixpanel, Segment, Intercom, Customer.io, Segment, Hubspot, etc.
Cons of Chameleon
While Chameleon is a great tool, the main downside is the cost and restrictions you get with it. Here are the main cons of the tool:
- There are some limitations to user onboarding flows. You can’t run multiple in-app experiences at the same time, as you can in Userpilot. Instead, Chameleon enables you to create user onboarding campaigns (different sequences of product tours shown over time).
- It’s built for single-page apps: Chameleon can’t build flows that run over multiple URLs.
- Doesn’t offer a self-service resource center where users can access multiple guides and tutorials or contact support. It does provide launchers that are similar but more restricted. A launcher can be a checklist or a list of resources, but can’t be both.
- It has a steeper learning curve and it’s not a completely no-code tool.
- The Startup (starter) plan is quite restrictive and expensive (starts at $349/mo for 2500 MAU and includes 1 Launcher only and 5 micro surveys). You will need to go for Growth ($1249/mo) if you want to drive product adoption.
What users say about Chameleon
Users appreciate Chameleon’s versatile functionalities. Let’s see what they have to say about it.
I love the variety of formats we can build in Chameleon, from interactive tooltips to progressive tours and launchers! It’s also really easy to track performance of each of these and adjust accordingly. The interface still feels quite clunky whenever I’m in build mode. For instance, I don’t like that I have to use markdown and CSS when formatting text instead of having an inline styling menu to select from. Then there’s also the issue of surveys or tour steps appearing where they’re not supposed to, apparently mistaking an element in another page for the anchor. -Nikki D
Chameleon is a good tool overall and it’s loved by its users. Most complaints are about the price and some limitations such as customization of tours and reporting and analytics.
There is limited reporting and dashboarding functionality within Chameleon currently. – Administrator in Financial Services
I think the software is a bit on the pricey side, but since it lets us do things that we would normally need our developers to do, we are truly saving in the grand scheme of things. It means we can focus on features and bug fixes, instead of building a new communication method that would only be used internally!-Nathalie L.
Is Chameleon the right fit for your business?
Chameleon is a great tool but we can’t say it’s the best there is. Here are three main reasons why you might consider an alternative:
- To get access to all the needed tools for proper onboarding and adoption you need to pay for the higher plans that can get expensive.
- Chameleon focuses on customization but in most cases, you will need a lot of CSS to achieve the look and feel of your brand. There are other tools that are truly no-code.
- If you need proper product and user analytics without having to pay for extra tools and integrate with Chameleon, you might need to consider a different tool.
Chameleon split their pricing options primarily by the number of monthly active users, but you should keep in mind that the Startup plan also has limited features and might not be enough for interactive user onboarding and adoption for SaaS products:
- 0 – 2500 MAUs: Startup plan from $349/mo, Growth plan from $1249/mo.
- 2000 – 3000MAUs: Startup plan from $419/mo, Growth from $1299/mo.
- 3000 – 5000 MAUs: Startup plan from $489/mo, Growth from $1449/mo.
- 5000 – 10,000 MAUs: Startup plan from $629/mo, Growth from $1749/mo.
Disclaimer: with the Startup plan you only get 5 micro surveys and 1 launcher, no A/B testing, no Goals, and no localization.
There is a better tool for your SaaS than Chameleon!
Is there a better alternative for interactive user guides?
Pendo and Chameleon 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 Pendo and Chameleon. 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.