This guide will walk you through the basics of building new content, or flows, in Appcues.
What's covered below:
- Flow pattern types
- Step settings
- Components guide
- Building a flow across pages
- Building on dynamic elements
- Tying it all together
The pattern types that make flows
Big, screen takeover experiences. Because they have more space, they are great for giving users context at the start of the flow.
Smaller, less intrusive way to communicate your message. Great for announcing smaller releases, collecting product feedback, or drive users to specific actions.
Helpful guideposts in your product. Great for "passive" feature discovery. Use hotspots to provide your users with on-demand guidance or tips, or point out smaller UI changes.
Next action pointers. Tooltips are best used to direct sequences and walk-throughs.
The presentation and behavior of each step in your flow can be customized using step settings. Here's a lightning quick tour of the options in the step settings panel.
- Theme: choose which theme to apply to that step (or step group).
- Position (slideouts only): select where on the screen the slideout should display.
- Backdrop (slideouts and tooltips only): add a backdrop to the step (for making sure the user is able to focus on it).
- Progress bar (modals and slideouts only): display a horizontal bar for users to track progress through the flow.
- Skippable: allow the user to dismiss this step (exits the entire flow).
- Beacon (hotspots and tooltips only): style the point the step is anchored on.
- Alignment (hotspots and tooltips only): customize the arrow that points to the beacon.
- Progress on click of (tooltips only): define how the user should move to the next step in the flow (by clicking an Appcues button, or by clicking the element the tooltip is anchored on).
Adding components to a step
Components are how you make the flow content yours. Add images, videos, text, buttons, survey options, and even custom HTML to your steps. Just choose the option from the menu to get started. After adding an element, you can re-size it as well.
Once added to your step, components can also be styled using the options in the Flow Builder, in Themes, or by adding custom CSS to a theme. Read more about that topic in the guide to styling flow content.
Our goal is to make working with components in the Flow Builder easy. But some components have advanced options, so we have specific guidelines for them below.
Working with buttons
Modals and Slideouts support custom buttons.
You can use custom buttons to:
- Move users to the next step in your flow. 👍
- Direct users to a specific path (inside your app) or URL (outside your app).
- Direct users to a custom step in the current flow (good for creating choose-your-own-adventure experiences). Learn more about branching logic.
- Trigger a different flow (also good for self-direction around an app).
- Track custom events and update user properties (which you can use for creating segments and goals, and targeting flows).
By default, these buttons will adopt the styles set in the theme. To change the button background color and button font color, edit your theme's colors. When creating a button, you can also modify the alignment, margins, styling and add a handful of button actions.
Pro-tip: Custom buttons aren't supported in hotspots and tooltips. If you need to have a button in a hotspot, you can hyperlink text or an image of a button instead. It won't have all of the same functionality as a button component but can be a useful alternative.
Working with videos and GIFs
You can add videos and GIFs to any pattern type - and we recommend you do! They are a great way to explain workflows visually.
To add a GIF: add an `image/gif` component, and then upload the GIF. You can re-size or move it around the step from there.
To add a video: add a new `video` component, and then paste in the embed code from a web video service. We explicitly support Wistia, Vimeo, and YouTube embeds, but any that utilize `iframes` will likely work.
To save you some time, here are the guides for generating embed codes for each service:
- How to get video embed codes from Wistia
- Embedding videos overview from Vimeo
- Embed a video guide from YouTube
Adding Full-Screen YouTube Videos
To allow the option for full-screen mode, add the below snippet in the HTML section within the iframe embed link (provided by YouTube):
allowfullscreen="true" webkitallowfullscreen="true" mozallowfullscreen="true" oallowfullscreen="true" msallowfullscreen="true"><iframe>
Working with Input Components
Input comments allow your users to provide information in various ways. For more information on these components check out our Creating Forms & Surveys guide.
Working with Custom HTML
When our component options aren't enough to achieve your design, or when you want to add content from other platforms to your steps, use the Custom HTML option.
You can add markup to a Custom HTML component, but we only support embeds from Calendly, Fleeq, Pulsemotiv, Typeform, and HubSpot. If you'd like to see another provider supported, please reach out.
Building a flow across pages
If you're working on a flow that goes across different pages of your app (or if the URL will change as users navigate through the flow), there are a few key topics to review:
Check out the quick video below for an intro to building across pages.
Changing pages while building a flow
The Flow Builder has two modes:
- Build - The default mode, for adding steps and editing content. While in this mode, certain interactions may be blocked on your app so that you can work on your flow without interruption.
- Navigate - This mode allows you to navigate to another page, as well as interact with your app. It is also helpful in surfacing dynamic elements on your page, such as a dropdown menu.
When you're ready to add steps on a new page, select Navigate from the builder options at the top center of the page. Go to the next page as your user would, or paste in a new URL. To continue building, click the Build option at the top center of the page.
Page change settings
After navigating to a new page and creating a step, a page change will be added automatically. Page changes define how your user will get to the next page in the flow.
There are two types of page changes:
- Redirect Automatically - the user will be taken directly to a URL. Redirects are best when the user will click a link or button inside the step to navigate them, for example, a "Next" button in a modal or tooltip.
- Let Them Navigate - the user will navigate themselves to the page. This option is best when the user will need to interact with your app to move to the next step of the flow, or when the next step is on a dynamic/unique URL.
To update the settings for a page change, select the arrow icon from the bottom bar. In the settings modal, you can set the URL where the next step will be shown. By default, it will be set to the URL you built the content on.
Building Across Dynamic or Personalized URLs
In some cases, that URL should be personalized for the user. For instance, if that URL is created dynamically with the ID for their account, or for the ID of the item they are looking at, etc. In that case, two options for getting that set up:
Using Wildcards (Let the user navigate only)
Use an asterisk `*` as a wildcard token in place of personalized information. This option is available for let them navigate only.
For example, instead of:
Using custom properties
You can use user properties in both your Redirect Automatically and Let Them Navigate page changes. Simply insert the user property name inside two curly braces, and the user property will function as a variable.
User properties can be included using double curly brackets, for example:
Could be achieved using the firstName user property:
Building on Dynamic Elements
To place hotspots and tooltips on dynamic elements:
- Select the 'Navigate' in the upper center of the screen which will allow you to navigate to the page where these elements will appear and create a new hotspots or tooltip
- While in 'Navigate' mode, open up the dynamic element and then select 'Design' or 'Continue Building' (at the bottom right of the screen).
If you've changed URLs, you will be prompted to add a ' page change'. If not, select 'Cancel' to continue building your flow.
- Place the tooltip or hotspot on the now-exposed element.
Things to keep in mind:
- If you'd like a slideout to be tied to a dynamic element, you'll need to combine your slideout with a tooltip or hotspot.
- Hotspots work independently from each other and will appear at once as a group: if any hotspots in your flow are on dynamic elements, all other hotspots will appear first and continue to persist (unless clicked) until the dynamic element is exposed.
- Tooltips are sequential and will always launch in order: if your first tooltip is hidden on a dynamic element, the entire flow will not appear until that element is visible to your end-use
- In the editor, when your element is not exposed you will see an error message that states "This [hotspot/tooltip] isn't attached to anything visible right now. You can click to reposition" -- you can still edit your text/HTML and when your element is again exposed, the tooltip or hotspot will re-position itself onto it. Preview your flow to verify that your tooltip or hotspot is attached to the right element (click the eye icon in the bottom right of your editor to preview the current flow or group)
- While most hotspots and tooltips can attach to most dynamic elements, we don't currently support elements that appear and disappear upon hover
- If your dynamic element exists on a different URL, you'll have to create a separate flow on that URL to place hotspots or tooltips
Placing multiple hotspots on a dropdown is not a great experience for your customers, especially because the dropdown might be closed and they will not be able to advance to the next step in the flow. Consider having a singular hotspot, at least, to let them know to open the dropdown first.
Tying it all together
While building, you can preview how a specific step or entire flow will behave by using the Preview option. Preview is great for making sure all the steps in the flow work together just how you intended.
You can find Preview in the builder bar (look for the 👁️ icon). Head to the guide on testing flows for more.
Once you've got the basics down, the video below can help you bring it all together. It covers flow building, use cases, themes, targeting & publishing, troubleshooting, and reporting & goals.