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How to make an interactive product tour with Near-Life

A tablet displaying a Near-Life product tour with text saying: How to make an interactive product tour with Near-Life

Interactive tours can be a great way to guide your audience through your organisation, product or platform in detail, without requiring one-on-one explanations with your team, and saving your audience from having to seek out tutorials online. Here’s how you can make one with Near-Life.

Where to start your interactive product tour? 

First up, you should make an in-depth plan for your tour. Consider what you want it to include, and in what order the audience should learn things. You’ll probably want the tour to go through the same order the audience will discover everything, though you may want to put the most important or popular features near the beginning to save the user from going through information they may not need. For our interactive tour, we included a home button. This takes you to a main menu where you can pick what thing in particular you want to learn about. You could choose to put this at the beginning of your video. 

You might want to make a storyboard on Near-Life as part of your plan. This is similar to making a flowchart. Doing this can make the process easier later on once you have your media, as you can drag and drop each scene into the right ‘node’ (a node is what holds each piece of media and the interactions). 

Collect your media assets 

Once you have an in-depth plan that you and your team are happy with, you can start collecting the images or recordings your interactive tour will need. For us, we took screenshots of each stage involved when making an interactive video. However, some of your processes may require a video to give a better demonstration. So set about collecting all the media your video will need.

Additional design tips

After you have all the media, you’ll want to consider how to give the guidance, explaining what each step shows and how the user should navigate it. We used Canva to make a text box that would contain explanations for each stage. You could choose to make an avatar or make a voice-over – whatever works best for you. We chose a textbox because it’s accessible and the user can re-read it as many times as they need to process the information. We made a ‘next’ button on Canva that the user can click to move on to the next step (we later made all the buttons interactive on Near-Life).

You’ll also want to consider whether, like us, you will want a home button/main menu or an exit video button. If so, you will probably want to add these on Canva. We put them on the text box as a home icon and an exit icon, but you can put them wherever is best for you – just make sure they won’t cover anything important on the media behind. You could also animate your text box when it appears – but this will mean downloading the scene as a video.

Download your media 

If, like us, you’re using Canva, once you’ve added your textbox or voiceover to each step, you can then download each piece of media. Make sure that you just download the page(s) for that particular stage of the tour. If you download multiple pages as a video, they will be downloaded as one big video. If you are only using images, this will not be a problem though. Canva will download them as a zip file and they’ll be numbered in the order created. Ideal if your interactive video storyboard follows a similar outline.

Build your interactive product tour

Now the fun can begin! 

If you haven’t made a storyboard

Make your project, add a scenario and create your first node. This will hold your first scene – which will likely be an introduction to your interactive tour. Upload all your media and add the first piece of media to your first node. If you have a start or next button, go down to ‘hotspot rectangle’ or ‘hotspot circle’ and add a hotspot around the area of interaction, and create a new node for you to go to.

Screenshot of Near-Life CREATOR with hotspots higlighted.

This will be the whole process of making your video, as each ‘next’ button will be what takes you on to the next stage of the interactive tour. You will also have to do this for any main menu button you have. However, once you have made a node that will hold your main menu, you can direct every main menu button to that same node. 

If you have your buttons in the same place for each step in your tour, you can save a lot of time by duplicating your nodes. This will make an exact copy of the node, keeping all the interactions like the hotspots around the ‘next’, ‘main menu’ and/or ‘exit video’ buttons. You can then just change the media in the node, either by dragging and dropping or going onto the media tab on the node and selecting it from there.

If you’ve made a storyboard

With a pre-made storyboard, you’ve done most of the work. All that’s left to do is upload your media and now drag it into the correlating node. Once done, you should go onto each node and make sure all the interactions are in the right place and working well. 

Share for feedback

When you’re happy with your video, you can click the preview button to run through it and make sure it’s playing how you want. You can then publish it and share it with your team for feedback. Remember – if you don’t publish it, nobody will be able to see it but you. When you and your team are happy, you can republish it (this will clear all the insights from your team viewing it) and share it with your audience. You have the option to share, embed, SCORM or LTI launch URL. If you’re embedding an interactive video responsively on WordPress, check out our blog here

With a well-thought-out plan, the right media and the right guidance, you can allow users to explore your organisation, product, or platform at their own pace. Whether you choose to use hotspots, buttons and/or voiceovers, Near-Life offers the flexibility to tailor your tour to your unique needs. 

Check out our Near-Life CREATOR product tour here.


Next steps – make your own interactive product tour

Click here to learn more about how Canva and Near-Life work well together, or book a demo to speak with one of our team.

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