UX Tool Review: WalkMe.com

Several months back I was pitching a client (yes, that one) on how to redo their app’s demo. My idea was to use little javascript tool-tip type tags (say that 5 times fast) to show visitors around. The client loved the idea and a day later came back with a great solution: JoyRide, a jQuery plugin from ZURB for just this sort of thing.

I was agreeable enough with it because it seemed like a really elegant solution to the problem. As long as I didn’t have to implement it. Then I went ahead and forgot the whole thing. That is, until about a week ago when I got a message on the BUX Facebook page from a woman named Danielle. Now, I’ll be honest. I figured, even before I read it, that it was spam. It’s not like I’m dealing with spam on Facebook all the time but it was just something about her picture…

This one.

That’s Danielle. By the looks of things, she’s taking a break from dance class, or modeling, maybe, I dunno. Something that requires a uniform and a Christian Side Hug with at least two other women (count the hands). But in her message she wanted to tell me about her website, walkme.com.

It’s gotta be fake right? You have to admit, your bullshit detector went off just a little bit there. What are the odds that (a) there’s a kickass new UX tool that (b) a smoking hot blonde wants to tell me about it (c) on the Internet (d) unsolicited?

It reminds me of something that Admiral Ackbar once said.

So of course I clicked on the link. Duh!

It also helps that she had sent along a nice, if formal, message about WalkMe. This gave me the confidence to believe that she was legit and that it wasn’t actually a trap.

Instead, WalkMe turned out to be a really sweet tool very similar to what I had originally described to my client above. Let’s take a closer look.

The Basics of WalkMe

In a nutshell, WalkMe offers a step-by-step walk-thru of your website using dope looking tooltips. (I’m hoping they use that phrase in their marketing in the future. You almost never see “dope looking” on a poster.)

See? Dope looking tool tips.

It’s a perfect way to walk visitors through an app, or a client through a project. I can envision this being used in conjunction with a tool like InVision by designers to help sell their ideas to their clients.

Here’s their 49 second video on how this whole banana splits.

 Putting WalkMe Through Its Paces

 The Sign Up

This was very easy. An email address, password, and phone number and you’re in. Boom. Now I have a free plan.

Let’s party.

Setting Up a Walk-Thru

This is where it immediately got interesting. After you sign up, you’re immediately presented with this box:

What they just did there was in a really savvy way, tell me that I have to install a Firefox extension.

Suck it Chrome!

I’ve been a Firefox user forever. Since before Chrome was a glint in Papa Google’s eye. And I still use it now on my Mac even though it eats resources like nobody’s business. I mean, Firebug bitch! What?

As you can tell, I’m totally down with the idea of using a Firefox extension. But YMMV depending on if you use Firefox or need to install it first.

Once you restart Firefox to complete the extension installation, it’s now evident that there’s a WalkMe icon on my browser.

Clicking it opens a panel on the side of the browser which asks me to login to my WalkMe account. After that, I’m taken to a screen where I can create my walk-thru.

You can see in the above image that they use their own tool to demo how the plugin works.

I breezed thru their walk-thru and got to making my own. I decided to use this site as the demo. If you look in the lower right hand corner of your browser window – if you haven’t seen it already – there’s a blue triangle you can click to take the walk-thru I created. [Editor’s Note: I’ve since taken this demo down. Check out WalkMe’s website for examples on how this all works.]

I had a few simple goals in this walk-thru.

1. Create multiple tips on one page.
2. Have one of the tips go to another page.

There’s a lot to like in setting up the walk-thru. For one thing, you have a lot of options.

Each of these options allows you to customize how people interact with the walk-thru. You can make it so that a tool tip is displayed for a predetermined length of time. You can make it so that users have to click a “next” button or that they have to click an element on the website.

Once you’ve chosen how a user should advance to the next step you can choose whether it advances to a tip on the same page or to a separate page.

These options are also available on the bubble itself when creating it.

When I was finished creating my walk-thru, I clicked the “Publish” button and their tool gave me code to put just before the closing head tag of my website.

And that, as they say, is that.


What Works

Overall, the whole deal is pretty elegant. When you factor in that at least at this level, it’s all free? It’s hard to find too much of a problem.

I really like the Firefox extension. After the customary adjustment period of learning the tool, the whole operation was really easy and quick. It’s plain to see that once you know how the system works, creating walk-thrus would be a quick and easy task.

They also have stats! Obviously, since I just created one, there aren’t any decent stats to speak of but here’s a quick shot of what the stats look like:

Oh, and a special mention goes out to their support team. Just look at their site… it drips with their desire to talk to us. I feel like this tool is really straight forward. It’s an obvious thing. Yet they offer live demos. LIVE DEMOS!

Upon signing up I got two emails from them: a welcome email and an email from Dan Miller, my new account manager. It seems funny to think that I’d need an account manager for this kind of app, but I appreciate their attention to customer service. They didn’t just give me a phone number, they gave me an account rep for the free plan.

That’s pretty remarkable.

What Needs Work

The non-linear nature of the extension – you can navigate back and forth between items very easily – takes a little getting used to. At first it can feel like you’re having to tweak things across multiple screens and that can be a bit confusing. But once you get the hang of what the icons mean and what affects what, it all becomes clear and gets much easier. It’s got a 5-10 minute learning curve. Also, if you’re not a Firefox user, this will seem like a bigger hurdle because you’ll first need to install that web browser. It’s something I recommend, but I can see how if you have to install Firefox just for WalkMe, you’d find that annoying.

I also ran into an issue (which I kept in my walk-thru, so you can go thru it and see what I’m talking about) where it’s a little inelegant how I go from one page to the next.

The first problem is that I put the tip on a submenu item in the main menu. Ours is a javascript menu. There’s this weird thing that happens that sometimes you have to mouseover the menu before the tip will show and once the menu item disappears, the tip is gone forever. So if the user didn’t realize that they were supposed to click on the menu item (which, guaranteed will happen the first time), they’re screwed.

This strikes me as the only real problem that I encountered.

I would also argue that I’d like to have more options for how I alert users that I have a walk-thru. Putting a big blue triangle in the corner of the browser doesn’t feel like my preferred solution.


WalkMe prices things based on the number of walk-thrus you need.

This didn’t make intuitive sense to me. I mean, don’t I just need one?

It all comes down to how they count walk-thrus. Each page that has a walk-thru on it counts as a separate one. In the example that’s on the website, there are two pages in the walk-thru for a total of two walk-thrus.

This matters because the free plan gives me 3 walk-thrus. Or, more intuitively, you get a walk-thru for 3 pages.

From there, the price goes up depending on your needs.

The one weird element of their pricing is that their Silver plan is listed as “great for e-commerce and simple sites” but it doesn’t seem to include SSL support. Also, with only 5 pages to use its utility seems of limited value. It seems clear that they’re steering users towards the Gold plan at $97/mo.

Now I’m starting to wonder who the target market is. I’m in all day long for $10/mo. if I can make a walk-thru how I’d like to. But these restrictions and pricing feel really limiting. Maybe I’m misunderstanding how they count walk-thrus but at $97/mo. we’re in the ClickTalk, SEOmoz, Raven Tools pricing territory. And for that cash the tool remains branded. Not ideal.

To me, it’s too much at $97/mo. And at the Platinum level, isn’t there a point where you hire a developer and have them build you something custom so that you don’t have to fork out $3,900 annually just for a walk-thru? I mean, what can be that intricate that a guy can’t program that for you for a one time fee of less than $4,000? But again, maybe I dunno what I’m talking about. YMMV.

Final Thoughts

I really like this tool. It’s easy to use. It looks good. With the exception of that one menu issue, it works well too. I’m suspect about the pricing, but if you’re in the market for an easy to use app for creating a walk-thru for your website and can afford it, WalkMe could be just what you’re looking for.


I got some feedback from Danielle on my conclusions and wanted to pass it along.

Her whole message was very nice but I’ll stick to the part where she addresses this review:

Now, in response to your review, I’d like to touch on a few things that might make things more clear for you.

1. Regarding your second Walk-Thru – Smoothies: I’m not sure what process you tried to build here, but something went wrong. It looks like you created a step on a specific header of a specific video in a specific page. Specific enough for ya? Did I confuse you even more? Talk to me about this – we can sort it out together or I can do it for you correctly so that the element actually does exist this time.

2. Hover Menus: We have the sticky feature, which makes the balloon stick to elements that are disappear, which usually happens when the user needs to hover over an element.

3. Platinum Plan: You mentioned that hiring a developer to build something custom for you for a one-time fee seems more reasonable than paying $4,000. Well, I’m afraid to say that it’s a bit more complex than that – developing multiple interactive Walk-Thru’s, which include statistics and languages, roll-based scenarios, plus features that are constantly updated by us, is a chunk of work that will cost more than $3900 if you’re hiring a custom developer. Such Walk-Thru’s would have to be maintained consistently for any website change by the developer, and then your one-time fee becomes a multi-time fee. WalkMe delivers the Editor, which eliminates the need for product and marketing people to resort to the IT department for help as well.

4. Pricing: Walk-Thru’s cover a business process, not a page – it can cover unlimited pages. Therefore, if you use WalkMe to walk users through three business processes, you can use the Free Plan. The Walk-Thru can advance from page to page.

I’m hoping to have Danielle on the podcast soon and we can get to the bottom of all of this. 🙂

10 comments on “UX Tool Review: WalkMe.com

  1. Hi Ben, Thanks for the review. I just stumbled across this today and we will look into this further for use with our web app. Have you had any updates on this software/any further thoughts about it all? Are there any other tools that you have found that achieve the same result but are from a different provider?

    • As far as I know it’s a unique tool for what it does and how it goes about it. There are some other free options that are less elegant, but if you want something that’s continually improving, WalkMe is the tool. As for updates on their tool… I’ve been meaning to get around to it. From what I understand they are releasing new updates several times a month and recently have acquired $5 million in additional funding. What do you want to use the tool for? I might know another option if I knew more of what your requirements are. Thanks!

    • Hey Jonny,

      If it isn’t too late, you could try out Whatfix (www.whatfix.com)
      Whatfix is a direct competitor for WalkMe and is much simpler and less pricey when compared to it. Oh and there are some excellent features like its smart interactive layer.

      The Smart Interactive Layer autogenerates each create walkthrough into multiple formats like Slideshow, Video, Article and PDF. So with a one-time effort you have multiple formats ready!

      Check out this article for a detail on how Whatfix is the best alternative for WalkMe – http://blog.whatfix.com/best-walkme-alternatives-whatfix/

      Maybe this will give you more perspective. 🙂

  2. Thanks for the reply Ben. We have a web app which we are trying to create documentation for at the moment. Ideally we would like to create a knowledge base like XERO but have it all integrated as a walk through system like walkme. The problem I see is that we would likely have hundreds of small walkthroughs but not as many visits – hence the pricing model might not be suitable. I will update you how we get on in any event. Cheers, Jonny. Also, a quick visit to walkme/pricing is showing a hefty price increase!

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  6. Quick update. I have been a customer of walkme since the beginning and supported them all the way. Until today that is when they snet me an email saying the pricing had gone op by more than 1000%. Yes thats one thousand percent.

    We cant afford it anymore and will now have to turn it off. Its a great way of supporting loyal customers who have supported you from the very beginning

  7. Take a look at Skillaware.com . It seems a Enterprise SW alternative also working on fat clients and producing documentationas and videos aside screenflows.. a concept similar to walkthroughs …but without needing to inject javascripts..

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