What is the Value of a Guided Tour?
“To get beginners to a state of intermediacy requires extra help from the program, but this extra help will get in their way as soon as they become intermediates. This means that whatever extra help you provide, it must not be fixed into the interface. It must know how to go away when it’s services are no longer required. Standard online help is a poor tool for providing such beginner assistance. […] beginners don’t need reference information; they need overview information, such as a guided tour.”
– Alan Cooper, About Face 2.0
So What is a Guided Tour?
When you log into an application for the first time, you can see a bunch of tooltips introducing you to the program/application. You can also see them whenever a new feature is added. They show you what you can do with the program/application and where to look for key functions.
Sites like Facebook and others do this really well.
Guided Tour Demo