Interactive Guided Beginner Tour / Quick Start Tutorial / Pro-Tip Pop-ups

Use case or problem

Obsidian is an amazing and innovative way to take notes but there is undoubtedly something of a learning curve in order to adopt all the features that make it a really powerful knowledge network i.e. second brain. I know there is a help page, forum site, videos, etc, but it might help user adoption and reduce the learning curve if there was an (ideally interactive) beginner guided tour of some kind to help people learn how to effectively use the app to it’s full potential.

Proposed solution

An interactive guided tour and/or quick start tutorial possibly involving a series of beginner/pro-tip pop-ups that direct your attention to features in the UI with text elaborating on how to use them. You could either have to click to close out the tip box, thus confirming that you had a chance to read it and see where the feature is and how to use it, or even have the option to test out the feature with a quick start interactive guide setting up notes and linking them etc. Maybe even a checkbox list of features to try out to incentivize users to explore the UI fully. These sort of interactive beginner user guided UIs are fairly common when you first start video games like Civilization and increasingly with software applications e.g. JetBrains IDEs.

An MVP could even just be little info/help icons next to the various features for you to click or hover over to see how to use various features. That or make an initial pop-up window when you open the app for the first time that give a brief overview of the key features and how to use them with links to learn further. Also, you could perhaps make the help pages be more accessible and obvious in the main UI with a larger icon that stands out in the bottom right corner perhaps that when clicked opens up a quick menu of controls, feature explainers, links, etc.

All of these beginner guided UI elements could/should have a check box that can hide them either individually or in mass by default for more experienced users (can turn on/off in settings).

Current workaround (optional)

Find the help page link in the bottom left corner or search online for videos, forums, etc.

Related feature requests (optional)

I didn’t see any tbh but I’d happy to edit my post if I come across any or commenters share them with me.


I didn’t even get to the second paragraph and I was immediately thinking, “Yeah! Just like games”! Haha
As a relative newbie, I agree that this would be an extremely handy addition for greenhorns. If I had known beforehand how many hours I was about to spend on google and youtube learning even the most pedestrian features, I would have gladly paid top dollar for that kind of dlc! +1

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Yeah, after learning more about the plugin-centric design of Obsidian, I think you can have plugins for any/all of these implementations I discussed. I have this sort of idea whenever I come across UIs that aren’t immediately obvious to know how to use. But I’m sure it’ll come with time.

I don’t see an edit button… correction: “or even have the option to test out the feature with a quick start interactive tutorial guiding you on how to set up notes, linking them, etc”

I hope Obsidian remains the same in its variability and customizable nature while also making it easy for people to adopt the set of tools in the most efficient and effective way possible.

If this were to be created, I may want them to wait until version 1.0 in case any features are adopted then drastically changed while Obsidian is still in beta. Otherwise, this can potentially be frustrating for users who really dig in and pour through each interactive demo step, building guides for themselves and even sharing these with others.

For example, I made the decision to do something like this early on in the beta of an awesome effects plugin software, tyFLOW, documenting the default parameter values and identifying certain key values from reference scenes to achieve specific results. I did this intending to use it as a precursor for later building recipes for various effects. Unfortunately, a good bit of the work was in vain as new default values and solvers were implemented. While this is an extreme example in contrast to Obsidian, it still might be worth waiting for version 1.0 so that new testers do not become complacent and biased by prescripted workflows when the modular nature of Obsidian may just be the secret to its flexibility.

For example, the default vault is, in itself, kind of already preset to allow the user to intentionally enable features as they see fit, allowing them to avoid being overwhelmed initially. If the interactive pop ups were only for the enabled features, the out of the box setup would seem to imply that the software is ready for full use, which might mislead some who are ready to delve in. But, on the other extreme, enabling all features and presenting everything simultaneously may be overkill for most. Perhaps different experience preset modes would help to dial this in. But, again, I believe the ingenuity of many workflows that have been developed in Obsidian, come from the very specific use of some features and non-use of others. And, without encouragement for testers to piece things together, an opportunity might be missed.

I have even come to really appreciate the restrained help vault design. If it were me developing these awesome features, I would definitely feel compelled to put everything on display. But this would create a heavy noise competing with the essentials. Part of the benefit of following the beta version closely is trying and even stumbling upon the little alternative methods that are later superseded by more efficient and robust tools.

Without personally finding and utilizing some of these secret tricks, and simply learning the marquee hits, a more nuanced and adaptive workflow would be difficult. And this is an area, among many, where Obsidian really shines bright. This is not to say that the definitive beginner interactive guide after version 1.0 won’t be incredibly useful. I am simply attempting to present the view that perhaps Obsidian is of a size (in features) and stage (in potential) that the all in one tour might be unneeded and possibly detrimental. Of course, this is all very easy for me to say now, after having invested considerable time being informed by the path of development. It’s not that that I don’t want it to be easy for everyone to adopt Obsidian, I just would hope that it happens in the right way and at the right time. And, from what I have seen, the developers are very instinctive and deliberate with the rollout order.