Create a guide for mobile

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This article outlines how to create a mobile guide.

Note: It's recommended to test and preview a guide before publishing it.

Visit Pendo Academy for a video on how to create a guide.


To use the Visual Design Studio, you need one of the following permissions:

  • Pendo Administrator Permissions
  • Pendo User Permissions with at least one of the following:
    • Create Guides from Layouts
    • Manage Published Guides
    • Create Guides & Layouts from Scratch

Create a guide

  1. Ensure that the mobile application is integrated with SDK 2.x. Verify this by going to Subscription Settings. An Integrated label should be visible on an integrated App. 

  2. Select Guides from the left-hand navigation menu.
  3. In the Guides page, select Create Guide.
  4. Select the relevant mobile app from the drop-down menu.

  5. Select any available mobile layout templates and rename the guide. 

Tip: As you will most likely have multiple guides, it’s best practice to set naming conventions and use groups for easier searches.

Customize guide content

  • To open the Visual Design Studio to edit the guide, click Manage in My App. mceclip3.png

Tip: You can hover over the Guide preview to see the Manage in My App option to launch the visual designer.

Edits to the Guide can be made from within the Edit Container box. The container's default settings are set by the app's theme.


  1. To edit the container settings, change the theme to Custom.
  2. Once the initial edits are made, click Apply.
  3. Hover over the placeholder items within the Guide Preview and click to edit.
  4. To add a new building block to the Guide, (button, title, image, text, poll, etc), hover between items until a blue line displays.
  5. Click the 'plus' sign to add a building block.

Choose guide transition animation

Select how a guide transitions in and out of each step.

To change the transition, go to Edit Container > Transitions > Animations Type and select animation type, duration, and direction where applicable.

Tip: The default transition type is None. For multi-step, full-screen, or popup guides, we recommend using the slide animation.


Example of Slide Animation 

Note: Transitions are currently not available for tooltips. 

Guide activation methods

When you create a guide, you need to decide how it's activated. Available activation options can be found in the action bar in Activation Settings:

  • App Launch - When the app launches.
  • Page View - When the user views the pages you defined.
  • Target Element - When your customer clicks the feature you defined.
  • Track Events:
    • Based on track event - When the Track Event that equals the selected track event is called.
    • Based on track event property - When the Track Event that equals the selected track event and the property value equals the selected condition is called (SDK 2.22+).
  • Launch Guide From Guide - To launch a guide from another guide, you do not need to set a specific activation method. You can leave all activation methods unselected. This option can also be combined with other activation methods. 


Activation methods details

App Launch - Guide is launched to segmented visitors as soon as the startSession method is called and the mobile session starts.

Common Use Cases:

  • Show "What's new" on the new app version
  • Start a new user onboarding
  • Version Sunsetting

Page View - Select the pages in the App where the guide will appear. Either select an already-tagged page or tag a new page by selecting the Tag New Page button. In this case, a device will need to be connected (connect a device ) in order to capture a new page. If you select multiple pages, the guide will be activated when one of them is viewed for the first time.

Note: Different guide steps can have different pages set for activation. Deep links or organic user navigation with tooltips are recommended to navigate the user to the next step in the guide on a different page.


Common Use Cases:

  • Guide new visitors on a specific section in your app
  • Notify visitors that a specific app screen is under maintenance 

Target Element - after selecting the desired page, select an element that will activate the guide.  by clicking it in the screenshot. If the UI element has not been saved, you will be prompted to save the new UI element. 


Common Use Cases:

  • Add a help button to your app to show contextual help, set the frequency to show every time.
  • Onboard a specific feature

Track Event:

  • Based on Track Event - select the Track Event to be used as the guide trigger. When the Track Event is called, the guide is displayed to the segmented visitor. This allows you to launch guides whenever and wherever you want, if on a process completion, server response, etc.
  • Based on Track Event property - select the Track Event property type, operator, and value to be used as the guide trigger:


See Track Events for more information.

Visit the Pendo Academy for a video on guide activation methods.


Test the guide on a device 

It's extremely important to test how the guide looks on an actual mobile device prior to publishing since the Visual Design Studio is just a “web preview” of the guide. To test the guide, select Test.

Note: If your device is not connected, you will need to connect your device.


During the test, Pendo disregards segments and throttling rules and shows the guide each time. Any target elements, pages, and activation methods set as part of the guide must be present for this preview method.

Note: Mobile guides also do not have the concept of a "staging" environment when testing guides. If you would like to test your guide in a mock live scenario, most users will segment their guide to the current visitorID they are using for testing. 

Once you finish working on the guide, save your changes using the top right-hand Save button and select Exit to leave the designer, or select the drop-down icon next to Save and select Save and Exit.

Visit the Pendo Academy for a video on testing your guide.


Segment and schedule a guide

Once you’re satisfied with your Guide, navigate to your Guide’s details page to adjust the guide’s segment & scheduling.

  • Select the segment of users who'll receive the guides. The default segment is ‘Everyone’. You can see how many users are included in your selected segment and the number of eligible visitors.
  • Schedule when your Guide will go live (and, if needed, when it will no longer be active).

There may be instances when the number of eligible visitors is smaller than your segment. This may be because some of your users are still using an old app version with an old SDK version. In this case, Pendo's new features may not be available to these users.

Important: Guide segments will include visitors that have been excluded from analytics unless explicitly not included in the segment. 

Visit the Pendo Academy for a video on segmenting your guide.


Publish and validate a guide

To publish your Guide, update the Guide’s status to PublicSince there is no ‘Staging’ option for mobile, never publish a mobile guide without testing its full flow on a mobile device. If you are included in the guide segment and want to see the guide on your device after publishing, you will need to:

  1. Disconnect your device from Pendo - select the Pendo FAB on your device, and select Exit pairing mode.
  2. Close your app and relaunch it (guides are sent to the device at the beginning of the "session").
  3. If you are included in the guide's segment, you will be able to see the guide in your app by triggering the guide's "activation" criteria.
  4. Note that once a user sees the guide, they will not see it again, unless set to "show every time".
Tip: It is recommended to publish the guide to a smaller "test group" before publishing it to a broader user segment. You can create a Test segment of your team's users (using visitor or account ids) and publish the guide to this test segment. Once you're happy with the results, publish the guide to your broader user segment.

Frequently asked questions

Should I use the same SDK in both test devices and production environments?

While not mandatory, it is recommended to replicate the exact customer experience, unless testing for a future release. Mobile applications use the same API key in testing and production (unless you create a separate development application in Pendo), and there will not be a distinction in the data collected if you do use the same SDK/API key. This can affect your analytics. However, you do have the option to utilize the Exclude list to filter your own data from analytics.

Should I get an SDK for each development and production environment?

This depends on your business needs, but for more information, please reach out to your Account Manager. 

Can I test a mobile guide with only an IP address?

No, we currently do not have an out-of-the-box option to do this. Alternatively, you can create a test segment that segments users to the development app version. 

What counts as a guide being dismissed and not eligible to show again?

In some cases, your users may put your app in the background on their phone; by pressing the home button on Android or swiping up/Touch ID button on iOS.  When this happens, if a guide is displayed, the guide will not be dismissed and will be expected to show again when they launch your app again. Your guide is considered dismissed (and not expected to show again) when clicking on a button with a dismiss action, clicking the x buttons in the corner, or completing the last step of the guide.

Note: Clicking the Back button on an Android device dismisses popup guides.


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