Amberjack is a simple and easy way to put up quick tours of your website without needing any programming knowledge. It’s a lightweight open source project, but I think it’s something readers here are likely to find useful. Remember how much everyone loved the Scrybe demo on YouTube? Well if you’re not the screen cast type, Amberjack could be a fast, easy way for you to set up a tour of your site.
You provide the URLs you want to include in your tour, select a skin for your narrative boxes and determine what all the button text and links will be for the interface. The tour wizard then provides a code snippet that you place in the template of your website and code for a button to launch the tour.
I’ve set up a 3 page tour of my personal site here for demonstration. It could be fun to take the time to set up a tour of TechCrunch greatest hits, with narrative boxes telling the story around the story for each page on the tour. Obviously there are more serious uses for Amberjack, like improving user understanding of a site’s functionality by offering a tour.
No doubt a substantial portion of our readers could code a site tour on their own with ease, but some may even choose to use Amberjack because it’s fast and simple. It’s open source, under a GPL license now but Germany based developer Arash Yalpani says he will be switching to LGPL after discussion with initial users.
It didn’t take Yalpani long to develop but there are a number of things that would be nice to see changed. It would be nice if the tour wizard made it easy to position where the narrative boxes appear (see my example) and the grey overlay is awkward when you scroll down on a page.
None the less, it’s a handy little tool that could see extensive adoption. I’d love to get site tour links from startups seeking coverage here. It’s an easy way to walk me through what you’re doing – on my own time and without asking me to listen to stories about how you started a VC backed photo sharing site because you had so many photos of your children and pets you just didn’t know what to do. You’ve got to like projects like this one that provide good value while being easy to use.