What is Variance?

Variance is a new approach to how companies interact with their tools. Think of how YouTube crushed the instruction manual—we want to change the way organizations work by helping them ensure process is baked into the experience of all the software they use. We do this with our Variance application, which sits in the browser on top of tools like Salesforce, Zendesk, Datadog, and Jira (amongst others), allowing you to ensure everyone is on the same page, in the context of the applications they live in every day.

How does it work?

The Variance experience is primarily delivered via a Chrome extension that users can install individually or can be pushed out org-wide. This approach allows us to work with your applications without you needing to authenticate us against those apps. That means better security and privacy for you as well as a much smoother experience of getting started (all you have to do is let us know which apps you want to use). Here's a quick walkthrough:

Getting to know Guides

The primary way people interact with Variance is through Guides. Guides can be set up to be both push (triggered automatically when a user visits a specific page or performs a certain action) or pull (chosen by the user from the Overlay). Guides are made up of cards and are there to help add context and drive action within an application. Here’s a guide that automatically comes up when someone clicks into the stage field in a new opportunity (users can always choose to opt-out once they understand).

Guides can be triggered based on the interaction on the page or the loading of the page itself, as in this example from Datadog:

In addition, guides can interact with elements on the page using Highlights (as seen in the GIF above).

Building Guides

The primary mode of interaction with Variance will be in building guides for your team (you can also make this available to anyone else in your organization). To do that, we have designed a Guide Builder that tries to simplify the process as much as possible while keeping as much of the power as possible. When you’re in an application that you’ve registered with Variance, you’ll see a little Gold V down in the lower-left corner. We call that the Dot.

When you click the Dot, you’ll open the Overlay. This is the main interface into Variance for both team leads and members. In the interface, you’ll see a few things:

  1. Shortcuts: these are shared bookmarks you can set up for your team
  2. Guides: this is the full list of Guides

Here’s a slightly longer view into Guide Building:

One of the things you’ll notice when building a guide is that there are a number of Guide Types to choose from:

This is meant to make it as easy as possible to get started. You can find more detail on how all the different Guide Types work on our Guide Types help page.

Consuming Guides

For your team, their primary way of interfacing with Variance will also be through guides, but they will be consumers, not builders. For them, it’s easy: once you’ve added guides, they should be in all the places they need when they need them. Any guides that are Triggered allow them to opt-out once they understand.

They will always be able to find Guides in the Overlay Guide list or via Search.

The Overlay

Finally, because we’ve shown it a few times without explaining it explicitly, the Overlay is available for all users. Beyond being the central place you can find Guides and jump to Shortcuts, it also features your recent items (for Salesforce these include recent opportunities, contacts, and accounts) and Search, which allows you to easily jump to a Guide (as shown above) or even just return to an Opportunity you were working on. Search can be opened anywhere on the web by just clicking command+shift+space.

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