Hotspots are static onboarding elements that can exhibit near at hand information about any item of your product.
You can think of a hotspot as an asynchronous box presenting its informative content on demand.
Hotspots do not block user interaction; thus, they do not sacrifice the sense of discovery.
For example, to acclimatize new users with your UI, you can attract attention to specific elements with a series of pulsing hotspots.
They can be definitive, explanatory, or even humorous and utilized to remove the guesswork from any user experience subtly.
On the other hand, guides are dynamic onboarding flows playing interactive parts within the user experience. They educate users on the go, thereby serving users the resources they need to resolve their questions.
Compared to the asynchronous hotspots, guides are in motion. In other words, once a guide is started, the user should finish or drop this flow.
With guides, you can create product tours and show your users the most important features. In this use case, the primary purpose can be defined as making users understand the lay of the land.
You can also guide people concurrently with the help of successive, action-driven steps for them to achieve a specific goal.
With hotspots and guides, you can support end-users at the right time and cushion their eventual frustration considerably.