- Users want wizards—but there are no books devoted to wizard design!
- Nuts-and-bolts guide to designing wizards
- Includes checklists and examples
- The complete guide to wizard design.
- Practical usability and design techniques for successful wizard and
All you need to know to build wizards your users will love:
- Extensive lists of questions for gathering requirements
- Iterative design and evaluation techniques
- Guidelines for general page layout, controls, and navigation
- Visual design tips and techniques for attractive and enticing wizards
- Launchpad solutions for linking wizards
- Advice for interactive feedback, error prevention, error recovery, and
- Accommodate any user—experts and novices, worldwide audiences, multiple
platforms, plus accessibility for users with special needs!
Designing Effective Wizards: A Multidisciplinary Approach is the first
"nuts and bolts" how-to guide for designing wizards that help users perform
their tasks. This book brings together key insights from a multidisciplinary
team, including usability experts, technical writers, and visual
designers—presenting a start-to-finish process for effective wizard design. The
authors identify key issues and challenges encountered during the wizard
development process, and IBM's best solutions.
- CD-ROM that contains interactive samples to help you explore the concepts
of color, typography, layout, navigation, and launchpads for wizards. It also
contains the screens from the case-study installation
- Extensive examples throughout
- A start-to-finish case study
- Practical checklists, summaries, and sample forms
Table of Contents
What's different about this book?
Is this book for you?
How to use
The authors and editor.
1. Kicking off
Why plan your project? Is a wizard appropriate
for the task? Team skills. Resources and planning. Summary.
2. Gathering requirements.
Why gather requirements? Wizard design
requirements. User definition-Who will be using your wizard? Inherent
characteristics. Experience and education. Social and cultural characteristics.
A technique for creating user definitions-User surveys. Product definition-What
will the wizard do? Purpose and scope of the wizard. Technology and tools used
to create the final wizard. A technique for gathering product requirements-Focus
groups. Task analysis-What will the user be using the wizard for? Underlying
structure of the task. Aspects of the task that can be simplified. A technique
for gathering task requirements-Task analysis. Work environment-Where, when, and
how will the users be using the wizard? Physical environment. Tools used to
access the wizard. Social or workflow-related issues. A technique for gathering
work environment-related requirements—Observational study. Competitive
evaluation—Who else is creating a similar product or wizard? Aspects and
features of competitive products or wizards. A technique for evaluating the
competition-Competitive analysis. Summary.
3. Applying the iterative design process.
Why follow the iterative design process?
Questions to ask before beginning. Overview of the iterative design process.
High-level design iterations. High-level design steps. High-level design tests.
Low-level design iterations. Low-level design steps. Low-level design tests.
Interactive prototype iterations. Interactive prototype design steps.
Interactive prototype design tests. Working product iterations. Working product
design iteration. Working product design tests. Summary of guidelines discussed
in this chapter.
4. Evaluating wizard designs.
Why evaluate wizard designs? Questions to ask
before beginning. Usability evaluation techniques. Heuristic evaluation. Design
exploration. Design evaluation. Competitive benchmark. Beta or post-release
evaluations. Tasks to prepare for usability evaluations. Determine what to test.
Recruit and schedule test participants. Prepare documents and questionnaires.
Create prototypes. Determine what measures to collect. Conduct pilot tests.
Guidelines for conducting usability evaluations. Invite the entire team to
participate quietly. Videotape the session as backup. Encourage “talking aloud”
. Don't assist the test participant. Consider testing multiple test participants
at once. Consider performing remote usability testing. Follow-up tasks for after
the usability evaluation. Follow up with thank you notes. Write a summary
report. Implement design changes based on your results. Summary of guidelines
discussed in this chapter.
5. General wizard design.
Why create wizard design guidelines? Questions
to ask before beginning. General wizard guidelines. Overall goals of the design.
Writing style. Page count. Page-specific wizard design guidelines. First page.
Last page. Guidelines for launching dialogs from wizards. Guidelines for wizards
on the Web. Summary of guidelines discussed in this chapter.
Why optimize your wizard's navigation? Questions
to ask before beginning. Navigation methods. Back and Next buttons only. Tabs.
Table of contents. Pull-down menu. Additional navigational options. Methods to
help users estimate their progress through the wizard. Where am I now and where
can I go? How do I get to the next page? Where have I been? How much do I have
left to do? Summary of guidelines discussed in this chapter.
7. Visual design.
Why does your wizard need a good visual design?
Questions to ask before beginning. Physical issues. Layout design—Defining your
grids. Window size of the wizard. Orientation. Margins. Columns. White space (a
divider and a grouping element). Web layout. Typography. Serif and legibility.
Attributes and legibility. Choosing a typeface. Color. Color facts. Color
on-screen. Using color in wizards. Color on the Web. Images. Types of images.
Resolution and color depth. Compression techniques. Image size. Semantics.
Summary of guidelines discussed in this chapter.
8. Launchpads and linking wizards.
Why link wizards? Questions to ask before
beginning. Methods of linking wizards. Launching one wizard from within another
wizard. Launching wizards from launchpads. Design issues for launchpads. The
appropriate number of steps for your launchpad. Navigation among wizards, the
launchpad, and other supporting dialogs. Dependencies between steps.
Progress-related cues. Task progress and dependency cues. Consistency between
the launchpad and its wizards. Access to your launchpad. Additional functions
that can be supported by a launchpad. Teaching the user the conceptual model of
how the product works. Supporting user exploration. Showing users how to do the
task without the launchpad. Allowing users to personalize or build their own
launchpads. Summary of guidelines discussed in this chapter.
9. Interactive feedback.
Why provide feedback? Questions to ask before
beginning. General feedback guidelines. Auditory feedback. Feedback while
interacting with the wizard. Feedback for controls. Feedback for subtasks
related to the wizard. Feedback at the completion of the wizard. Progress
indicators. Billboards. Status line. Confirmation dialogs. Displaying the object
that your wizard created. Summary of guidelines discussed in this chapter.
10. Error prevention and recovery.
Why predict, prevent, and recover from errors?
Questions to ask before beginning. Predicting errors. Preventing and reducing
errors. All categories of user error. Data entry errors. Missing data errors.
Misinterpretations of wizard choices. User-is-stuck errors. User-is-mistaken
errors. Incorrect wizard assumptions. Other system errors. Recovering from
errors. Inform the user that an error occurred. Help the user fix the error.
Avoid all destructive actions. Allow users to cancel and reverse actions.
Summary of guidelines discussed in this chapter.
11. On-line help.
Why provide help? Questions to ask before
beginning. Should you provide help for your wizard? Types of help. Control-level
help. Conceptual help. Task help. Implementing help. Pop-up help. Smartfields.
Help dialogs. On-line books. Summary of guidelines discussed in this chapter.
12. Experts and novices.
Why design wizards for both experts and novices?
Questions to ask before beginning. Designs that support experts and novices.
Integrating expert and novice functions in wizards. Separating expert and novice
functions in wizards. Guidelines for supporting experts. Provide access keys and
shortcut keys. Show expert commands. Summary of guidelines discussed in this
Why design for accessibility? Questions to ask
before beginning. Types of disabilities. Mobility limitations and limited hand
use. Cognitive disabilities. Deaf and hard of hearing. Vision impairments.
Speech or language disabilities. Combinations. Understanding users with
disabilities. Assistive technologies. Screen readers and Web page readers.
Screen magnifiers. Speech recognition systems. Specialized keyboards and
keyboard aids. Accessibility guidelines. Implement accessibility APIs. Provide
accessible names and descriptions. Support easy keyboard and mouse navigation.
Provide equivalent alternatives to auditory and visual content. Use redundant
cues in your display. Avoid blinking text and flashing objects. Supply
orientation and contextual information. Allow user personalization and
customization. Design screens that resize cleanly and support older
technologies. Provide accessible documentation. Additional sources for
guidelines and information. Summary of guidelines discussed in this chapter.
14. Worldwide audiences.
Why design for a worldwide audience? Questions
to ask before beginning. Localization versus internationalization. Content
translation. Write text that is easily translatable into other languages.
Support different word orders across languages. Allow the user to select and
change the default language for your wizard. Ensure that your first wizard page
is well-translated. Consider providing links to another language version.
Account for regional differences in the wizard task. Layout translation. Leave
room on the wizard pages for expansion. Provide scroll bars and resizable panes.
Input translation. Take advantage of the operating system's resource base.
Account for regional differences in names and other words. Use unambiguous
controls for date and time formats. Support flexible formatting for numbers,
monetary formats, and currency symbols. Account for differences in other data.
Graphics for worldwide audiences. Create graphics that are understandable across
cultures. Use representative populations. Use checkmarks instead of Xs in check
boxes. Limit the file size and color depth of your graphics. Choose colors
carefully. Practical concerns. Installation and packaging. Schedule. Sending
files for translation. Summary of guidelines discussed in this chapter.
15. Multiple platforms.
Why design for multiple platforms? Questions to
ask before beginning. Visual and interface design—Product consistency versus
platform consistency. Option 1: Build a unique design. Option 2: Use the
features provided by an off-the-shelf solution. Option 3: Emulate an existing
platform design. Option 4: Work with a Web browser. Appearance and behavior
different browsers and browser versions. Text across platforms. Summary of
guidelines discussed in this chapter.
16. Case study: Installation wizard.
Gathering requirements. User definition. Product
definition. Task analysis. Design considerations. General design. Navigation.
Launchpads. Feedback. Error prevention and recovery. On-line help. Worldwide
audiences. Iterative design and evaluation. Launchpad: Welcome. Message 1:
Missing prerequisites. Software License Agreement. Select Installation Language.
Page 1: Select Installation Type. Page 2: Select Components. Message 2: Previous
version of product detected. Page 3: Choose Destination Location. Page 4: “Up
and running” . Page 5: Summary. Progress indicator: Installing products.
Billboards. Confirmation window: Setup Complete.
Appendix A. Worksheet for gathering requirements.
Appendix B. Sample
Appendix C. Sample screener questionnaire.
Sample usability participant agreement.
Appendix E. Sample participant
Appendix F. Sample scenarios for an installation wizard.
Appendix G. Sample post-evaluation questionnaire.