Designing Effective Wizards: A Multidisciplinary Approach

Daina Pupons Wickham, Debra L. Mayhew, Teresa Stoll, Kenneth June Toley III, Shannon Rouiller



  • 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 software projects

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 on-line help
  • 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 this book.
The authors and editor.
1. Kicking off the project.

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.

6. Navigation.

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 chapter.

13. Accessibility.

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 differences across platforms. Platform and environment nuances. JavaScript in 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 design checklist.
Appendix C. Sample screener questionnaire.
Appendix D. Sample usability participant agreement.
Appendix E. Sample participant instructions.
Appendix F. Sample scenarios for an installation wizard.
Appendix G. Sample post-evaluation questionnaire.


  • 使用者希望有向導,但目前沒有專門討論向導設計的書籍!

  • 設計向導的實用指南

  • 包含檢查清單和範例

  • 完整的向導設計指南

  • 成功的向導和軟體專案的實用可用性和設計技巧


  • 收集需求的廣泛問題清單

  • 迭代設計和評估技巧

  • 一般頁面佈局、控制和導航的指南

  • 吸引人且誘人的向導的視覺設計技巧

  • 連結向導的啟動解決方案

  • 互動反饋、錯誤預防、錯誤恢復和線上說明的建議

  • 滿足任何使用者的需求-專家和新手、全球觀眾、多個平台,以及特殊需求使用者的可訪問性!



  • CD-ROM,其中包含互動樣本,以幫助您探索顏色、字體、佈局、導航和向導的啟動應用。它還包含案例研究安裝的螢幕

  • 豐富的範例

  • 從頭到尾的案例研究

  • 實用的檢查清單、摘要和樣本表單








1. 啟動專案。


2. 收集需求。


3. 應用迭代設計流程。