Corrected post: Wizard Navigation to manage a long process -

19 Jun 2007 - 2:55pm
7 years ago
6 replies
681 reads
Mark Richman
2006

I am building an application that requires the user to go through at least
one very time-consuming step. This step is somewhat akin to building a
complex org chart, and such, the user might want to perform intermediate
saves during it. However, this is only the first of the 4 or 5 steps that
the user must accomplish before the task is complete, and the purpose of
a button that simply reads 'Save' is not as clear as I would like, since I
want to direct the user to the next step of the application when they
complete this piece.

My company wishes to use a wizard to drive the user through the process --
and I think this is a good idea since it is not something most users will do
very often. More likely, they will struggle through it once, refine it, and
not touch it again for another six months, at which time they will need to
be reimmersed in the process. So some good handholding is a requisite.

How have other designers designed navigation buttons when a process included
a difficult and time-consuming step? One solution that seems plausible is to
have both a 'Save' and a 'Next' button, where 'Save' would perform an
intermediate save, while 'Next' would save and move to the next step.
However, since 'Next' doesn't explicitly state a save, a message might be
needed to let the user know for sure that his work has been saved -- and I
want to avoid making the user read more than she needs to.

Another option might be to call the buttons 'Save Only' and 'Save and
Continue'; wordy but more to the point.

As you can see, I am spinning my wheels. Any ideas? While a wizard might not
be the only solution, a lot of handholding will be needed here and it seems
like a good chocie to me.

Thanks,

Mark Richman
Intelliverse

Comments

19 Jun 2007 - 9:51pm
Prachi Sakhardande
2007

Hi Mark,

I just worked on a similar application, however this one is used more
frequently, almost on a day-to-day basis
The buttons I have used are 'Save Draft' and 'Next'. While 'Save Draft' does
an explicit save, clicking 'Next' is akin to Save and Continue. I dont
inform the users that the 'Save' has happened when they click 'Next', but if
for some reason, they were to close the application and return at a later
time, the unfinished instance would be sitting in the 'Drafts' in the
dashboard. This may not be obvious for first time users, but from the second
time onwards, they would know that the 'Save' is automatically happening on
clicking 'Next'.

Another thought: What about a small 'Saving Data...' script after the user
clicks 'Next' and before the 'Next' step loads?

regards
Prachi

On 6/20/07, Mark Richman <markjrichman at gmail.com> wrote:
>
> I am building an application that requires the user to go through at least
> one very time-consuming step. This step is somewhat akin to building a
> complex org chart, and such, the user might want to perform intermediate
> saves during it. However, this is only the first of the 4 or 5 steps that
> the user must accomplish before the task is complete, and the purpose of
> a button that simply reads 'Save' is not as clear as I would like, since I
> want to direct the user to the next step of the application when they
> complete this piece.
>
> My company wishes to use a wizard to drive the user through the process --
> and I think this is a good idea since it is not something most users will
> do
> very often. More likely, they will struggle through it once, refine it,
> and
> not touch it again for another six months, at which time they will need to
> be reimmersed in the process. So some good handholding is a requisite.
>
> How have other designers designed navigation buttons when a process
> included
> a difficult and time-consuming step? One solution that seems plausible is
> to
> have both a 'Save' and a 'Next' button, where 'Save' would perform an
> intermediate save, while 'Next' would save and move to the next step.
> However, since 'Next' doesn't explicitly state a save, a message might be
> needed to let the user know for sure that his work has been saved -- and I
> want to avoid making the user read more than she needs to.
>
> Another option might be to call the buttons 'Save Only' and 'Save and
> Continue'; wordy but more to the point.
>
> As you can see, I am spinning my wheels. Any ideas? While a wizard might
> not
> be the only solution, a lot of handholding will be needed here and it
> seems
> like a good chocie to me.
>
> Thanks,
>
> Mark Richman
> Intelliverse
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> List Guidelines ............ http://listguide.ixda.org/
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>

--
cheers,
Prachi

20 Jun 2007 - 7:38am
Shekhar P Bagawde
2007

Hi,
I don't know if this would be a good solution as such: but if you are using
gmail and composing a mail - you have three choices (as buttons) 'Send',
'Save Now' and 'Discard'.
Earlier, when you would compose a mail, there was an auto-save-as-draft kind
of feature. the mail was saved as a draft automatically (without any
page-refresh).
A message was displayed - 'Message saved'. This feature is now replaced with
the button 'Save Now', may be they changed it after some user testing or so.

There is a good article on 'Wizards' at -
http://www.boxesandarrows.com/view/wizards_and_guides_principles_of_task_flow_for_web_applications_part_2
(by Bob Baxley on 2004/02/25)

On 6/19/07, Prachi Sakhardande <prachisakhardande at gmail.com > wrote:
>
> Hi Mark,
>
> I just worked on a similar application, however this one is used more
> frequently, almost on a day-to-day basis
> The buttons I have used are 'Save Draft' and 'Next'. While 'Save Draft'
> does
> an explicit save, clicking 'Next' is akin to Save and Continue. I dont
> inform the users that the 'Save' has happened when they click 'Next', but
> if
> for some reason, they were to close the application and return at a later
> time, the unfinished instance would be sitting in the 'Drafts' in the
> dashboard. This may not be obvious for first time users, but from the
> second
> time onwards, they would know that the 'Save' is automatically happening
> on
> clicking 'Next'.
>
> Another thought: What about a small 'Saving Data...' script after the user
>
> clicks 'Next' and before the 'Next' step loads?
>
> regards
> Prachi
>
>
> On 6/20/07, Mark Richman <markjrichman at gmail.com> wrote:
> >
> > I am building an application that requires the user to go through at
> least
> > one very time-consuming step. This step is somewhat akin to building a
> > complex org chart, and such, the user might want to perform intermediate
>
> > saves during it. However, this is only the first of the 4 or 5 steps
> that
> > the user must accomplish before the task is complete, and the purpose of
> > a button that simply reads 'Save' is not as clear as I would like, since
> I
> > want to direct the user to the next step of the application when they
> > complete this piece.
> >
> > My company wishes to use a wizard to drive the user through the process
> --
> > and I think this is a good idea since it is not something most users
> will
> > do
> > very often. More likely, they will struggle through it once, refine it,
> > and
> > not touch it again for another six months, at which time they will need
> to
> > be reimmersed in the process. So some good handholding is a requisite.
> >
> > How have other designers designed navigation buttons when a process
> > included
> > a difficult and time-consuming step? One solution that seems plausible
> is
> > to
> > have both a 'Save' and a 'Next' button, where 'Save' would perform an
> > intermediate save, while 'Next' would save and move to the next step.
> > However, since 'Next' doesn't explicitly state a save, a message might
> be
> > needed to let the user know for sure that his work has been saved -- and
> I
> > want to avoid making the user read more than she needs to.
> >
> > Another option might be to call the buttons 'Save Only' and 'Save and
> > Continue'; wordy but more to the point.
> >
> > As you can see, I am spinning my wheels. Any ideas? While a wizard might
> > not
> > be the only solution, a lot of handholding will be needed here and it
> > seems
> > like a good chocie to me.
> >
> > Thanks,
> >
> > Mark Richman
> > Intelliverse
> > ________________________________________________________________
> > Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> > To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> > List Guidelines ............ http://listguide.ixda.org/
> > List Help .................. http://listhelp.ixda.org/
> > (Un)Subscription Options ... http://subscription-options.ixda.org/
> > Announcements List ......... http://subscribe-announce.ixda.org/
> > Questions .................. lists at ixda.org
> > Home ....................... http://ixda.org/
> > Resource Library ........... http://resources.ixda.org
> >
>
>
>
> --
> cheers,
> Prachi
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> List Guidelines ............ http://listguide.ixda.org/
> List Help .................. http://listhelp.ixda.org/
> (Un)Subscription Options ... http://subscription-options.ixda.org/
> Announcements List ......... http://subscribe-announce.ixda.org/
> Questions .................. lists at ixda.org
> Home ....................... http://ixda.org/
> Resource Library ........... http://resources.ixda.org
>

--
cheers,
Shekhar

20 Jun 2007 - 8:20am
Calvin Park 박상빈
2007

Yearly FAFSA(federal loan/grant application for students) comes to my
mind when you say "More likely, they will struggle through it once,
refine it, and not touch it again for another six months".

One unique implementation of FAFSA's online application was that,
every time you pressed "save", your data is saved and *you are logged
out*. This may annoy many users and sometimes put some to panic.
However this has some good sides to it.

1. It forces the users to log in again and see that their data is
intact. Since nobody really trusts web apps that they have never seen,
users run into questions like "okay, it says it's saved but it is
really really saved? how *saved* is it? saved to the session? saved to
cache? saved on the server?" and most importantly, "will I ever see
this data again?". Re-log in precedure is not that painful, and that
extra step gives peace of mind to the user.

2. In case of a disaster where the save function fails, the failure is
alerted at the first save since the user will notice that their data
is gone when they log back in. This is far superior than a model which
keeps telling the user that their data is secure, but loses everything
in the end. Should it fail, fail quickly.

Of course, these ideas can't be implemented directly to your situation
and must be refined to fit your needs.

2 cents.

On 6/20/07, Mark Richman <markjrichman at gmail.com> wrote:
> I am building an application that requires the user to go through at least
> one very time-consuming step. This step is somewhat akin to building a
> complex org chart, and such, the user might want to perform intermediate
> saves during it. However, this is only the first of the 4 or 5 steps that
> the user must accomplish before the task is complete, and the purpose of
> a button that simply reads 'Save' is not as clear as I would like, since I
> want to direct the user to the next step of the application when they
> complete this piece.
>
> My company wishes to use a wizard to drive the user through the process --
> and I think this is a good idea since it is not something most users will do
> very often. More likely, they will struggle through it once, refine it, and
> not touch it again for another six months, at which time they will need to
> be reimmersed in the process. So some good handholding is a requisite.
>
> How have other designers designed navigation buttons when a process included
> a difficult and time-consuming step? One solution that seems plausible is to
> have both a 'Save' and a 'Next' button, where 'Save' would perform an
> intermediate save, while 'Next' would save and move to the next step.
> However, since 'Next' doesn't explicitly state a save, a message might be
> needed to let the user know for sure that his work has been saved -- and I
> want to avoid making the user read more than she needs to.
>
> Another option might be to call the buttons 'Save Only' and 'Save and
> Continue'; wordy but more to the point.
>
> As you can see, I am spinning my wheels. Any ideas? While a wizard might not
> be the only solution, a lot of handholding will be needed here and it seems
> like a good chocie to me.
>
> Thanks,
>
> Mark Richman
> Intelliverse
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> List Guidelines ............ http://listguide.ixda.org/
> List Help .................. http://listhelp.ixda.org/
> (Un)Subscription Options ... http://subscription-options.ixda.org/
> Announcements List ......... http://subscribe-announce.ixda.org/
> Questions .................. lists at ixda.org
> Home ....................... http://ixda.org/
> Resource Library ........... http://resources.ixda.org
>

21 Jun 2007 - 5:23pm
Lorne Trudeau
2006

How about "Save Checkpoint"? To me that implies that the data is
saved and that you must still continue along the path.

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Posted from the new ixda.org
http://beta.ixda.org/discuss?post=17393

25 Jun 2007 - 8:56am
DrWex
2006

On 6/21/07, Lorne Trudeau <lorne.trudeau at number41media.com> wrote:
> How about "Save Checkpoint"? To me that implies that the data is
> saved and that you must still continue along the path.

For a strong implementation of this you can look at the various
tax-preparation software programs. This is a task most people do one
(or maybe four) times a year. The software I'm familiar with offers
three methods:
- recommendation to the user to save often
- auto-save, sometimes with a pop-up box showing that the save is being done
- explicit save checkpoint "pages" within the flow. (I didn't test to
see if these pages always appear or if they're sensitive to the save
state of the app.)

That may be overkill for some apps but it's worth considering as an
endpoint on a possible design spectrum.

--Alan

27 Jun 2007 - 9:36am
Mark Richman
2006

Thanks Alan, Lorne and others.

funny that you mentioned the tax programs as the marketing director
here thought just mentioned Turbo Tax to me as an app that uses a
very similar model.

I am planning to use 'Save Draft', 'Next' and 'Cancel' buttons
and hopefully will shake it out with some more testing when we go
into beta.

Mark

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://beta.ixda.org/discuss?post=17393

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