Java TM Look and Feel Design Guidelines: Advanced Topics > Part II: Special Topics > 7: Wizards > Designing Installation Wizards   Previous Next Contents/Index/Search


Designing Installation Wizards

One of the tasks for which wizards are most frequently used is installing software. Although such installation wizards vary widely, all well-designed installation wizards share these characteristics:

  • They are easy for users to locate and start.
  • They provide all the information that users need to decide whether to install the software.
  • They enable users to perform installation tasks completely, without exiting the wizard.

Choosing a Location for a Wizard's Code

The correct location for an installation wizard's executable code depends on whether the installation medium is portable--whether it is intended to be easily moved from one computer to another.

 If your installation wizard is intended to run from a portable medium, such as a CD-ROM, store the wizard at highest-level directory of that medium.

 If your wizard is for installing an application whose installation files are on a hard disk, store the wizard at the highest-level directory of the application's installation files.

Helping Users Decide Whether to Install

Installation wizards should provide the following information to help users decide whether to proceed with an installation:

  • The version of the software that the wizard installs and, if that version is not final and supported, a description such as Beta Release or Unsupported Release.
  • Pre-installation requirements, for example, the minimum hardware required.
  • Dependencies on other software that can affect the installation and later use of the software being installed.
  • Descriptions of the software modules available for installation.
  • The amount of disk space needed for the installation.
  • The location of a log file of actions taken during the installation.
  • A list of files that were modified or deleted by the installation.

Tasks That Installation Wizards Should Handle

In addition to describing prerequisites, dependences, and results, installation wizards should enable users to perform the following tasks:

  • Choose between a typical installation and a customized installation.
  • Install one or more modules of the software that can work independently of modules not installed.
  • Choose the directory in which the software will be installed.
  • Reinstall the software without losing data or application preferences.

Java Look and Feel Design Guidelines: Advanced Topics.
Copyright 2001. Sun Microsystems, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
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