Java TM Look and Feel Design Guidelines: Advanced Topics > Part II: Special Topics > 7: Wizards > Types of Wizard Pages   Previous Next Contents/Index/Search


 

Types of Wizard Pages

Wizards include two or more pages for collecting a user's input and can include the following supplementary pages:

  • Overview
  • Requirements
  • Confirmation
  • Progress
  • Summary

This section describes each type of wizard page. For information on laying out wizard pages, see Designing Wizard Pages. For information on designing the behavior of wizards, see Designing Wizard Behavior.

User-Input Pages

User-input pages enable users to customize how a wizard performs its task. Each wizard has at least two user-input pages and can have as many such pages as are needed for the task. In general, it is better for a wizard to have several simple user-input pages than to have a few very complex ones.

Figure 69 shows a typical user-input page.

Figure 69   User-Input Page of a Wizard

 

A wizard's usability depends on the usability of its user-input pages. The usability of those pages depends on the clarity of their text. The text should state:

  • Which information the wizard needs from users
  • How users should format the information
  • What the wizard will do as a result of a user's responses

 Ensure that the text of user-input pages follows the conventions of good technical writing. Ask your team's technical writers or editors to help you write the text of your wizard's pages.

Overview Page

An overview page provides a brief introduction to the wizard and its steps. Typically, an overview page is needed only in very complex wizards or in wizards that do not display a list of steps in their pages. Figure 70 shows an overview page.

Figure 70   Overview Page of a Wizard

 

An overview page can help users determine whether a wizard meets their needs. In addition, an overview page can inform users about potential effects of using the wizard--for example, about either:

  • The estimated duration of steps in the wizard
  • Wizard operations that might significantly change a user's computer system

 Create an overview page as the first page of a wizard under any of the following conditions: The wizard is complex; the wizard's left pane does not display a list of steps; or the wizard takes actions that might affect a user's system in unexpected ways.

Requirements Page

Some wizards have prerequisites that can make users abandon the wizard--typically, to gather more information or to perform additional tasks. Examples of such prerequisites are:

  • Software that must be installed before starting the wizard
  • A license number that must be entered before the wizard can complete its task

If your wizard will need information that a user might not have at the moment, notify the user by displaying a requirements page immediately after the overview page or as the first page of the wizard.

Figure 71 show a requirements page.

Figure 71   Requirements Page of a Wizard

 

Make sure that users can view the requirements page before they begin to use your wizard. (For information relating to the requirements page of installation wizards, see Helping Users Decide Whether to Install.)

 If a wizard requires information or preconditions that might not be available when it starts, display a requirements page as the first page of the wizard or immediately after the overview page, if there is one.

Confirmation Page

A confirmation page shows all the data that the wizard has collected and provides information about the actions the wizard is about to take. Most wizards, except short ones, require a confirmation page.

Figure 72 shows a confirmation page.

Figure 72   Confirmation Page of a Wizard

 

A confirmation page can contain information such as:

  • A concise listing of the data that a user has entered in prior pages.
  • The set of actions that the wizard will perform upon leaving this page (beyond creating an object with the parameters specified by the user's data).
  • How the wizard will modify a user's system.
  • Where the wizard will place items, such as in the installation directory.
  • The amount of disk space that the wizard's actions use and how much disk space will remain after the actions are complete.
  • An estimate of how long the wizard's actions will take.

 Provide a confirmation page for all wizards with more than three pages of user input.

Progress Pages

A progress page provides feedback to users about the progress of a wizard's current operation. Figure 73 shows a typical progress page.

Figure 73   Progress Page of a Wizard

 

A progress page has the same basic layout as other types of wizard pages--for example, its right pane has a subtitle, and its bottom pane has navigation buttons. The right pane of a progress page also contains a progress bar or a progress checklist that reflects the state of the wizard's current operation.

In addition to providing feedback, a typical progress page enables users stop the wizard's current operation by clicking the right pane's Stop button, as shown in Figure 73.

Clicking the right pane's Stop button is not equivalent to clicking the bottom pane's Cancel button (which cancels the wizard). On progress pages, the Cancel button is unavailable until a user clicks the Stop button. (For more information on the Cancel button, see Designing the Bottom Pane. For information on the Stop button in progress pages, see Providing Operational Feedback in Wizards.)

A wizard should display a progress page for each potentially time-consuming operation that the wizard performs. (For more information about providing feedback in wizards, see Providing Operational Feedback in Wizards.)

Summary Page

The summary page is an optional page that summarizes the work the wizard has performed and lists any actions users should take after closing the wizard. For example, the summary page can display an error log file, display a list of the files that have been updated, or explain how to access the software that has just been installed.

Figure 74 shows a summary page.

Figure 74   Summary Page of a Wizard

 

A summary page differs from a confirmation page. A confirmation page prepares users for the work that the wizard is about to perform and provides an opportunity for users to make changes. A summary page summarizes work that has been performed.

 Provide a summary page if a wizard has generated additional information that a user might want to examine after the task is completed.


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