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All you need to know to build wizards your users will love:
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.
This is a "nuts and bolts" how-to guide that will help readers understand how to design wizards for software applications. It will also address the different roles and skills needed throughout the wizard design cycle. The book will contain a CD-ROM with valuable case studies and interactive examples.
This chapter provides you with a guide to the essential factors of a wizard development project to help ensure that your project stays exciting and concludes successfully.
Chapter 2, "Gathering requirements," describes task analyses, which are methods to help you collect this information from your target audience. However, your team should have some idea of the answers to these questions before you begin your project.
To build an effective wizard, your team needs the following members or members with the following skills:
Many books on user interface design focus on a single aspect of design, such as how to create graphics for an interface or how to evaluate designs. For large software projects, this makes sense because you will most likely have different people assigned to specific design roles and activities. However, for smaller design projects, such as wizards, you are unlikely to have as many people, but you still require all the skills of a multidisciplinary team.
Designing Effective Wizards is a guide to help readers design, evaluate, and construct wizards for software products. It outlines processes and provides guidelines and methods to help experienced and inexperienced designers and developers approach the challenge of building a wizard given the broad range of specialized skills required. Many of the issues and guidelines discussed in this book can be applied to all software design projects.
This book takes a multidisciplinary approach to software wizard design. The authors are a multidisciplinary team consisting of human factors specialists, a visual designer, and a technical writer. We have several years of experience developing products and wizards for worldwide audiences, for complex products, and across multiple platforms. Based on our experiences, we have identified the guidelines and methods that we feel are key to effective wizard design. We provide practical examples, lots of graphics, and checklists. We hope that you find our approach useful, comprehensive, and easy to follow.
If you are a human factors engineer, visual designer, software developer, or technical writer, or if you want to understand what each field does-yes, this book is for you. If you are about to create a wizard, then this book will be of direct interest to you. However, even if you are not creating a wizard in the near future, wizard design is a good case study for other types of software projects.
We think this book will be useful if you are a:
This book consists of three main sections. The first section describes the general process for designing wizards-forming a team, estimating your available resources, gathering requirements, and designing and evaluating your wizards. The second section provides guidelines and issues for specific aspects of wizards-general design, navigation, visual design, error prevention, on-line help, multiple platforms, and so on. The third section provides a case study to show you how to apply the guidelines to design a fictional wizard. You can read the book from beginning to end or simply hone in on the chapters of interest, such as the chapter on visual design.
As you read this book, consider your role on the design team. Target the focus of your reading to the chapters that apply to your tasks first, then to the team as a whole. Each chapter contains a topic introduction, a section explaining why the topic is important, a section that lists the questions to answer before you begin, the main sections related to the chapter topic, and a summary of guidelines discussed in the chapter. Table x-1 lists the major topics of this book and their corresponding chapters.
|Process for designing wizards|
|How to build your team, evaluate whether you should create a wizard, and plan your project||Chapter 1, "Kicking off the project"|
|How to gather user and task requirements||Chapter 2, "Gathering requirements"|
|How to use the iterative design process to design an effective wizard||Chapter 3, "Applying the iterative design process"|
|How to conduct usability evaluations of your wizard||Chapter 4, "Evaluating wizard designs"|
|Guidelines and issues for specific aspects of wizards|
|Guidelines and issues for design, including general layout, page areas, controls, visual design, navigation, and linking wizards||Chapter 5, "General wizard design"
Chapter 6, "Navigation"
Chapter 7, "Visual design"
Chapter 8, "Launchpads and linking wizards"
|Guidelines and issues for interacting with users via wizard feedback and messages, error prevention, and on-line help||Chapter 9, "Interactive feedback"
Chapter 10, "Error prevention and recovery"
Chapter 11, "On-line help"
|Guidelines and issues to accommodate specific users, including expert and novice users, users with special needs, worldwide audiences, and users on various platforms||Chapter 12, "Experts and novices"
Chapter 13, "Accessibility"
Chapter 14, "Worldwide audiences"
Chapter 15, "Multiple platforms"
|Fictional wizard designed using guidelines in this book||Chapter 16, "Case study: Installation wizard"|
The appendixes provide sample documents that you can use to simplify the process of gathering requirements and conducting usability evaluations of your wizard:
The interactive CD-ROM contains samples to help you explore concepts of color, layout,typography, navigation, and launchpads for wizards. It also contains the screens from the case study wizard.
Daina Pupons Wickham has a Masters degree in Industrial Engineering with an emphasis on Human Factors. She is a Human Factors Specialist at IBM's Silicon Valley Lab in San Jose, CA. Daina has spent over 1000 hours conducting usability tests for products ranging from games to educational software to banking Web sites to databases. She has taught classes for graduate and undergraduate students. Daina has authored and co-authored papers presented at various professional conferences, including the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society, and ACM's Special Interest Group on Computer Human Interaction. In addition, Daina has several patents filed for her launchpad and wizard designs.
Dr. Debra L. Mayhew has a Ph.D. in Ergonomics from North Carolina State University. She is a Human Factors Specialist at IBM's Silicon Valley Laboratory in San Jose, CA and has designed, coded, and tested wizards for five years and general software products for 19 years. Over the years, Debra has administered usability tests to hundreds of users. Debra has several patents filed for launchpad and wizard designs. She has authored papers on gathering user definitions and task requirements, usability design processes, and speech recognition systems. Recently, Debra led a multidisciplinary team to create a set of consistency guidelines for wizards used across IBM data management products.
Teresa Stoll is an Interface Visual Designer at IBM's Silicon Valley Laboratory in San Jose, CA. She is a member of IBM's Visual Design Board of Directors, and oversees the visual design of IBM's award-winning DB2 workstation database product. Teresa holds a Bachelors degree in Graphics Communication from Universidad Autonoma Metropolitana-Atzcapotzalco. She has five years of experience in interface visual design, and has a colorful resume, which includes seven years in the film industry and eight years in corporate identity and editorial design and multimedia. Teresa has co-authored papers and filed patents on launchpad designs.
Kenneth June Toley III has a Bachelor of Science degree in Technical Writing from Carnegie Mellon University. Ken is a Technical Writer at IBM's Silicon Valley Laboratory in San Jose, CA. He has designed and tested on-line help systems and Web pages, and assisted in wizard and dialog interface design for various products, ranging from databases to distance learning software. In addition, Ken has designed and coded multimedia tools.
Shannon Rouiller has a Bachelor of Science degree in Mathematics from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. Shannon has over 14 years of experience writing and editing technical information, including books, on-line help, wizards, and product interfaces for worldwide products. Shannon is a Technical Editor at IBM's Silicon Valley Laboratory, where she also worked on the team to create wizard guidelines for IBM data management products. Shannon has published articles on on-line help and is a co-author of the award-winning Developing Quality Technical Information, Prentice Hall, 1998.