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SH Ramlet <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
SH Ramlet <[log in to unmask]>
Wed, 11 Mar 2009 12:01:59 -0500
text/plain (79 lines)
This is a great question, and relevant to recent discussions we've had in my

In a current implementation, our testing really confirmed that a "step" is
open for interpretation, depending on the application. We have approximately
eleven steps in one of our processes, but we are presenting it to the user
as six steps, for several reasons. Mainly:

   - We are working a very complex process with a non-expert user base and
   need to convey simplicity up front
   - We are constrained to present the "breadcrumb" navigation across the
   top, so we're limited

I think there are several factors that need to be considered:

   - Is this an expert user application or not?
   - Are you trying to communicate how easy it is, or simply what needs to
   be done?
   - How much real estate do you have to present the step "breadcrumb" if
   you are using one?
   - How much real estate do you have to present the actual screens of step
   - How does validation need to happen? We re-worked some steps to make
   that better.
   - How does the user view help inside each screen? That may inform the
   decision for complexity or simplicity of each "step".

The model that comes up time and time again is Turbotax, and how  it is able
to walk non-expert users through complex processes.

Bottom line is: could the user get through the process without being
frustrated? Did the test pass your usability goals (which are likely
something like task completion and user satisfaction)? Or is this one
opinion of one person who would like to offer helpful suggestions for
design? We get lots of comments during usability tests and have to be clear
that, while we are always open for better design ideas, one person's opinion
is just that. If you have the luxury of wireframing the alternative flow and
re-testing that with the same set of users, that might provide you
interesting data about which they preferred or which led to quicker task

That's at least our experience in this one case--but you don't describe much
about your specific application, which might help give better context.

Susan Ramlet
Usability Engineer

On Wed, Mar 11, 2009 at 8:29 AM, Hal Shubin <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> You're designing a wizard in a Web app. <snip>
> I just ran a study where one person was vocal about wanting one step/one
> page. I don't think it mattered much to the others. Other observations?
> thanks                          -- hs
> . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
> Hal Shubin
> Interaction Design, Inc.
> 617 489 6595
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