Wizards for Setup Pages
Kellie Mecham

Q: For setup pages which are generally only used for getting started, do you recommend wizards to guide the user through the steps?

Wizards are very useful in some circumstances, but can be very annoying to users in others. When deciding on whether wizards are the right approach, consider the experience and skill sets of the users who will be responsible for setup pages.

If the users of the system you are developing regularly configure and set up similar systems, then a wizard approach, which usually takes more time and chunks data into smaller subsets, may annoy and frustrate those who just want to check boxes for preferences and get started using the system.

If, however, users of your system will have to make fairly complex choices that include words and preferences that they may not be familiar with, a wizard may be the best choice.

Other considerations include the length of the setup pages. If a setup page is really only one or two pages, it might be best to keep the information short and provide appropriate within-page links to more help.