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GUI Design: Wizards–Blessing or Curse?

Wizards have been used to help users complete complicated setup and/or other tasks that require more information than can be easily understood or laid out on a single panel. By breaking up the details and gathering information step by step across multiple panels the user is more likely to not become overwhelmed as the application gathers all the details needed to complete the task. Sometimes it’s not necessarily the task that is complicated, but rather the GUI itself that is ill-designed and makes the task more complicated than needed. A wizard is seen as a remedy for this situation, but it may only help in the short-term. MICROSOFT® OUTLOOK® EXPRESS SETUP WIZARD Quite a few years ago I tried out Microsoft Outlook Express and discovered that it has a setup Wizard that launches … Read entire article »

Filed under: Controls, Featured, GUI Design, Mistakes

GUI Design: Dialog Assault

We have all had the experience of using software that frequently pops up dialog after dialog telling us about this or that, or asking “important” questions—a situation I refer to as “Dialog Assault.” If it’s software we use often and the sequence is usually the same, most of us get into the habit of simply hitting [ENTER][ENTER] [TAB][ENTER] or whatever sequence is needed to get us the desired result. As a software designer, it’s tempting to popup a dialog whenever a response is “required” from the user. Unfortunately, the term “required” can be subjective and is often applied to situations where it shouldn’t. This can result in a series of popup messages and or confirmation dialogs that become not only annoying, but often end up simply being ignored rather than being … Read entire article »

Filed under: Controls, GUI Design, Mistakes