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I'm developing a very simple application where the user enters in important dates they need to remember (Holidays, birthdays, anniversaries, religious holidays etc).

Additionally, for dates where there is a specific person involved i am collecting the name of the person, their gender, as well as the top 3 interests of this person (from a pre-populated check-box list).

At first after registration I redirected the user to a 4 step wizard that first asked for birthdays, then anniversaries, then holidays, then a custom one allowing them to enter in whatever didn't fall under those other categories.

I'm wondering if there is a better way to do this in one dynamic form. I want to give the user hints as to what types of things they can add. One point of the wizard was getting them to enter in as many as possible, but i feel that when the user gets to the broad custom page the whole thing is somewhat awkward...

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can you please tell me the Platform(Mobile/web) for which you are developing app to understand better the UI –  Meet Jun 7 '12 at 7:13
    
@meet.. Its a Ruby on Rails App.. Thanks! –  js111 Jun 7 '12 at 7:26
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@Meet I've converted your answer to a comment, but in any case the actual platform isn't really relevant here; UX is technology agnostic so we don't provide technical solutions to issues, only suggest UX/Usability improvements. –  JonW Jun 7 '12 at 7:31

2 Answers 2

Have you seen the new twitter guide when you sign up (need to sign up to a new account).

It has a really nice user interface with several ideas you may be able to use.

I have also used accordions in the past to make wizards feel like they don't go on for too long.. i.e. yo stay on the same page.

The Harrods checkout page has a nice example of this. https://www.harrods.com/checkout

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One thing that I have noticed from your description is that you are asking for a lot of fields for the user to fill in. I don't think there is anything wrong with this as long as they aren't required fields, but instead additional fields that they can "customize" their entry with. Users tend to shy away for massive forms. Now if these are all absolutely necessary for your app to function then I would consider moving them to separate sections (see below).

As far as the actual question goes, I have always been a fan of using the lightbox feature and "nudging" the user through the entry process by lighting up the section they are filling in, and then having a "next" button to progress to the next section. For example, the first section could have the date and type of date. Once they are done filling that in, they press the "next" button and the field they were on is dimmed and the next section is lit up. Then keep doing this for however many sections you would like.

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