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I am designing a very complex form for a signup process for a new web product. We have not yet decided whether the form will be a Wizard or Intelligent (one-page) form yet; we are A/B testing both options with beta customers.

If we go the route of a Wizard and the user gets to the Confirmation page (last step), what is the best practice for editing data (especially data that is dependent on previous answers within the multi-step form)? Assuming the user sees something that needs to be changed, is it better to:

  • Provide inline editing within the confirmation page itself and update any changed data within that page
  • Send the user back to the particular step to complete the edit and have them (potentially) go through the entire process again to make any resulting changes.
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3 Answers 3

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I would suggest sending the user back to the screen where they originally filled in the data. At this point the interface should be somewhat familiar to the user. On the completion of said screen; if no other screen need to be revisited based on the users changes, send them back to confirmation screen so they view all the data again.

I would shy away from inline editing. I have not seen this being used anywhere, as of yet. The confirmation screens is the last step before the user gets their "receipt" for completing an online process. This screen should remain read only as users currently expect the next screen to match if they are to reach a print screen or expect that same information/layout in an an email receipt.

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I was about to post this same question, and I was leaning toward implementing inline editing. My thoughts for this were:

  1. Users may be inclined to react to being sent back negatively. Say this is a multi+ page form,and they need to fix something on the first page. The last thing I want to do is incite negative feelings JUST as we're about to have them complete the form.
  2. Users may also react to being sent back a couple pages by clicking on the browser's buttons which (depending on your setup) could negatively affect any POST/GET vars that are being passed from one page to the next. While there is a lot we can do to prevent any negative effects, we can't predict and account for every option especially if this is a web form (as opposed to an app).

Something to consider.

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I am designing a very complex form

Those are pretty much like swear words here. But pertaining to the question, I would recommend sending the user back to the section that they would like to edit. But I would not make the user step through the entire process again. I would make a way for the user to jump back to the confirmation screen. This way the user will be able to avoid the Next, Next, NEXT spam just to get back to the confirmation screen.

The problem I see with having an inline editing process is that you have already mentioned that your form will be "complex" which means the confirmation screen might be a bit more complex. So there is no need to complicate it any more than it already is.

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