I'm currently developing a CMS for a booking agency that puts together multi-day music festivals. Rather than posting news or articles, the bulk of the content being managed are just these festivals & shows. However, there's a lot of data input involved in posting these shows to the site, and the process to create a new festival is somewhat involved:
- Create a festival
- Input festival name, start date, description
- Upload and attach any flyers
- Attach events (e.g. Rock night, Metal night, Hip-Hop, etc.)
- Input event name/description, date, lineup, headliner
- Attach any flyers
- Input set times (on multiple stages)
- Select venue (or create a new one)
The current implementation model simply has the user go to the Festivals, Events, Flyers, Venues, and Set Times sections of the site and fill out individual forms to add/edit or delete this data. But this doesn't seem very intuitive. So I'm trying to convert these conventional forms into AJAX interfaces and consolidate them into a single screen to streamline the process.
However, this is a lot of data, and I'm wondering, at which point do you need to break a process down into multiple steps (e.g. a wizard)? How many input fields do you try to limit each screen to?
I hesitate to create a wizard-type UI since I personally dislike using them, as most workflows aren't so linear (e.g. each event's set-times aren't decided until the night before the show). I'm hoping that by grouping the input fields into collapsable forms and using a modal dialog for uploading the flyers, I can limit the number of input fields on screen at a given time, reducing the clutter. Is this a reasonable design, or does the average user prefer a wizard-type interface?