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I'm designing a cloud service that needs a desktop tool in the end user's laptop.

When end users reach my cloud service, they'll have to install this desktop tool. I'm thinking, how can I give the user the best install experience ever, in a way that he barely notices that something is being installed. An experience as seamless as possible.

Are there good install experiences out there, from which I could get inspiration? What would be for you the best installation experience for a client tool?

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I don't think that "An experience as seamless as possible" should be a goal here. Many users want to be in control of their computers, are wary of viruses, adware, toolbars, etc. which try to install themselves without being noticed. So the users are likely to interpret your attempt to install something on their computer without pointing their attention at it as a shady practice. You need to interrupt their experience sufficiently to make sure they are aware that they are asked for consent. –  Rumi P. Jan 30 at 12:29
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@RumiP. I agree. I don't want to be perceived as spyware. But at the same time, as soon as the customers says "yes", I want it to be as seamless as possible. But always after a "yes". –  John Assymptoth Jan 30 at 13:12
    
I gotta agree with Rumi here. Sometimes an experience can be too seamless. Don Norman has some good examples with impossible-to-find doors and fancy architecture in The Design of Everyday Things. –  Jessica Yang Jan 31 at 3:06

3 Answers 3

Here are some good examples for seeking inspiration:

  1. Google Chrome: It's simple, fast, almost not intrusive and does not ask for anything
  2. Dropbox

You should also see how some Mac OSX are installed. Apps like chrome, dropbox, ... usually require you to

  1. Download an image file
  2. Double click to mount the image as a drive
  3. A screen appears with the app icon and the 'Applications' folder
  4. Drag icon to folder and the app is installed.

Of course you can always go for the usual stuff. Tell users to download an .exe, and walk them though the typically installation wizard. Where is what you should avoid:

  • Several steps that don't do anything. E.g: EULA step, choose folder step, step congratulating, ...
  • steps that require the users to make difficult decisions. You should make those decisions yourself. e.g. asking if they have SQLServer, Oracle, or None
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From the beginning, this will be my ideal install flow:

  1. I will come to your website where is nice big "Download client" button with actual filesize (this is important to me, I don't like to start downloading files with unknown size or tiny installers, which actually download X more MB/GB from internet).
  2. When I'll run the installer, some nice custom welcome window should appear (not this default "Welcome to install wizard..."). There should be also big button "Install" and in the bottom corner checkbox "Advanced installation" (since I like to check all what are you doing during install, but I expect this advanced interface is not so user friendly as basic).
  3. Now ignore "Advanced" instalation, after clicking on "Install", there MUST be progress bar and maybe some relaxing animation like floating bubbles or something.
  4. In case of your cloud service client, in the end just run client automaticaly and wish me nice day.
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I understand that you may want to see what the installer is changing on your computer. But I'm not sure 99% of users care about it. –  jff Feb 4 at 13:16
    
Even if your percentages are right, "normal" user will not notice any checkbox in bottom corner, he will just press the big INSTALL button. Anyway, OP is working on client for clound service and I thing there will be much more people interesting about "Advanced instalation" than 1%, since people installing cloud service client has more tech experiences. –  Pavel Štěrba Feb 4 at 13:36

Just keep it simple - but it cannot be too seamless, the user ought to know what is happening

  1. Download
  2. run the installer
  3. branded window explaining briefly what they are installing
  4. progress bar to let the user know that the install is happening
  5. confirmation that the install was successfull - if not message indicating that it wasn't
  6. auto close the window when finished
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