Take the 2-minute tour ×
User Experience Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for user experience researchers and experts. It's 100% free, no registration required.

I'm working on a wizard-esque form that will have multiple steps. I'd like to show that you've finished a step.

The catch is that we don't want to give the end-user the impression that the step is also valid yet, as the validation isn't happening until the last step. It may be valid, it may not be, but the step is completed for now.

I have this now:

default view:

(1) step 1...
(2) step 2...
(3) step 3...

As you complete a step, I wanted to change it to a visual state to indicate that you've completed that step. Right now I use checkmarks:

(✓) step 1 (completed)...
(2) step 2...
(3) step 3...

The concern is whether or not the checkmark is perhaps signalling 'valid' more than 'step completed'. Opinions? Maybe it doesn't matter? Any ideas on different/better icons/visuals?

If after Step 3 any step is invalid, we have the user start over. So it really doesn't matter from step-to-step which is invalid.

share|improve this question

2 Answers 2

As a general point - in my experience users find multi-page forms that do not validate as you go extremely frustrating. I'd revisit idea if at all possible... Maybe you can go into the reasons why it's necessary and folk will be able to come up with some alternatives.

That said...

If the point is to indicate progress - could you do that will something else rather than a per-field indicator? A countdown of fields left to go? A progress bar?

share|improve this answer
    
It will hit the server each time (AJAX update) but we're not going to have them actually go to multiple pages. The form is literally 3 fields, so a progress bar seems overkill but it's definitely something to consider. In fact, perhaps we simply don't need to indicate it with additional visuals...the mere act of enabling each field one-by-one is perhaps enough. –  DA01 Jul 31 '10 at 21:46
    
I think with only three fields then any kind of indicator is overkill. Surely it should be obvious? –  adrianh Aug 1 '10 at 10:44

When it comes to the User, I don't believe you can differentiate between "complete" and "valid". Complete is complete. Filled out, valid, items attached, user authenticated, whatever.. from the User perspective.

I'm also not a fan of validating a series of screens all at the end. Studies we did showed users got frustrated thinking they're finally through and being sent back to step 1. Though, to be fair, the testing we did was on a form that needed information on hand for initial screen and a large % had "closed" this information once they made it to new screen. This testing may not be valid in your case because of this need for "data on hand".

I'd be honest and add a "Step 4: Validation" Then you can check them off if you want.

share|improve this answer
    
I agree. however, this is probably a unique situation. This is a log in process. There are very specific reasons to not indicate any specific one of them is valid, but I still feel strongly that people should be aware of the number of steps ahead of them. –  DA01 Jul 30 '10 at 20:08
    
I like the Idea of adding a validation step. It's honest and transparent for the user. –  Lisa Daske Aug 2 '10 at 13:59

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.