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At this moment, I'm working on a product finder tool. By answering different questions, you get advice that suggests a product of your interest. So, the answers to questions could lead to different follow-up questions. This process isn't linear.

I notice while designing that there are different ways to approach this. - A Wizard gives clear steps that help to create focus and guides through finding the right product. - At the same time, we want to create something which provides the user with the possibility to realtime change things and play around with the settings to get a different result very fast. But I noticed that accordions are getting though and not the flexibility that we want.

I put some quick wireframes to give a better understanding of the context. Any suggestions on this case? Examples are appreciated! enter image description here enter image description here enter image description here

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Hmm, very interesting probabilistic case

The purpose of the non-linear process is to provide the end user with the product he expects, and thus narrow them based on variables?

I recommend using Akinator, it is a tool that by means of questions is able to choose any person we think of from around the world!

https://en.akinator.com/

however, the akinator process is linear (loop - question - narrowing the result)


I think that in designing such a situation, it is worth guiding the display of results after each step - it gives the user an awareness of where the previous choices led him.

Example:

I choose Sam and Vaporwave, so I have access to this and that, what happens when I change Sam to Harry?

And displaying advice in real time instead of going through the whole process and getting the result at the end.


Those processes are extremely complicated and I think that something like machine learning could work with it.

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    Thanks for your comment! I will check Akinator out. And your question about Sam to Harry is so true and difficult. Every time you change something, you have to disable everything back and forth... Not realistic I think and very confusing. – YengarIV Oct 17 '19 at 14:19
  • It's possible in modern programming languages, but that's 100% true - it's can be confusing and difficult – Piotr Żak Oct 17 '19 at 16:58
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It depends on who is using this and how often. And if this users have the ability to actually process the filters and options and how they will affect the result. I assume that the users are occasional users which do not have insights on how the product finder works.

Therefore I would go with the wizard, the user has to concentrate on one question at a time. You even have the possibility to explain the question (if necessary). To provide the user with an option to play around with the answers you could provide a summary and let the user change answers she has given before. If the new answer triggers more questions, they would be asked. If not, only the change would be applied to the result.

If it is even possible to group the questions the better.

A site that does this very well is https://www.instantcarinsurancequtoes.com/get-quote (I stumbled across this page looking for a similar problem.)

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  • Thanks! They are more advanced/experts users with a lot of knowledge about the product. The example you gave, was very helpful! So, easy and fast forwarding with just one question at a time! In my case, there are only 5/6 steps in total. So, it's not that much. I will give it a try when user testing! – YengarIV Oct 17 '19 at 14:17
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A pretty relevant example for a wizard is the (still) new guided mode on StackOverflow:

Screenshot of the first step of this mode


I agree with Piot's idea, a real-time preview of the results to expect is exactly what would help you reach what you described here:

At the same time, we want to create something which provides the user with the possibility to realtime change things and play around with the settings to get a different result very fast.

As for the comment

Every time you change something, you have to disable everything back and forth... Not realistic I think and very confusing.

I would suggest locking the previous steps, once a step ahead had been chosen. Maybe only for those options that would require a lot of disabling back and forth if changed or so.

Let me demonstrate here:

enter image description here

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