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We are implementing a progress tracker for a 3 step task. However, step 2 ('review step 1') is not always applicable; it's only applicable if one validation check after the submission of step 1 fails. If the check PASSES, should we jump straight to step 3 and skip step 2? Or should we always go to step 2?

The steps are visible on the UI, so I'm concerned users may see they've gone from step 1 to 3 without understanding why. However, taking them to step 2 is a bit pointless, as the only action they'll have to do is 'go to step 3'. In essence, we'd be saving them a click.

Thanks

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  • Can you rearange your content from step2 and connect it to step1?
    – xul
    Nov 13, 2019 at 14:10
  • Unfortunately not. In an ideal world, the validation that takes place between steps 1 and 2, would happen between launching the feature and step 1. Due to (very long winded) technical reasons, we can't - yet.
    – mrgapl
    Nov 13, 2019 at 14:12
  • How long does this validation of Step 1 take? Like would it be helpful to take them to step two right away where there would be a loading spinner saying "attempting auto-validation" that would then either fail and reveal manual validation or succeed and go to Step 3?
    – DasBeasto
    Nov 13, 2019 at 14:15
  • @DasBeasto Validation is almost instant, but we could purposefully delay/time the spinner to do as you suggest to allow enough time to read etc. Thanks for the idea.
    – mrgapl
    Nov 13, 2019 at 14:19
  • So if validation on step1 is valid, are fields in step2 auto filled, or they dont need to be filled / used at all? -- You could also on steps, 1 - 2 - 3 once done for each step replace number with green check icon.. then it will a bit clearer for user that step 2 is already done... You could layout your application in a way there is something visible from each step, and then if step3 is direct option, for step2 place some microcopy notice that "this is autofilled", or that it doenst needs filling...
    – xul
    Nov 13, 2019 at 18:54

2 Answers 2

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I honestly don't think "review step 1" is a good "step 2" in the first place...

If there were errors in step 1, you shouldn't complete step 1. Show a summary of all errors on the page (and please actually say what's wrong, not just plainly say "there were errors, please check your inputs", that's not helpul!) and additionally highlight the actual fields with errors and point out what you didn't like about it (is an empty field required? Is the format of an existing input wrong? Is a given input too short? Clearly point it out!). But in the end, you remain in step 1 until these errors are fixed. Step 2 should mean you're doing something else now, which might relate to whatever you gave in step 1, but you should not have to repeat yourself. So as I see it, you actually only have a two-step process, and that should also be shown to the user.

Edit: just now reading your additional comments in the original question about complicated technical reasons? Although validation could still be instant? Anyway, no matter the technical background (which the user doesn't know nor care about!), validation should not be it's own step, and you should find a way to either stay on step 1 on errors, or go from "step 1" to "step 1 again with added details". What would you otherwise do if the user doesn't change anything about the bad inputs in your current "step 2"? Don't you check anymore from step 2 to 3? Are you adding a new "step 3 = review step 2"? This won't get you anywhere in the end...

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Would something like this work? You can incorporate false loading also from @DasBeasto comment.. enter image description here

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