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I'm working on designing an app that's essentially a lengthy application process that requires a user to provide and verify a lot of information about themselves. A lot is already imported through connecting accounts, but still requires the user to verify and add details.

Do you have any ideas, patterns, or guidelines about how to make an experience like this more enjoyable for a user (or at least, less frustrating, like an endless setup wizard)?

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Wizards are very good ui patterns for :-

1) collecting info from user in a sequential (as well as non sequential manner) like a hotel/flight booking

2) Grouping of related input in each step like:-

  • Product customization
  • Name, shipping address in one step,
  • Payment details in next step
  • Summary and confirmation in final step.

3) It provides user feedback like total steps, current step, etc.

4) Validation messages can be highlighted (missing mandatory field, etc.)

5) Last step in the wizard could be to summarize all the users input, if all inputs are valid.

There are several wizard libraries available as a jQuery plugins.

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The first thing I'd recommend is to divide the inputs into digestible chunks. Make sure you're not presenting all of the open fields on one form. Bring the user's focus to one section at a time. For example, use gentle highlights or outlines on the first section, and disable or even hide the next sections.

The second things I'd recommend is to acknowledge the user's path in completion, using check marks or green cues as each sections is completed. These mini "finish lines" help keep the user engaged and encouraged to complete the form.

Finally, scrutinize heavily what information is absolutely critical vs what isn't. For example, if the user is entering a credit card number, and they have to select whether it's a Visa or MasterCard, that's redundant. The first number of the credit card dictates that, so you could have the system be smarter by recognizing that.

Lastly, if you have a huge number of sections, don't number them...and let the user save where they left off to come back later. Depending on your user testing, that may be necessary if it's an exhausting process. Good luck!

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  • +1 Let the user know where they are and how far they need to go. If I think 12 questions and I get 200 I get frustrated. If I know it is 200 then sit down and relax and acknowledge it is going to take me a few minutes. I hate surveys that go on an on with no indication of when it is going to end. – paparazzo Dec 3 '14 at 20:28

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