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I'm creating a wizard prototype in which a user needs to fill in a document through certain steps. There are 2 functionalities i have difficulty with:

  • In one of those steps the user needs to create goods and containers and then link them together. Linking them requires quite a lot of functionality and two tables (goods and containers) lined out next to each other for drag and drop. This linking screen should ideally be on its own because i need all the real estate i can get. Logically i'm thinking of a popup screen within the wizard which he accesses by clicking a 'link' button in the goods/container wizard step. However i don't feel good about using a popup within a wizard. I'm unsure if this is good practice.

  • In another step in the wizard, the user can access a budget page. This also should be presented in a separate popup but the thing here is that the budget page is also accessible from outside the wizard (unlike the linking page). Can the user (who is inside the wizard) be taken to a page that normally lies outside the wizard? What happens when the user clicks the 'save' button in the budget page? He gets taken back to the wizard? Soemhow this doesn't feel right.

Thank you for replies.

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From the information you provide, I assume that both (goods-and-containers and budget) are required steps in the wizard, and that they need some form of input to complete the wizard process. Based on this, I'd recommend

  • to make the goods-and-containers stuff a step of its own in the wizard.

  • to make the budget page a step of its own in the wizard. If you are worried about the effort to code another page with the same content (to be used outside the wizard), re-use of UI components (in this case, the entire budget view) should be the answer, not an inappropriate navigation.

Wizards are usually meaningful when a complex process needs to be broken down into small pieces. Two effects are important when designing wizards, I think: The information in each single page can be reduced (to avoid too many dependencies, to add helpful information, to aid the user in the process, to reduce the number of fields), and the number of steps until completion is clearly communicated.

If you add a (page-sized) pop-up to a wizard step, you are in effect doubling the number of steps, defeating one purpose of the wizard UI.

If my assumptions above are incorrect, please add some more detail. Happy wizardry!

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thx virtualnobi for the reply, i follow your logic that it would be best to create a separate step in the wizard, but as it is the steps in the wizard are already many (8) so i don't want to expand that further. It would most likely demotivate the user from the start. What i have opted for is to not use popups in wizards as popups tend to be more for explicite dialogs with users that you only use when you really need a user's input before the application can proceed, which in this case is not necessary.

Furthermore they are likely to slow down performance as all the data in the popup needs to be loaded on screenload as well (so i have been told), and in this case, it holds quite a large chunk of data which is not optimal for usage in popups.

Better is to use a drill-down, where you actually go deeper into the screen and can go back to the previous screen when needed. It makes for a more fluent experience i believe. I'd like to thank the middleware UX team at Oracle for this approach!

Hope this approach might inspire others :)

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