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I'm creating a wizard with multiple steps and quite a lot of data to fill in. In one of those steps the user has the possibility to drill down to another screen, let's say options. He doesn't need to fill in this screen, it can be informative but in most cases he will be able to fill it in. This screen has to be part of this specific step in the wizard (as the client wants it so and because in another step the user can also drill down to the same screen).

I'm not sure what is best practice for how the user should be able to navigate once he arrives in this drilldown screen: enter image description here

Would the user be able to still navigate through the steps in the wizard or does he have to go back to the main step to do so? I can't find examples of this immediately.

  • The options… Are they specific to just page 2? Or is the options tab a global thing? – Majo0od Jan 9 '15 at 18:03
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You can use vertical tabs which is similar to accordion in the same step, one for mandatory form and another for options form.

But the optional panel will be second tab, by default mandatory form should be shown.

This way of showing Optional step is better than showing Options in a popup, and this also avoids second level navigation.

As shown in the Mockup below:-

Optional Step in a Wizard

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Staged disclosure

What you are describing seems to fit mostly with a staged disclosure as described by by Jakob Nielsen

Staged disclosure is useful when you can divide a task into distinct steps that have little interaction. It is problematic when the steps are interdependent and users must alternate between them.

source: Progressive Disclosure


Linear workflow

Your drill-down option complicates the workflow, which in this particular case needs to be linear. It seems to me that these “options” might impact next steps in the wizard and based on that I would suggest showing them as a step in their own right. If there are too many options to select from then group them in logical entities and dedicate individual screens to each entry.


Show information in the right place & right time

I would also suggest that you have close look at the information accompanying each step as well as the information dedicated to the form as a whole. The aim here is to distribute supporting information in a meaningful and helpful manner across the form as well as in the introduction to the form. This will streamline the workflow and hold the user hand till the task is done.

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You can design it so that the next screen always slides in over the current one (your choice how), leaving a small part of the 1st screen uncovered so that the user can realise that the 2nd screen is really a secondary screen and he needs to get back to the 1st one in order to continue (use back, slide, up etc.)

You can give up overlay for pushing content down (split visually), up or sideways but the idea is the same and it gets your user the right visual feedback so that he understands the current state.

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