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I am a UI designer, working on a webapp that deals with lot of user data and grids. The base portion where the user enter their personal details has been split up into a wizard. Here the user may be a company or an individual user. The wizard just works fine if the user is an individual. But if its a company then the company should enter their own details and then their staff details. The client want's it all inside a wizard.

Now I'm stuck in the wizard step where the company adds their staffs. The client want's another full screen wizard branching from that particular step. Basically a Wizard inside a wizard.

Is it good to have a wizard that's branching out form another wizard? Or can it be a popup wizard?

Edit: Its a 4 or 5 step wizard for both user and company. Most companies will have their staff detail in a excel sheet which they can upload. So, that step will have a grid and they will rarely enter details manually. But an option should be there for them to fill manually.

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    I'd lean towards no, it feels like being trapped on a treadmill... How many steps to each wizard might have a significant impact though: 5 steps for the company and two for the user (not bad), 10, and 10 per user on the other hand would be bad, bad, bad IMO. – Austin French Apr 2 '15 at 18:08
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If you think about the purpose of a wizard, it is really there to ensure that the user is able to complete a complex workflow accurately without missing any crucial steps. This fine if the process is does not need to be carried out frequently, and that there are not a lot of other irrelevant or optional steps involved. If you create a wizard that contains complex steps or even wizards inside wizards, then you are introducing additional complexity when the purpose of the wizard is to make sure that a complex process or workflow is simplified.

I think the best way of illustrating this to a client who wants to create this type of workflow is to simulate these particular types of scenarios:

  1. Loss of information: if you make a process longer than it is necessary, the time and effort required to get back to where you were in the workflow or recover the information is much more expensive. If you can complete a shorter process and save that progress before moving onto other steps than it is a much more productive option. In this case, if you can set up the company first and then add staff you are less likely to lose all the information at once compared to having to set up the company and all the staff in one go.
  2. Incompleteness of information: in a wizard you would ideally want to capture all the details required to complete that workflow/process, and by introducing input that is likely to change or be incomplete (e.g. you can't remember certain details about a staff that is required) it again breaks the purpose of using a wizard to complete a task. This means that even after completing the wizard you are still going to require additional input/updates that could be done at a later time more efficiently.

But if all else fails, I would certainly try to capture some analytics around the data entry and completion for the wizards and if they do find it problematic then you have some evidence and recommendation for how to improve the design.

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