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Wizards can be great for creation of complex objects or completing complex workflows. Breaking things down into simpler guided steps is useful. But my question is this: Should or could the same wizard be used if a user needs to go back at a later time and make changes to their previous workflow or object? Can you just re-use the wizard for edit or modify workflows? For example, if a user used a wizard to setup or configure an application or service, can the same wizard be used to modify that configuration, assuming all their previously selected choices are still there? What are the pros and cons of this? Does anyone know of any supporting research for their opinion, one way or another?

Many thanks.

  • purely one man's opinion: a "wizard" is saying: Our UX is so incredibly badly designed, that, we needed to make this other thing that sort of is kind of another alternate UX since the other one is so incredibly bad. Thus, make a good UX to begin with; do not use wizards. They were a bad idea from the 2000s (correct?), time to be dropped. – Fattie Aug 28 '15 at 16:04
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Wizards are useful for stepping the user through a sequence of steps to accomplish a goal. They are sequential by nature.

Mostly useful for breaking down complex operations in simple steps where efficiency(how fast can the users perform a certain task) is not too important.

Refer to this link : for more on when to use Wizards: http://designinginterfaces.com/patterns/wizard/

With this understanding, I would be careful about using a Wizard in order to modify a configuration because it would not let the users jump to the exact part that they would like to modify, slow them down and not help them understand the overall structure of object they are modifying. Most importantly modification does not involve steps. (i.e. you do not first change the Name and then change Company or anything else.. instead just go in and change whatever field you wish to change in no particular sequence)

What may work is if you can break the modification interface into modules much like what was done during the setup. You could choose to expose the entire configuration in one view or expose a module at a time and let the users navigate directly to the module they would like to edit.

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the pros would be that the user is already familiar with the wizard as they used it before already. the cons is that the user cannot see a full view of what they entered on one screen.

i think a good balance between two is to show each step of the wizard as a category or as tabs. the advantage is it's no longer a sequence and the user can access each step without relying on the sequence of the wizard

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