What are the guidelines to understand if a "flat" configuration screen should be used or a multi-step wizard/workflow?

In my app I have 2 groups of multi-selection settings and a file that should be uploaded. The settings are mutually independent. Upon creation, each of the settings (i.e. the file or the multi-selections) can be modified.

Should I make a 3-steps flow (a step per multi-selection and another step for the file upload) or a configuration screen. Each multi-selection can contain lots of values.

2 Answers 2


If I understand your question correctly (user needs to upload a file, with two sets of settings available in the process), I think one screen with accordion for each set of settings should suffice, unless any of the sets is complex or contains more than 2 controls.

As for the more generic question when to use wizards, as put by the timeless classic of Jenifer Tidwell's "Designing Interfaces",

[Use a wizard when] You are designing a UI for a task that is long or complicated, and that will usually be novel for users—not something that they do often or want much fine-grained control over (such as the installation of a software package). You’re reasonably certain that the designer of the UI will know more than the user does about how best to get the task done.

Tasks that seem well suited for this approach tend to be either branched or very long and tedious—they consist of a series of user-made decisions that affect downstream choices.

The catch is that the user must be willing to surrender control over what happens when. In many contexts, that works out fine, since making decisions is an unwelcome burden for people doing certain things: “Don’t make me think, just tell me what to do next.” Think about moving through an unfamiliar airport—it’s often easier to follow a series of signs than it is to figure out the airport’s overall structure. You don’t get to learn much about how the airport is designed, but you don’t care about that.

But in other contexts, it backfires. Expert users often find wizards frustratingly rigid and limiting. This is particularly true for software that supports creative processes such as writing, art, or coding. It’s also true for users who actually do want to learn the software; wizards don’t show users what their actions really do, or what application state gets changed as choices are made. That can be infuriating to some people.



In my opinion, in order to develop a wizard style solution your categories have to be clear and consistent.

For example : Select product / Personal Details / Pay (3 Straightforward and clear steps)

If you think that you can divide your input values in steps, without user get confused, go for it!

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