I am working on a dynamic workflow. General expectations from the team is to create a wizard within these limitations:

  • The application cannot know what the next stage/step will be (therefore I cannot tell the user the total number of stages).
  • The application cannot assume that the workflow consists of a single stage or multiple stage (for single stage).
  • The application has forms on each stage.
  • I cannot make any change by going previous stage.

What would your way of working be in such a case?

  • Why is it not allowed to go back and change something? Each step has a atomic save database operation? – Pascal Jan 3 '16 at 14:36
  • please share the context in which these limitations are applicable. As someone has already pointed out, it looks unrealistic and unreasonable. – gurvinder372 Jan 4 '16 at 10:07

I'm going to make some assumptions here but I would suggest trying to group your dynamic stages into logical fixed steps (if at all possible).

Step 1: Personal Information (15 mins max) (which consists of):

  • Name and Contact Information (5 mins) (which could lead to):
  • Address information (5 mins) (which could lead to):
  • Vehicle Information (5 mins) (which would lead them into):

Step 2: Your Insurance Options (20 mins max) (which consists of):

  • Insurance Options (5 mins) (which could lead to):
  • House insurance (5 mins) (Which could lead to):
  • Car insurance (5 mins) (which could lead to):
  • Mobile insurance (5 mins) (which could lead to):

Step 3: Summary

All the while you are reporting on the current step. That way the user knows roughly where they are in the whole process even though you keep injecting stages into each step. You could even provide a rough time to complete each dynamic section and report back the maximum time overall for each step.

Again I'm making assumptions here so sorry if this is not what you are after, but you need/have to feedback the user's progress; that's the whole point of a wizard process.

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Generally some wizard flows have the temporary result summary in the last page before saving permanently. In this point of view your situation is little bit risky for users.

I suggest that going back and editing all shoud be needed.

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I think we will need some more information on this use case. When you say total number of steps can't be known, the flows are dynamic etc, it appears to be a theoretical problem more than a realistic scenario which can be imagined.

Users must know the approximate amount of time required to complete a wizard, or an average number of steps. Keeping these variables potentially unlimited, will create a definitely bad user experience, in whichever way you try.

Intelligently designing your navigation and information architecture will also help you to pre-determine and educate the user on average number of steps involved in an operation. This will act as a milestone for the user.

If the steps are too many, I will also include ways to save the progress. But until you provide a clear idea about the extremes of your use case, the community will not be able to come up with constructive suggestions.

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