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We are building a web site creator/editor with a wizard that has two parts.

The first part is when the user begins making their site. Using the wizard, he or she would:

  1. Select a web template from a gallery
  2. Upload their logo and give their site a name
  3. Preview these choices and confirm to then go directly to the editor

After they go to the editor, we plan to have a continuation of the wizard by maintaining a small area that will say something like "you have completed 20% of the typical steps for a finished site. Try editing your About Us page next." The user would have the option to hide/show this.

We are trying to decide which optional steps should go in the first part of the wizard and which should stay in the second part, when the user is inside the editor.

An example of an optional step would be editing the template's primary color to something more fitting of their brand. Another example would be inputting their domain information so that we can map their domain.

With a web editor, the number of optional steps can get quite long to the point where you just need to send them to the editor and point out the areas to update that information within that page.

On the one hand, I favor simplicity and getting the user through with fewer decisions. On the other hand, putting more optional steps in the first part could cut down on the number of questions customer service receives.

So, I am wondering what you think! Better to put those optional steps earlier to cut down on possible confusion or put them in the later, smaller wizard to keep the first form simple and reduce immediate decisions (even if they can choose to skip the optional steps if put in the first form)?

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You could do both by having the last step of the required portion of the wizard offer users a choice: "keep walking me through the setup" or "no thanks, take me to the editor now." My hypothesis would be that users who prefer the wizard to a technical-seeming "editor" might continue the wizard, while people who just want to finish quickly or prefer to fiddle with the editor would want to skip right to that part.

Either way, I'd say any skipped steps should contribute to the percentage completed, so that users can "finish" the process without being forced to make modifications they don't want to make.

And, if it helps your team and your users, you could probably think of these "optional steps" as something more like "tips"...helpful suggestions for getting the most out of your site. A pro user who already knows what they want to do might just dismiss all the tips, but someone who isn't as confident might appreciate the suggestions and feel satisfied when they tick off all the items in the list.

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