Do you use a Wizard to help a user through a complicated set of steps?
1/12/2014 3:28 PM by
Though all software should be intuitive there are still times when users need extra
guidance. Wizards are ideal especially for stepping through more complicated steps
or when an application isn't going to be used regularly. E.g. SSW Code Auditor may
only run once a month, during which time the user may forget all the steps involved.
You can see an example of all the relevant steps at
Code Auditor User Guide.
Most importantly when a first time a user tries your program, they should be able
to step through the setting up process. A wizard helps to show how your application
flows from beginning to end.
To ensure a consistent user experience, make sure to include these visual elements:
- Page name. It is important for the user to know which page they
are currently on.
- Page description. You should provide a short description of the
task to be performed on the page.
- Instructions. Not required for every page, this is a short description
requesting the user to perform a task, for example, entering some values into a
- Company logo. This helps promote branding, however it should be
inconspicuous and should not move visual focus away from the body of your application.
- Figure: Good Example - SSW Link Auditor Wizard's
better flow of information
Technical Note: To ensure visual consistency across applications, create a base
form then set the properties in that form (application icon, menu structure, button
names etc.) Add any logic in for switching pages with the "Next" and "Back"
buttons. Then for all projects, add a reference to that one and inherit the customized
In the forms in your application, instead of inheriting from System.Windows.Forms.Form
(the Default), inherit from your new base form class.
public class MyForm : System.Windows.Form.Form
Figure: Default code in a Windows Form
public class MyForm : Company.Framework.BaseCustomForm
Figure: Change the form so that it inherits from your new base form class
The "finish" button denotes the end of the Wizard; by clicking on it,
the user closes the Wizard.
For longer processes, the Wizard should implement "Start" and "Skip"
features to guide the user through from start to finish.
- Figure: Good Example - SSW Code Auditor Wizard featuring
"Start" and "Skip" options
Here's some more information on the
Microsoft Standard for Wizard Welcome and Completion Page art and Interior Page art.
Do you feel this rule needs an update?