Re: Wizard - searching for a definition

Subject: Re: Wizard - searching for a definition
From: Dick Margulis <margulisd -at- comcast -dot- net>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 29 Mar 2005 10:26:51 -0500

Stephen Windham wrote:

My company is changing the name of a feature in our software. They want to
use the word "wizard" as part of the name of this feature. However, some of
us aren't sure that this feature is technically a "wizard" as one commonly
encounters it in the software world. Does anyone know of an official,
technical definition of a wizard that we could use in discussing whether
what we are doing can legitimately be called a wizard?


Wizard is, as you've correctly used it, a common noun (lowercase), not a trademarked technology. Wizards are implemented in a variety of ways. What they have in common is the general concept that instead of presenting you with a dialog box that has fifteen tabs for you to explore and configure or forcing you to type a bunch of command line entries, it presents a sequence of choices, with Back and Next buttons, that guide you through some process with a defined outcome.

On each page/panel/step of a wizard, ideally (not always implemented well) you should be confronted with only one group of items to select from or a minimal number of fields to complete. If there is any ambiguity or any explanation required, help should either be included as text in the interface or no more than a context-sensitive click away.

I think that if you meet those criteria, you can call it a wizard.



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Wizard - searching for a definition: From: Stephen Windham

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