Re: "Teaching" wizards?

Subject: Re: "Teaching" wizards?
From: Chris Willis <cfwillis -at- M1TECH -dot- COM>
Date: Thu, 17 Sep 1998 17:52:01 -0400

>I think we're missing the point here. Wizards are not teaching tools; they
>are task automation tools. Wizards are intended to help users performs tasks
>that are complex, require experience, or are infrequently used. A well
>designed wizard intentionally hides the actual steps required to perform the
>task that's being automated. As a result, wizards are not well suited to
>teaching users how to do something.

Absolutely right on. We used the following guidelines recently to help educate a client:

Interactive Tutorials are software training modules designed to support software and related processes. These modules deliver with the software application, and are called directly from the software or help system to provide just-in-time instruction, but the tutorial does not return information to the host application. Tutorials may include sound, video, and/or bookmarking. Testing or a brief quiz may be included to reinforce learned skills. Users rely on tutorials to learn how to use software for the first time, or as a refresher for selected portions of the software.

Wizards provide a simplified, controlled interface to walk users directly through the steps required to enter information into the system. The wizard sends the user information to the host application for processing. Rather than teaching the user how to use the software application (as a tutorial would), the Wizard helps the user complete a required task as quickly as possible.

Chris Willis
Media 1 Technicom, Inc.
616.837.6119 voice
616.837.1975 fax
cfwillis -at- m1tech -dot- com
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