getUXperienced part 2 v4

getUXperienced! – part 2

Leverage Wizards as a Design Pattern

In part two of my series, entitled “getUXperienced!”, I will dive head first into UX design principles that we use in designing our award-winning Business Process Management (BPM) and Rules-based Digital Transformation solutions.

Before we get into the “goodies” – just a little note about me – I’ll keep it brief. I began my career developing computer-based training and multimedia solutions (hence the design passion) and quickly zeroed-in on helping clients achieve digital transformation, through Business Process Management (BPM) and Rules. I currently manage the Appian practice and also help guide our implementations in design principals. This is my passion.

So, without further ado, I am thrilled to bring my UX design passion to you in part 2.

Architect Christopher Alexander, who noticed that many things in our lives happen according to patterns, first described Design Patterns in the 1960s.  Alexander, Professor Emeritus of Architecture at the University of California, Berkeley has built 200+ buildings on 5 different continents, with many of these buildings laying the ground work (no pun intended) of a new form of architecture, which looks far into the future, yet has roots in ancient traditions.

Alexander is regarded as the father of the pattern language movement – describing good design practices or patterns of useful organization.

In computer science, Alexander was not only credited with the pattern language movement (applied to Object Oriented Programming, and is inspiring innovative techniques that go beyond it) but also influenced the agile software development methodology. It’s astounding that Christopher Alexander has perhaps had a greater impact on computer science than on his first love of architecture itself.

A design pattern from a UX perspective is also known as a wizard.

What is a Wizard?

A wizard presents an end-used with a sequence of steps in order to accomplish a specific goal.

From a very familiar, pre-digital paper-based approach, we have all experienced setting-up a new appliance, new piece of furniture, or a new Christmas gift. Setting-up these items, usually starts with a quick review of the “Quick Start Guide”, which focuses on the most common instructions, with a paint-by-number, step-by- step or wizard-type approach.

Now, let’s enter the digital world…

BPM UX it is extremely important in providing end-users with a design pattern (Wizard) that helps them systemically complete their tasks in an efficient manner, opposed to a cumbersome experience!

Wizard-based Solutions will:

  1. Simplify Mega-Tasks, into Targeted Tasks
    • Guides users systematically through a set of sequential steps.
    • Example: Software Install Wizards
  2. Simplify Mega-Forms, into Targeted Forms
    • Distills large data-heavy forms into manageable forms
    • Example: Turbo Tax Wizards
  3. Simplify the Entire Process
    • Shows a user “Where they are in the Process”
    • Example: Delivery from FedEx

Wizard Best Practices:

  1. Have a crystal clear purpose
  2. Include Milestone Bars
  3. Minimize the Number of Steps and Milestones
  4. Auto-Populate Forms
  5. Provide Navigation Buttons – Back-Buttons, Forward-Buttons, and Cancel
  6. Provide a Final Summary before Final Submission
  7. Keep the interface clean with negative space – please read getUXperienced! – part 1 “Leverage Negative Space (White Space) Effectively”

Time for getUXperienced! Example(s)

Below, our Clinical Study Management solution, leverages a wizard design pattern to provide an automatic way to generate the right list of regulatory documents required for a local clinical trial site anywhere in the world.  To learn more, visit:


In this example of “Initiating a New Clinical Study”, we broke down the process into four distinct milestones:

  1. Planned
  2. Screening
  3. Active
  4. Completed

The intuitive web-based distilled-down forms take advantage of the Wizard-based best practices (above), such as auto-populating form information, minimizing the number of milestones, and having a clean interface – to name a few… The solution and the UX principals, such as wizards leveraged in this solution, had a direct impact of us winning the Best Overall Application award at Appian World 2016.

In summary, Christopher Alexander, laid the foundation (pun definitely intended) for the Wizard design patterns we use in building (again, pun definitely intended) our award-winning digital transformation solutions.

Let’s Take the Next Step

Let us demonstrate our award-winning digital transformation applications, that applies this design element, as you await part three of getUXperienced! Contact us for a personalized demonstration.

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