Wizard Comparison: Classic vs. Mentor
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The classic wizard consists of a linear sequence of pages, typically fewer than ten in number, that help a user perform a simple task reliably. MentorWizard extends the classic wizard into the realm of complex tasks. One way to grasp the difference between them is to consider a direct comparison of the classic wizard with Mentor Wizard. The following table describes some of these differences:

Affordances and Constraints
Classic Wizard
MentorWizard
Efficient:


Simple, single-issue steps can be completed with a single click or keystroke.
No (user must click "Next")
Yes
Users move so effortlessly that they enter a state of flow wherein they are unaware of the technology they are using.
No
Yes
Users see only what is appropriate to their role, task, time of day, or other appropriate context parameter.
No
Yes
When the user's context leaves only one viable option in a step, the step can be "executed" automatically without showing the step to the user.
No
Yes
Users can create single keystroke shortcuts for a sequence of steps.
No
Yes
Training-free:


The information needed to guide each step of a task is presented to the user at the time each step is taken.
Yes
Yes
A history of steps visited can be displayed at any time so the user can know the path he or she has taken to reach the current step.
No
Yes
Recently entered data is displayed at all times.
No
Yes
Safe:


Because undo/redo are available, users are free to experiment without penalty.
Sometimes
Yes
Users are informed via an explicit confirmation before persistent data is modified.
Sometimes
Yes, at end of a task or sub-task
If the user is unable to complete a task, its current state can be saved and the task can be resumed later.
No
Yes
Maintainable:


Can handle large, complex collections of interrelated tasks without performance degradation.
No
Yes
Common sub-tasks, e.g. entry of a mailing address, are implemented once and re-used at will.
No
Yes
Steps are defined in XML, not compiled code, so changes can be made while the system is in operation.
No
Yes
Wizard page construction tools are provided that allow domain experts to create and modify wizard pages (steps) with little or no assistance from programmers.
No
Yes
Much of the logic needed to construct steps is built-in so that scripting of task logic is required only for special cases.
No
Yes
Users automatically see the latest version of each page (step).
No
Yes