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Designing Web Interfaces by Theresa Neil, Bill Scott

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Static Single-Page Process

The Apple example illustrates another way to get rid of multiple pages in a Process Flow. Just put the complete flow on one page in a Static Single-Page Process. The user sees all the tasks needed to complete the full process. This can be both good and bad. Seeing just one step to complete the process can encourage users to finish the task. But if the single step seems too long or too confusing, the user will most likely bail out of the process early. In other words, if placing all the tasks on a single page is enough to cause the user to bail out, it is not a good idea. In the case of the Apple store, each item is optionally set, and it's just a single click to include or exclude an item from the purchase.

eBay provides two ways to sell an item. An introductory panel (Figure 8-17) gathers the description of the item for sale. The "Customize your listings..." option takes the user through a traditional multi-page process (Figure 8-18).

eBay's simplified one-page flow

Figure 8-17. eBay's simplified one-page flow

The customized flow is a traditional multi-page process

Figure 8-18. The customized flow is a traditional multi-page process

Since the customized flow contains many options for listing an item, it requires a good deal of handholding. A multi-page process fits well with guiding the user through a complex set of tasks.

The other flow provided ...

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