March 19th, 2004
Views and Forms: Principles of Task Flow for Web Applications Part 1
One of the first challenges facing the designer of any application is answering the ubiquitous question, “How do I __________?” In the case of a web application examples might include, “How do I register for a class?”, “How do I pay my bills?”, or perhaps “How do I make sure that gets to my mom on the Friday before Mother's Day?”
The hypertext environment of the Web presumes a style of unfettered browsing and exploration that is not particularly conducive to the full and valid completion of specific tasks, operations, or database transactions. Creating web applications that support the full and valid completion of specific tasks, operations, and database transactions, therefore requires some understanding of how to manipulate the medium to that purpose. To wit, the following few thousand words serve to describe both the fundamental building blocks of HTML-based web applications as well as the three ways in which those blocks can be arranged to provide various types of task flows.
Views and Forms: Principles of Task Flow for Web Applications Part 1 @ boxesandarrows.com
Wizards and Guides: Principles of Task Flow for Web Applications Part 2
In part one of this article the discussion was one of views, forms, and the manner in which they could be combined into a particular type of task structure known as a hub. The purpose of this installment is to expand on those themes by exploring two other types of task structures commonly employed in web applications. Known as wizards and guides, these additional structures are useful for presenting complex transactions and multipart processes in smaller and more manageable sequences of individual steps.
Wizards and Guides: Principles of Task Flow for Web Applications Part 2 @ boxesandarrows.com