[Knowledge Nugget] Using progressive disclosure to improve web user experience

Crafting a seamless user experience for an interface takes a certain level of genius and creativity. One technique is called progressive disclosure – the concept of showing the right interface at the right time in context.

At WordCamp Orange County 2016, our Lead Design Partner, Michelle Schulp, demonstrated this technique used in an event management plugin.

Video Transcript:

Another one that’s one of my favorites is the concept of progressive disclosure and that’s basically where you show only the content that you absolutely need at first and then show more to the user as needed.

This is different than a wizard because in a wizard, you are shown this screen and then this screen and then this screen. With progressive disclosure, you’re shown one thing and then the next thing in the context and then the next thing in the context. So at the end, you’ve got a whole bunch of information. I have got an example here. So here is like a recurring events interface, right? So recurring events are complicated, there’s a lot going on. But the first thing you see is, this is a recurring event, what date did it start? What time is it? Once you pick that you like, I want to add a rule. Cool. Now this is how I want it to be every day at the same time ending on this thing. All right. I got this, I’ve said it. If I change my mind about the start date, its right there. I can still go back and change it. OK I want to change this to be a different time, this rule is going to be different time and that time. So now I see this new stuff, I can change the time. At any given time, I could still go back and change my mind about any of it I can reset it it’s all there in context.

Now I want to add another rule. Also I want this to be weekly at this time. Now if I would have seen all of this right at the beginning, like right when I showed up, I would’ve been like what am I even doing right now? Right? But because I was able to go through the steps, I’m able to do it fairly easily. And yet I still know where I came from and where

I’m going and I can change my mind about any of it at any given time. So I’m a big fan of progressive disclosure when it comes to displaying complex content. Especially in admin interfaces, I think it’s wonderful.

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