DVD Maker, Wizards, and SuperSite for Windows

Last week, Paul Thurrott wrote a post entitled, "The Dark Side of Windows Vista RC1", in which he discusses a few things that he doesn't like about Vista.

And the first item in his article talks about the DVD Maker UI. Paul's complaint is that the "back" button for wizards has migrated from the previous location at the bottom of the wizard to the upper-left corner of the window, and morphed into an "IE-style button".

This part of the DVD Maker UI comes from the new Aero Wizard framework (for those of you using wizards, you add PSH_AEROWIZARD to your wizard flags to use the new framework...). I agree with Paul about the location and style of the back button, and gave feedback to the Wizard UI folks about that issue.

The second point that Paul brings up is the behavior of ALT + Right Arrow. As Paul notes, doing this will start the burn process, which I agree may be a bit of a surprise, though unless you're really slow in hitting cancel, you won't make a coaster (ie junk disc) as there's a lot of work to do before we start writing the disc.

This behavior came from our goal of creating a clean user experience.

There are two required steps for creating a DVD with DVD Maker. First, you need to add some content, and then you need to select a style (you can skip selecting if you like "Full Screen"). At that point, you can pick burn, and you're done.

Then there are the optional actions, customization and previewing. One choice would have been to put the customization pages in line after the choose style pages (in traditional wizard fashion), but that adds two or three pages for every DVD, and implies to the user that they need to do something on each of those pages. It also would have left us trying to fit our interactive preview somewhere in the UI.

Instead, we chose to implement the customization and preview pages the way that dialog boxes work - you go to them, make your changes, and then either accept or roll back the changes you made.

I think that we made the right tradeoff in this case.

It's true, however, that DVD Maker is bigger and more complex than the other wizards I've seen, and the constraints of the wizard framework therefore had more impact. If we had to do it again, we might perhaps choose to make DVD Maker an application rather than a wizard.

Comments (3)
  1. BlakeHandler says:

    Thanks for telling us about the "thought-process" Eric — it’s nice to know there was some “forethought!”

    Of course Paul’s new headline will probably read “Microsoft admits Windows Vista mistake: DVD Maker should have been an application and not a Wizard!” (^_^)

  2. James says:

    I don’t think Thurrott’s review was criticising the approach to presenting optional steps, but he has a point that the keyboard shortcut for ‘Forward’ shouldn’t perform ‘Next’: the forward button usually returns to somewhere you’ve been before, whereas in this case it’s going somewhere new, more like a ‘Finish’ button, from the sound of things.

    Can you disable the accelerator, or change it to Alt+N, or something? Alt+Right really isn’t appropriate. If it was appropriate, you’d have the big ol’ forward button alongside the back button, wouldn’t you?

    Failing that, could you introduce a confirmation page before things start being prepared? People don’t like having to rush to click Cancel, however slow your program is. Does cancel abort the whole Wizard? Maybe they should choose Back? Adding a ‘Ready to go!’ page, maybe with a list of chosen settings or some helpful instructions about inserting a blanc disc or labelling it, would help balance the risk of the user beginning something they don’t want to do with allowing "simple" navigation.

  3. ericgu says:


    On the navigation issue, I think Paul is expecting that the shortcut does mean next – he just expected next to go where he just came back from, not to the next step in the burn process.

    As far as changes go, it’s certainly possible to make such changes, but not at this point in the Vista process.  We’re not making those sorts of changes any more.

    The accelerators are defined by the wizard framework, and would take a change there to provide that.

    Showing a confirmation page would, in my mind, be the exact wrong thing to do. Putting an extra step in the process so that the user won’t be confused the first time is the wrong tradeoff – you then force that step to be done *every time* that anybody wants to make a disc.

    If the user hits burn, the wizard goes away and they get a progress dialog. If they hit cancel on that dialog, then the wizard comes back, and they’re right where they were.

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