Bob Baxley

is a writer, designer, and father (not necessarily in that order) who lives and works in Silicon Valley. Specializing in interaction design for both Web applications and desktop products, Bob has worked in a variety of corporate and start-up environments including Adobe Systems, Apple Computer, Epiphany, NetObjects, Ameritrade, Claris, and most recently, myCFO. In 2002, Bob authored “Making the Web Work” (ISBN: 0735711968), the first book to detail the unique challenges involved in the design of Web-based applications and services. He writes about design and technology at Baxley Design as well as a host of other things at Drowning in the Current. Bob welcomes all comments, criticisms, queries, and kudos at info (at)

Stories by Bob Baxley

February 25th, 2004

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 task structure known as a hub. This installment expands on those themes by exploring two other types of task structures commonly employed in web applications–wizards and guides.

While most technology conferences are an immersion in the nitty-gritty of the technology with little thought about how that technology will ultimately be used, Bob Baxley notes that the O’Reilly Emerging Technology conference was refreshingly concerned with the uses of new technology.

What distinguishes a web application from a traditional, content-based website and what are some of the unique design challenges associated with web applications? A reasonable launching point is the more fundamental question, “What is an application?”

Well-designed interactive products allow people and technology to carry on a complex and elegant dance relying on multiple, simultaneous forms of communication. A new 12-part series will discuss the activity of interaction design as it relates to the Web, and the relative advantages and disadvantages of the Web as an interactive medium.