In January, we published “Anaconda is getting a new suit” to let you know that we’re looking to modernize and improve Anaconda’s user experience. Before starting the redesign work for the Anaconda installer, the team reviewed user feedback and usability study data that we’ve gathered over the years. 

The old “hub and spoke” suit

In the current installer, the “hub” is the Installation Summary screen, represented in Figure 1. Spokes are the specific tasks that users access from the hub screen, e.g. “Language Support.” Setting up the installation requires repeated trips to and from the hub screen.

We sorted the feedback into high-level groupings. One of the larger groupings focused on the current installer navigation model, often referred to as “hub and spoke.” In a “hub and spoke” model, the summary screen, known as a “hub”, is the central point. Individual configuration screens are known as “spokes”. The phrase is commonly used today for airport connections  because passengers often have to change flights at a central airport—or hub—instead of flying directly between two airports.

Figure 1. Example Installation Summary screen.

Users let us know that using this navigation model to complete the installation setup is confusing. People are having difficulty understanding the selection options on the hub screen and determining which spoke steps to take to complete the installation setup. 

The new wizard suit

We want to make sure that the install experience is easy and approachable for anyone to use.  After reviewing the pros and cons of alternative solutions, we determined that a wizard could offer the type of workflow guidance that users expect. It supports a guided, step-by-step, workflow that allows users to focus on discrete tasks. A wizard helps to break down otherwise complex tasks into a series of small, simple steps. Another advantage to using a wizard navigation model is that users generally understand that model. Wizards use used widely in a variety of software packages. 

To create the wizard-based installation experience we’re using PatternFly, an open source design system. You can learn more about PatternFly and see an example of the wizard component in the documentation.

Figure 2. Example draft Installer wizard screen.

We’re still in the early stages of design, but we wanted to share this fundamental decision with you. There will be more updates to come, and we’ll keep you informed of those as well. 

Finally, we plan on conducting a usability test of the installer. If you would like to participate and help influence the install experience, sign up for Red Hat’s user research opportunities.