At first glance, you might not think about computing when the term “wizard” pops up. However, there is a certain type of program that is used exclusively for the purpose of helping someone install something on their computer.
A Wizard’s Goal
Traditionally, a wizard has been represented by an old man with a beard, robes, and a pointy hat. They might cast spells or have mysterious powers that help guide a young hero on their quest. Ultimately, this is their purpose--to help a hero walk a path that they themselves cannot follow.
Not coincidentally, a wizard program on your computer serves a similar function. Like the mysterious figure Merlin mentoring the legendary King Arthur, or Gandalf the Gray aiding Frodo Baggins in his quest to destroy the One Ring, the wizard software is meant to help the user toward a certain goal. The goal can vary, but it’s usually something like installing or configuring a program on your computer, or perhaps running a scan of your PC.
Qualities of a Wizard
A software wizard will generally break down tasks into a step-by-step process that a user can easily follow. Each step will show up on a separate page. The wizard is designed in such a way that each step must be followed in the correct order before proceeding with the task at hand. Wizards will often use progress bars to show the user how much time they must invest in order to follow the process to completion.
Wizards these days go by different names, or their functionality has been absorbed by other programs on your computer. Some virtual assistants and office assistants work in much the same way, eliminating any need for wizards. However, it’s worth mentioning that wizards are so helpful that many applications and online forms emulate wizards to make things easier for the users--gone, but certainly not forgotten.
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