Saturday, June 04, 2005

Web-based applications' data entry guidelines

For designing a data entry system, the guidelines differ according to these key parameters:

  1. Domain knowledge of the user (for semantic errors)
  2. User training and experience of the user (typing mistakes, cultural conventions)
  3. Data source (paper, scanned, another program window, audio, etc.)
  4. Data entry technology

While using paper (or similar) based source, a very strong co-relation exists between the layout of the data entry forms and the structure of the associated data entry screens. To require a user to scan and re-scan in input form to locate (and re-locate) various data entry fields invites significant errors.

Regardless of the technology used, there are various techniques used to reduce data entry errors:

  1. Long string reduction (from 146734678453 to 1467 3467 8453)
  2. Mnemonic re-structuring of semantic data
  3. Co-related screen layout for paper based entry
  4. Elimination of social amenities like please, do you wish, and if you want among others.
  5. Native language input cutomizable according to demographics
  6. Standardization of terms, abbreviations, and conventions accoriding to users' domain knowledge
  7. Early identification and structured display of errors either inline or spatial
  8. Empirical default entry strategies for greater than 80% chance of selection
  9. Automation of entry completion
  10. Inclusion of error toleration like synonyms, homonyms, and vowel elimination or replacement in spellings among others.

1 comment:

Ramon Andrews said...

A very helpful post. Those who do data entry will surely find this informative. Thank you for sharing.