For designing a data entry system, the guidelines differ according to these key parameters:
- Domain knowledge of the user (for semantic errors)
- User training and experience of the user (typing mistakes, cultural conventions)
- Data source (paper, scanned, another program window, audio, etc.)
- 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:
- Long string reduction (from 146734678453 to 1467 3467 8453)
- Mnemonic re-structuring of semantic data
- Co-related screen layout for paper based entry
- Elimination of social amenities like please, do you wish, and if you want among others.
- Native language input cutomizable according to demographics
- Standardization of terms, abbreviations, and conventions accoriding to users' domain knowledge
- Early identification and structured display of errors either inline or spatial
- Empirical default entry strategies for greater than 80% chance of selection
- Automation of entry completion
- Inclusion of error toleration like synonyms, homonyms, and vowel elimination or replacement in spellings among others.