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When entering a new application our customer enters their clients name, dob, and license details. The system then checks if the client already exists. If they exist the rest of the their details are returned and populate the remaining fields on the application.

We need a way to force our customer to verify with their client that each field hasn't changed, such as addresses, phone numbers etc without them just clicking "Next, next, next" and using the details which are already in the system. This is because they can be lazy and it is critical that all details have been verify and are current.

The application has over 80 fields and is split up over multiple pages. We are trying to encourage our customers to take care when creating an application. We are looking for a compromise between filling out everything again and using existing details without verification.

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Update 1
The user entering the details is our customer. They are entering THEIR customers details. Our customer has a habit of be lazy when one of THEIR customers already exists in our system. To prevent this we're currently forcing them to re-enter all details again (not pre populating anything). This is tedious and creates duplicate data.

The other extreme is to pre populate every field with THEIR customers existing details. This would allow them to continue being lazy and "forget" to check if THEIR customer's details have changed since last entered (e.g. moved house, changed phones etc).

We are seeking a solution in the middle somewhere. Some action by our customer to indicate they've checked if a certain field has changed (by asking THEIR customer) and if it hasn't tick a box or click an icon. The issue is where to strick this balance? By subsection? By field? How and what to indicate no change?

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why cant you prefill the fields with existing data? so that the user only will overwrite if its a different one, if it is same them he will leave it as it is... –  sree Mar 30 '12 at 17:53
    
As stated above "The user entering the details is our customer. They are entering THEIR customers details. Our customer has a habit of being lazy when one of THEIR customers already exists in our system. To prevent this we're currently forcing them to re-enter all details again (not pre populating anything). This is tedious and creates duplicate data." –  Josh Hill Apr 3 '12 at 21:06
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3 Answers

Are you open to idea of dropping user into a different UI flow if an existing client record is found?

For example, if an existing client record is found, then present your user an option to view the existing record in a read-only, single-page format. This way, the user can more easily compare the data to see if adjustment is necessary with the least amount of hassle.

And if the user finds discrepancies, then he can do a quick inline editing on the spot. If no discrepancy is found, user moves onto the next record entry. Optionally, you can put "verified" checkbox along the way if you want to be more stringent.

Unless users are required by their jobs to verify the accuracy, they will not take the care to ensure accuracy 100% of the time. The best you can do is make it easier for users to do it.

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Excellent answer,a summary view with an option to edit each section directly from the view form mode would help the user quickly scan over the choices and then jump to the section he needs –  Mervin Johnsingh Mar 29 '12 at 22:36
    
Possibly. Please see Update 1. The reason we've split it in to multiple pages is because of the sheer size and number of fields (80+). The main purpose isn't to make it easier for the user, but rather stop them from being lazy and not asking their customer if any of their details have changed. –  Josh Hill Mar 30 '12 at 2:45
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Have you considered a button or checkbox (or something to that effect) on each sub-area of the form that the user must click?

For instance, "Residental Address" looks to be a subsection. You could make the user check a box that indicates "this information is correct" for that section. Same for "Other Contact Methods". This way, at least the user can't just mash the Next button at top speed, he/she must slow down enough to check a box on each section.

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Yes that is one possible solution we are considering. Adding a check box or icon(s) alongside or above each subsection which the user must click to verify details are current. As to the exact implementation, so that it is intuitive and unobtrusive, we are unsure. –  Josh Hill Mar 29 '12 at 22:12
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We are looking for a compromise between filling out everything again and using existing details without verification.

How about pre-populating the fields at random?

Consider this scenario: You've got John Doe's data on file, which looks like this:

  • Mobile Phone: 123456
  • Home Phone: 789012
  • Work Phone: 567765
  • Email: john@doe.com

Now, instead of pre-filling all the fields, you omit 50% of them – thereby forcing the user to reconfirm the data partially.


Depending on how often one would have to fill out the form, the above approach might quickly become quite frustrating. Another option would be to not pre-populate the fields at all, but rather show something along these lines:

 // Mobile Phone: ________________________________ ( ) Use the information we have on file (123456)
                            ^                       ^
 //           text field ---|           checkbox ---|
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That would be annoying,I would assume they are not mandatory –  Mervin Johnsingh Mar 29 '12 at 22:34
    
Confirming stuff is annoying per se. Also, looking at the screenshot/mockup by OP, most fields seem to be required. –  vzwick Mar 29 '12 at 22:48
    
The screen shot is only a small subset of fields available for entry. There are in excess of 80 fields over the entire entry form spread across multiple pages. Randomly pre-populating the fields isn't a feasible solution for us. This will confuse the user as there will be no way of telling if the missing values exist and weren't populated or if they never existed in first place. We could possibly use your second suggestion. I will investigate further and update question once we've decided on a solution. –  Josh Hill Mar 30 '12 at 0:22
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