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I'm creating an intranet app (MVC and razor) for a jewellery business. One of the forms is for creating a custom piece of jewellery, sometimes these are made for display purposes and have no initial relationship to a customer, other times a customer will commission a bespoke item. The form has an autocomplete box to select an existing customer but I can't think how to handle the case of a new customer that doesn't break the work flow.

The scenario is a new customer comes into the shop and asks for a bespoke item to be made, the form captures details about the bespoke item (when it's required, price, size etc.) and there's the autocomplete to find existing customers. Creating a customer has it's own form and is a bit more complex than a modal dialogue would be good for, so my challenge is to identify a mechanism to handle this case.

Workshop UI snippet

What I want to know is what approaches to form design / flow will lead the person completing the form all the way through. As it stands at the moment if there is no existing customer returned from the search box then, in order to associate the item with the customer the form would have to be saved without a customer, then go to the customer create screen and then edit the item and search for the customer (that will now be in the list).

I need a "better" solution.

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Your question is essentially a "how do I design X" type question and doesn't pose a specific UX question. Rather show what you have, and ask a question about a specific part that you have a problem with. –  JohnGB Apr 7 '13 at 16:54
    
I'm really a developer, not used to front end work or how to ask the right sort of questions yet. –  Simon Martin Apr 7 '13 at 17:20
    
@JohnGB There are dozens of questions on here practically identical in form and content this. How is this any different? "What I want to know is what approaches to form design / flow will lead the person completing the form all the way through" - what about UI design as it relates to conversion and user goal completion doesn't relate to UX? –  dennislees Apr 7 '13 at 23:12
    
@dennislees It isn't that the question isn't a UX question. It is that the answers will amount to a discussion between which ways are better. Also, the question has improved somewhat since I made my comment. –  JohnGB Apr 8 '13 at 0:11
    
If this isn't the right place for the question can you suggest where I should pose the question. I was directed here from programmers.stackexchange.com –  Simon Martin Apr 8 '13 at 8:08
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1 Answer

up vote 2 down vote accepted

in your auto complete list of customers, if a customer keeps on typing and no result is returned you can return a result of a clickable text like "Add New Customer..." which when clicked will link to the "Add New Customer" form from which when the customer clicks save, it returns to the order page with all the fields that were originally filled still filled, and the newly added customer also filled.

mockup

download bmml source – Wireframes created with Balsamiq Mockups

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