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I need to provide an interface for users to define field mapping for some associated uploaded data. This mapping will be used as a template to bulk import data.

An example of the mapping is:

[Field A] - Data A, [Field B] - Data B

However the data is not comma delimited, it’s serialized as such:

000006784FIRSTLASTNAMEADDRESS

Each segment of the serialized number has a dedicated character count and meaning, however the system doesn’t know and cannot parse separations like a comma delimited file. Here’s where the user comes in. Our team wants to provide an interface for the user to manually divide the serialized segments and associate them to fields.

Has anyone any ideas how to handle or seen other interfaces that deal with serialized mappings. Is there a usable interface for selecting where the segments begin and end?

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Do not recall if I have seen this type of design around or not, but I would implement something like this.

quick mockup of bulk data entry fields 1

The user clicks "New Field" and chooses the desired predefined data type from a drop down (this also adds a new color coded selection to the sample text).

Couple of notes:

  • If the data types have a fixed character length then the adjustment handles can be omitted.
  • You may want to provide some sort of reordering and delete functionality for the selections.
  • Alternating the handles between top and bottom gives the user more space to grab the correct handle.
  • Increased kerning of the import data text might help.
  • This is only a quick mockup, please excuse the dust!
  • 1
    I like this answer and it was finally handled by parsing out each character into its own block which could be selected on click or by clicking the first and 4th character to select a range. Though I will say color coding was a good idea there were just to many fields for us to color code appropriately. – Mark Oct 1 at 16:09

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