I'm working on a application for tracking body mass measurements. I need the user to be able to input a number representing body weight, whose magnitude ranges from 0.00 kg to normally 300.00 kg. The precision of body weight is two decimals (50 gram) when weight is below 10 kg (mainly for babies) and one decimal (100 gram) for adults. Total range of numbers is 3900.

The variation between measurements is expected to be of maximum +-2 kg, but dependent on frequency of measurement it could be higher as well.

I have been using a simple text entry field with data verification, but have noticed that it is by far the slowest portion of filling out the form. Seek bar is not precice enough for this range of numbers and number picker is to slow. I might need some creative custom made view for this purpose, but Im not sure on what.

Any help in picking what would be best suitable form controller would be greatly appreciated. I just want the user to have the best experience in quickly and precisely picking from a large range of numbers.

  • 1
    Here is a similar question you may try to look for options: How to best enter long digits on a small touch device without using keyboard input Dec 31, 2012 at 12:54
  • Since User Experience is platform agnostic and doesn't really care which control you use to accomplich the desired User Experience result - this question is better asked at Programmers than User Experience. Dec 31, 2012 at 13:11
  • My question is really platform agnostic, even if the title mentiones android as a platform. In my case it will be necesarry with customization and maybe even custom UI control. Dec 31, 2012 at 13:27
  • And even if the question were platform specific it is still UI related. Programmer dont really care about what UI controls are being used. Dec 31, 2012 at 13:39
  • @BennySkogberg - please don't recommend other sites unless you know for certain that the question would be acceptable there. This question is a better fit for this site.
    – ChrisF
    Jan 1, 2013 at 13:01

4 Answers 4


You're asking for a method to enter accurate information without having to take the time to enter accurate information. As much as that would be a lovely thing each require ment is at odds with the other.

If you want quick and dirty information, then you can enter it quickly with a slider or something like that. But if you're looking for an accurate selection between 6k options (300 / 0.05) you have to have a method that is accurate enough to distinguish between options and simple enough to use.

I can't see a method simpler, faster, and accurate enough as simple text input. However if you're dealing only with numbers, it may be useful to use a keypad input along the likes of when you are dialling a number on your phone.

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I have implemented an custom view which is a circular seek bar. The seek bar is used for precisely pick of values while the +/- buttons change the value in larger intervals. It works pretty well. You can find the source code here: https://github.com/ismarslomic/CircularSeekBar

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In android, you can restrict this particular form field to enter only numbers. What happens is, when you do this- as soon as this field is touched - ONLY the numbers keyboard pop up. This allows user to quickly enter the values (numbers, decimals etc) without having to spend much time.

In phones like some HTC models, If I press 1, the screen automatically switches back to the character keyboard. I have to press the 123 tab again to go to the numbers tab and press the next number. However, this is not the case in for example Motorola phones. If I am on the numbers tab, it wont switch back unless I ask it to. However, the numbers are small buttons in a character keypad which lead to slowness and less accuracy.

In my suggested solution, this deals with both of the problems, since you'll only get the numbers input, and the number keypad has big buttons - higher accuracy. (variation of Fitts Law).

Link to how to do my solution in Android.


The best approach may be to model a real world triple or quadruple beam balance scale. You can find many examples with a web search. By using multiple sliders with different "masses", these allow the ability to quickly start with a coarse measure and refine it with each additional slider/weight's movement.

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