I'm redesigning a parts order entry system that is intended to make order entry simple and fast. Users often add 40-50 parts per order. For various reasons (client resistance, deadline, complex validations) batch part number upload is not an option.

I should mention this is not the type of part the user will need to browse for. Users know exactly what they need as they are engineers, the part is broken and they refer to printed part item number lists. However, the system will need to substitute an alternative part if the part entered is unavailable.

Within the current application users must select a machine and based on a machine selection are provided with a form to search the bill of materials associated with that machine. The results will only return the parts available for that machine. The users then can added a selected part to cart. Then they may change their machine (up to 390 machines) and search again... and add again... and so forth until their parts list is complete.

As you can imagine this select > search > add > select (all on different screens) method is slow. I'm thinking of providing a solution that simply provides the user with all the form fields required to add a part to cart. The form (pictured below) would employ a autosuggest on both the machine selection and item number fields to provide accuracy in entries. Also the intended behavior is that the Order Type, Urgency and Machine S/N would all stay populated with the last entry after an add to cart to support further speed to completion.

My question is are there any other alternative layouts that would support fast item entry? Please keep in mind part number entry needs to perform a lookup so that correct part number is added and the correct part number list is based on the Machine S/N entry.

enter image description here

My first thought is to include inline form fields embedded in the rows (like excel)... or in a row above the table (or maybe the last table cell) might be an alternative solution. Any feedback is welcome.

###### UPDATE #######

I updated the mockup to show Order Type and Urgency as order level fields and indicated required fields.

###### Alternative Idea 1 #######

In this mockup the standard list view entry pattern is utilized.

enter image description here

  • Which fields are required? EG: do we need to enter a reason and case-number for every part? Also how often does Urgency change on a per part base? Or per machine base? You have an "Order type", how often does that change on a per part basis? I guess the main question is: Which data is usually per order, which data per machine en which per part? Jul 16, 2014 at 13:39
  • My initial mockup is slightly incorrect and I will change. The Order Type and Urgency field are order level fields and are required. I need to move them above the order form, or ideally ask them prior to this screen and list them as a literal. The machine serial, Item #, Reason, Qty and when presented (for certain user profiles) case id are all line level fields and are required to facilitate an order.
    – Mark
    Jul 16, 2014 at 13:44

1 Answer 1


One idea, if applicable based on your data set and architecture, could be to have :

  • one single quick search field
  • using predictive typing
  • and live refresh of search results.

Your users could then start typing, say, "repl 113" and the predictive typing would suggest "replenishment" as they type the "l" (in real time during typing, so difficult to render here in a static text...) and as they type the "3", the real-time refresh of the search results would be such that only the items comprising, say "Onsite replenishment kit" for the machine with S/N starting with "113247A" would still appear.

Then, one single click on one of the results would add the item to the list to make the whole process easy and short.

Note : from a back-end perspective, this kind of feature implies the implementation of multi-field search of course.

  • Thank you for your suggestion. I do like the autosuggest idea and think it can aid in form input, but there are additional fields required other than item selection. There is a plan to have a word index on both the item number and item description fields, so I believe suggesting an entry list based on partial input of description is viable.
    – Mark
    Jul 16, 2014 at 14:38

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