First some context, I'm building an application that will be used by professionals working on cars. Each time they do this they are required to fill out a form, the goal of our mobile app is do to allow them to do this in an easy way while working on the car.

The users are required to fill in a form where a unique ID is entered. This unique ID consists out of numbers and letters (eg: VNXAJOI17890894A)

I'm looking for a way to optimize this process. With a default keyboard the user will consistently have to switch between number and letter input. Is there a way around this?

next problem: besides the unique ID they'll also have to fill in a number value (ranging 0, 999.999) What is the pust input method, using the number keyboard or some other input method?


  • 2
    How are the ID's handed over to the handler? Verbally or on document? If it's via document you could introduce an OCR (Optical Character Recognition) in the application, where the user uses the camera of the device to instantly scan the ID. This is used in for example many mobile Banking services. Nov 13, 2014 at 12:26
  • Mostly it is indeed done based on a document. I like your idea to use OCR but I'm not sure we can implement this in our limited timeframe. But I'm definitely going to suggest is!
    – Joris
    Nov 13, 2014 at 12:35
  • There are quite many libraries to use, many whom are free to use also. If you can recommend the client to print the ID separately on the document in an easily programmatically recognized font for scanning it would make the process easier for the technician, faster and most importantly reduce the number of errors. Nov 13, 2014 at 12:59
  • Unfortunately we have no control over the documents being used. However, I did just found out that in their process their using a document that contains a barcode with the required id. Thanks for the feedback!
    – Joris
    Nov 13, 2014 at 14:32
  • Ohh cool, that should prove really helpful when using a scanner! =) Nov 13, 2014 at 14:34

1 Answer 1


Here's how I solved this in a similar app: When the default keyboard is presented, you also present a second subview above the keyboard with the buttons [1][2][3] etc. horizontally across the top row. Those buttons essentially act as a "faux" keyboard row that shows/hides with the keyboard.

You can also bypass the default keyboard altogether and design your own custom keyboard, but that seems overkill for what you need.

Regarding your second question, the answer depends on the most common range(s) of numbers that will be input. If you don't know, go with the standard number pad entry until you can get additional user feedback.

  • Thanks for the input! Do you have any examples where this is used?
    – Joris
    Dec 12, 2014 at 9:15

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