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We found a peculiar problem in our users when they enter their data. They tend to enter similar entries sometimes.

I'll cite an example here.

If there is a customer with the name ABC Electric Corporation already in the system, they sometimes enter the ABC Electric Corp. or sometimes ABC Elec. Corporation

We use this node package to show a set of similar names to the user when he is creating a new customer.

The question is when should we really prompt the user that he may be entering a duplicate customer?

We show the set of similar names when more than x% matches? What should be value of x?

2 Answers 2

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I would personally go with a dropdown select that would show values already present in the database, starting at 2 or 3 chars entered.

That way, when your client enter ABC, he will see a dropdown with "ABC Electric Corporation" if already present.

Now, in case your user start by entering "BAC El..", you may try to use the NodeJS module you mentionned to find similarities, but it's not guarantee that with few chars, it will be efficient.

You can leave it up to your users (they can not be perfect ;)).

An other solution would be to suggest existing name AFTER they have submitted the form but this would require one more step for the user that may not be necessary (he may have this list even when entering a new, correct, name, adding one more step to something not necessary).

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  • Yes, this would suffice if the user is entering the name correctly. ABC in this example, but It would not work if the user hastily enters BAC Electric Corporation in haste.
    – Vivek Todi
    Dec 3, 2014 at 10:04
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    You have two options : Either use the node module to search variants, or expect that you cannot fix your users ;)
    – Cyril N.
    Dec 3, 2014 at 10:06
  • Haha, I do not wish to leave it up to the users. We are going ahead with the node module, just wanted to know what should be the threshold for similarity in names.
    – Vivek Todi
    Dec 3, 2014 at 10:10
  • An other solution would be to display a suggestion page after the user has submitted the form in case you find similarities, but in most case, it will be new data, and you will just bother your user with one more step :/
    – Cyril N.
    Dec 3, 2014 at 10:15
  • (I updated my answer regarding the comments)
    – Cyril N.
    Dec 3, 2014 at 10:18
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I haven't read if the tool you're using supports this, but from a UX perspective, what I personally would prefer is something that will continually search as I type looking for matches and displays a drop-down once the number of potential matches is sufficiently low.

By that I mean something along the lines of; match anything that's at least an 80% match of the characters typed so far, but only show the drop-down if that list has around 10 items or less. Obviously, at that point you also want to include keyboard navigation of the entries (up/down keys, enter to select).

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