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I was hoping to solve this data entry problem with an accordion form, but now I'm not so sure if this is the right way to do it.

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I am concerned that information might get lost if I place the save button at the end of the form.

If I place it within the panels it seems more like a wizard (stepping from one panel to the next one). The record details are not always needed so a wizard is too time consuming.

Additionaly I should also add a "Save and create new Actor"-Button.

Any alternative ideas or adaptions that might be better suited to this design problem?

  • Why don't you just save on the fly and replace the "Save" Button with an "Confirm"-Button. If the user wants to delete the set he can click at the top "delete" – BlueWizard Aug 10 '15 at 12:27
  • Yes, I have been contemplating this and I think that might be the best solution. Let's see what the programming team thinks about this. – Christine Aug 11 '15 at 12:39
  • I dont think it would be hard. I'm programming myself and it just would be 2 Buttons and a single fuction that saves every N seconds. – BlueWizard Aug 11 '15 at 13:42
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If all the information in the steps (Person; Relation; Reference; Files) is mandatory, and you are worried that there is a high risk of failure to save (timeout / system failure), then it would make more sense to make this a multi-step process, and replace 'Save' with 'Next'.

Of course, you can also auto-save on opening of the next accordion, and achieve the same results. However, the use of the accordion pattern in this type of form is not really standard, and therefore may be confusing. Also the way it is implemented here makes the information look like it is non-mandatory, in my opinion. If it is non-mandatory data, then by all means carry on, as I think it would work quite nicely.

The drawback with a multi-step solution, is that you have to find a way to return to a part-saved form, and that is a whole extra set of use cases which may not be worth it, depending on who your audience is.

My experience of user testing on large-scale public-facing projects is that customers perceive really big forms as off-putting. Well, they say that they do when you interview them. I have never seen any data that proves a large form increases dropout rates, but I can believe it would. So that might be a good argument for adding in the partial-save use cases.

However (and I'm making an assumption here) your form looks like it would be used by a small set of users who would use it multiple times and rapidly gain expertise. Also that they would be adding more than one person per session. If that is correct, I would not bother with the extra complexity. This kind of user would be hampered by the additional steps and time taken, they might appreciate being able to enter / cut and paste information into the form in different order, and probably would not be intimidated by a long form.

If this is the case, my instinct would be to provide one big long form.

Hope this helps

  • Thank you for your answer. Yes, your assumption are right: it will be a small set of users who will use it multiple times. – Christine Aug 10 '15 at 12:07
  • Thank you for your quick answer. Yes, your assumptions are absolutely right: it will be a small set of users, who will use it multiple times. Only the name is mandatory, but most data of the first panel will be entered. The other three panels (Relation, Reference, Files) will only be used in some cases. Would you still go with one long form or keep it the way it is? – Christine Aug 10 '15 at 12:17
  • I think it would work well as it is (on this point) but the only way to tell would be to do a bit of user testing. Nothing fancy, just some rapid iterative testing. You have the prototype. If you don't have instant access to users, just email it to a user and give them a ring with a few questions about how it would work for them. – jackiemb Aug 10 '15 at 12:26

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