I am using a Bar-code scanner on my mobile app (Android) to update items at a remote server. The user can either want to scan to increase the item's quantity by 1 or decrease by 1 each time they scan.

I wanted to be able to straight away scan the item 10 times and increase the item quantity by 10. This doesn't work as each time a single scan is made, the page switches out of the Bar-code scanning page to previous page. So I got to make do with 1 item scan at a time, go back to previous page and come back again for 2nd scan and so on.

Concept One - 1 way I could go about it is to make a main page with 2 separate buttons, 1 for "scan to add" and another for "scan to remove".

Pressing 'scan to add' would divert me to "ADD" page with a button. Clicking the button activates the scanner where I scan 1 at a time, update the server and go back to the "ADD" page again.

Same for the 'scan to remove' where it will have moved the user to a "REMOVE" page with a button.

I just don't find the concept of an entire page with 1 button appealing.

Concept 1

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Another way is to have a single "Bar-code Scanner" button on the main page which immediately brings user to the scanning page where they scan item. Upon scanning, a Dialogue box appears asking to "add or remove"? Once the user chooses, item is updated and back to main page.

Concept 2

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I feel both ways looks cumbersome and not user friendly. Is there any better way to tackle this? I am not even able to find applications with similar situation to compare and find ideas.

2 Answers 2


Since you seem to be developing for android, I'd suggest you to integrate your barcode scanner into your activity itself, rather than switching context to a new activity.

Lets take a look at how google messenger handles a similar problem. It pops up a neat little preview without going out of the chat window when you have to click an image (download the app and try it for yourself, its really neat!) Take a loot at google messenger

How do I do it?

Use a sliding up panel : https://github.com/umano/AndroidSlidingUpPanel and nest a fragment that covers only half screen width.

Use this barcode scanner library: https://github.com/dm77/barcodescanner that allows scanner to work in fragments.

  • Once the bar code is scanned, you could ask the user how many of these items they want to count (the default is 1, since they always scanned just one bar code).
    – JeromeR
    Dec 12, 2015 at 15:18
  • Use a listview to display the scanned item, provide +, - controls on the right side of each list item to increase or decrease the quantity, simple enough? Dec 12, 2015 at 15:20
  • 1
    @JeromeR With regards to scanning, user will not know immediately how many they going to scan. Imagine like scanning at a supermarket checkout station. could be just 1, 2 or maybe another one 10 seconds later. So asking end user on the count number every time is not ideal.
    – cubeb
    Dec 12, 2015 at 18:59
  • @user3210476 Thanks. I am looking into the Google Messenger. So in my case, I would have a dialogue alert asking add or remove. So its concept 2, but steps 1,3,2? Like the +- idea a lot. But again since user may or may not need to add more items, moving them to the new listview activity could end up being an unnecessary step.
    – cubeb
    Dec 12, 2015 at 19:07

You have two workflows: one for adding items through scanning and one for removing items through scanning.

  1. workflow- usually one needs to scan a bulk of barcodes i.e. supermarket, warehouse, delivery. Therefore it is very important to be fast with less clicks possible. I suggest have a "Scan item" button which opens a scanner view. In the scanner view add a item immediately once a barcode is recognised and scanned. And there is a button "Add another scan" for next scan. Button shouöd be easily reachable by fingers. This way each scan needs just one click.

  2. workflow removing item - I doubt that you need to scan a barcode in order to remove an item. Usually one needs to remove an already scanned item (double scan or wrong id,...) out of a list. I suggest offer in the scanned items list an option to remove an item.

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