Situation: There are items (physically delivered, only of value virtually) that are populated into a datatable after a specified time period (lets call it 7 days for concrete reference), however, the method users get their items is via USPS or UPS so they may receive them before the allotted 7 days. This datatable is used for selecting one, many, or all items in order to take an action (print, redeem, view, etc.) If they receive their item before the allotted '7 day' period they may have their item but are unable to act on the item.

Goal: We are looking to add a 'manual entry' of their item.

Ideas, thus far:

  • A auto-complete text box that allows the tracking number to be entered and then the item is added to the datatable. Minimum input of 3-5 to prevent guessing numbers [0-9].
  • A "pick the card" type game, where the images are randomly chosen from our database of possibles with their item being listed. Guess the card game, example

The idea behind both is that we aren't trying to keep the items away from the user but we have the need for some "secrecy" as these items are supposed to be a surprise to the user.

Is the image picker too progressive to be understood? Does the auto-complete cause more of a barrier to adding the item? Is there some other idea that you view as a more elegant solution?

Additional Info: These items hold monetary value and are used to complete a redemption for a gift card. Without the item in the grid we are unable to multi-select that value and they may be missing out on the item they (the item recipient) had just received.

  • why do you want customers to manually add items? what's the value to them/you?
    – Midas
    Commented Apr 1, 2016 at 11:59
  • Manually adding the item allows for multiselection in the data grid. There is a big backlog of business behind the problem and i tried to abstract the details to only the pertinent.
    – O'Mutt
    Commented Apr 1, 2016 at 15:15
  • Use your user experience considerations to ask the question better.
    – Confused
    Commented Apr 1, 2016 at 16:22
  • 2
    "better" is a subjective term and should not be used to give direction. Please use your user experience considerations to ask for changes to my question better.
    – O'Mutt
    Commented Apr 1, 2016 at 16:45
  • @Mutmatt If you're still interested in working something out for this, I have a question about the secrecy aspect. What about the items is supposed to be a surprise to the user? I understand everything about your question except this.
    – dennislees
    Commented Apr 29, 2016 at 1:36

1 Answer 1


Could you have a url that populates the database? Something like domain.com/autopopulator.php?itemid=thecode

If so I would use a qr code. Most users have them, they dont have to input anything and you can send them directly to some congratulations page without the middle step.

Btw, very interesting question. :)

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