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I am developing an application that tracks a person's employment, wages, and how they change while within a program the person has enrolled in.

This also means there are three types of jobs:

  1. Jobs that ended before enrolled in the program - we only want to collect their beginning wage and ending wage here.
  2. Jobs that started before enrollment, but are ongoing while enrolled in the program - we want the beginning wage and then want to track any changes to their wage from the date of enrollment forward.
  3. Jobs that begin while in-program - similar to the last, as we want the beginning wage and any change.

My solution is by using two sets of fields:

Set 1:

Beginning Wage

[$______]

Current/Final Wage

[$______]

 

Set 2: (repeatable, only visible for the 2nd and 3rd job type)

Date of Change

[___/____/______]

Amount

[$________]

Here's the problem with this: I would have to update the "Current/Final Wage" value in Set 1 with the last "Amount" in Set 2 automatically, or validate that the user did this on their own. This feels wrong. I'd rather the design doesn't require that changing one field leads to a separate field changing automatically.

Any other suggestions on how to fix this problem?

  • if you want to track "how they change while within a program the person has enrolled in", I don't see why you care about your first case. Quite probably we need more information here because it's not clear what you want to track and why (and how) is this causing a problem – Devin May 31 '16 at 18:49
  • We want every job the person has had. And we want to know what their beginning wage was for each job. The reason why we want this information is because I am building an app that tracks someone's wages. I'm not sure what other information I would need to provide you to help you understand. – invot May 31 '16 at 20:40
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I don't think it's necessary to split these two. For each job (including all three types of job mentioned in your question), I would have your Set 2, but I would add a note along the lines of "If you don't remember the exact date, you can either guess as best as you can, or leave the field blank."

That way, it's the same experience to the user in either case, thus reducing their cognitive load, and collecting more data than you're actually going to use isn't a bad thing.

Alternatively, you could structure it like this:

Beginning Wage

[$______]

[ ] This is my current/final wage

[+ Add Wage Change]

And clicking "Add Wage Change" would reveal this:

Beginning Wage

[$______]

Date of Wage Change

[___/____/______]

Amount

[$________]

[ ] This is my current/final wage for this job

[+ Add Wage Change]

So they have the option to add as many wage changes as they want, plus they're entering it in chronological order which makes sense to the users. Also, by indicating the final wage with a checkbox, you eliminate the auto-population issue.

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