I am investigating the ways of solving the following UX task:

There is a user (sales person). They have a tablet. They want just a multiline edit field where they can enter any text about their meeting with the potential customer. They do not want to choose the proper field in the form.

So they can end up with something like this:

John Doe

Company Best Inc.

Discussed this, this and that.

Made an appointment for the next week on Thu.

They are planning the budget around $99999

Will offer them our MEGA PACK #2 next time

So after a long day having a dozen of meetings the sales-person has to fill this data in their company's CRM. E.g. enter John Doe in the Customer Name, enter Will offer them our MEGA PACK #2 next time in the Notes for the next meeting etc.

Tablet can submit the data into CRM via API so they can do association on a tablet i.e. no need to re-type all this stuff on laptop/computer.

The naive solution of setting the association between parts of the text in a multiline text edit with fields in a form is to copy and paste appropriate parts of the text into a form on tablet. Say having the text and the form side-by-side. This solution is completely unacceptable.

The question I have:

What are known elegant solutions of visual and fast association of the parts of the data from a multi-line text edit with a pre-defined set of types?

1 Answer 1


You could use keywords and delimiters to have the code automatically parse the text and format it in a small preview window.

For your example:

John Doe // First line is always the name
@ Company Best Inc. // use @ symbol to denote company name line
disc this, this and that. // the line starting with the disc keyword is the discussion info
appt Made an appointment for the next week on Thu. // The line beginning with the appt keyword gets put in the appointment info. Maybe you can try and use regular expressions to parse the text and create a date-time format.
bdgt They are planning the budget around $99999 // Same strategy as previous lines
next Will offer them our MEGA PACK #2 next time // Same strategy as previous lines

The final text could look like:

John Doe
@ Company Best Inc.
disc this, this and that
appt next week on th
bdgt $99999
next Will offer them our MEGA PACK #2

The benefit to this approach is that the lines can be arranged in any order (except the first line which is always reserved for the client name). If you do it properly, you'll be able to parse each line using the different keywords and automate your data entry. Be sure to add in some error handling in case there are fields missing or lines can't be parsed.

Good luck!

  • 1
    You could then have these in a dropdown list at the start of the line which would be picked up if typed or could be selected after the fact
    – Gilsham
    Jun 12, 2016 at 23:43
  • Thanks guys on thinking with me. I have similar thought but I want to justify it with experts.
    – nickolay
    Jun 15, 2016 at 18:28
  • 1
    @DaddyM You're very welcome! I tell my clients to test designs (at each level of fidelity) with users because a test is worth a thousand expert opinions. Jun 16, 2016 at 17:02
  • @Gilsham Great idea, almost like an in-line autocomplete! Jun 16, 2016 at 17:03
  • @PhilipBarcelon Saint Truth. Upvoted.
    – nickolay
    Jun 19, 2016 at 9:40

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