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Users of my product are farmers and farmhands, and will be entering lots of different types of data about their cows via tablets (likely in portrait mode) whilst out in the field. How can I optimise the data entry experience so that it's as quick and easy as possible? Stuff I have in mind:

  • (obvious) Making everything reasonably big, especially buttons
  • (obvious) Appropriate tablet keyboard layout for data type (number/date/text)
  • Multi step forms instead one long scrolling ones (so they only have to consider one thing at a time, cognitive load, yada yada)

What else can I do? I'm particularly worried about the fact that each data entry flow will begin with them searching for the particular cow that they want to enter data for. They will be able to search either by the cow's name or the cow's ID. I currently have a live search box showing the 3 closest matching results underneath like so:

Data entry flow step 1 - selecting the animal

Is there any way I can optimise this for tablets?

Also for the scenarios in which a number is being entered (e.g. recording the cow's weight), I'm planning to have a number input box as well as a slider that can be used to increase/decrease the value of the input - is this good UX?

Thanks

  • Just curious as to whether you ever got this app finished? If so, I thought I might check it out for my wife's parents. – Monomeeth Jun 21 '17 at 12:24
  • @Monomeeth thanks for the interest! I'm no longer at the company (was an intern last summer) but they've made a lot of progress over the past year and will be launching very soon - tlbiolabs.com – Taimur Jul 6 '17 at 13:50
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I think you're on the right track. However, I do think you need to consider a few things.

Multi-step forms

My wife's parents own a farm and you never know what can happen on any given day (tractor breaking down, missing cows, faulty livestock scales, etc) so I would provide:

  • a way for the user to select which part of the multi-step form they want to complete, so that they're not restricted to having to follow the steps sequentially. This would allow users the option of only completing the info they can at the time in case they can't do it all in one hit.
  • the ability to save the data (even if it's not complete yet).

Slider v Number Input Box

If for whatever reason you decide it's one or the other, go with the number input box. Sliders can be tricky to get to the exact value on touch screens, although I suppose you could use larger increments than single units so it's just capturing a value that is rounded to the nearest number.

Other

Also, I would ensure your app provides at least the following options:

  • Selecting the units of measurement (pounds v kilograms, metres v feet, etc) so the potential market for your app is broader
  • Choosing background and text colour (this allows users to adapt the interface depending on the outside weather etc so that the screen is easily viewable).

Hope this helps.

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Replace all short (>=5) lists in comboboxes with button ranges, as explained here https://uxdesign.cc/design-better-forms-96fadca0f49c

Yes, having a precise entry input form is a good idea.

Consider using a sliding wheel with values (like in the iOS date picker) for weight and age, it is easier to operate than slider on touch.

Your search list might benefit from the filters, for example, cow's sex switch/buttons, age, other criteria.

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