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data entry best practices?

By craig.cody ·
I'm looking for a reference on how to best design a Windows GUI for heads-down, no mouse, data entry usage.

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data entry best practices?

by donq In reply to data entry best practices ...

Your question MUST specify what product you're designing with before it can be answered to satisfy YOUR needs.

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data entry best practices?

by craig.cody In reply to data entry best practices ...

This is primarily an order entry system w/ some customer service aspects. Examples of issues that we're running into include defining which keys exit a field and how to avoid requiring mouse usage. I'm looking for a reference on best practicesto reduce keystrokes within a MS Windows environment.

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data entry best practices?

by Limbo In reply to data entry best practices ...

I remember having a conversation about this particular interface style many years ago.

Here's the solution, but I have to hazard a guess as to your platform, as your detail is limited...

Using VB, design a prototype similar to the 'Batch' entry routine your are envisioning. For simplicity sake, use just one standard form, on which place a number of TextBox controls.

Now picture the fashion in which the control focus and data entry will flow. This ideally should be as natural to read as possible (i.e. left to right, top to bottom in western cultures). This is called your 'Tab Sequence'. Design the form to reflect this logic.

At design time, select each TextBox in turn, and change the 'TabIndex' property to reflect the Tab Sequence you envisaged above. You are now describing the flow of data entry.

Run this prototype, press the 'Tab' key and 'Shift+Tab' keys and you will be able to cover the whole span of the form.

Right, now apply this principle to the controls which you will use to perform your DB functions (save, delete etc). One easy method is to place a number of CommandButtons on the form. These can also be included in the Tab Sequence described above.

Alternatively use a toolbar, but in keeping with your limited mouse use, I would strongly recommend the use of a Menu on this form, as this allows you to access controls with keyboard short-cuts which you can define.

A few best practices:

Do NOT place a control one this type of form whichcan't be accessed by keyboard.

Do NOT ignore the fact that most users will still want to use the mouse when not entering data.

Use the 'validate' event of the TextBoxes before moving focus.

Use the 'KeyPress' event of the TextBoxes if you want to bind extra keystrokes (i.e. Hitting Return to also move focus)

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data entry best practices?

by Limbo In reply to data entry best practices ...

Specific references to this Interface Design principle can be found on MSDN Online if you search with keywords like 'Batch Entry', 'Tab Sequence', 'TabIndex' etc.

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data entry best practices?

by craig.cody In reply to data entry best practices ...

I'm not looking for any tool specific tool solution. I'm interested in common best practices. For example, is it better to have one long scrolling form or many smaller forms?

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