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The Los Angeles User Experience Meetup Message Board › Designing complex data entry forms

Designing complex data entry forms

Brian W.
bwold
Sherman Oaks, CA
Post #: 3
Hello UI Geniuses,

I'm researching interface patterns for complex data entry -- looking for examples of forms/interfaces that present many data fields in a usable way. We have a concept of how to handle things, but I'm looking for "it's been done before" or "here's why that's a bad idea." I've seen plenty of examples so far: linear, tabbed or grouped, clustered or grouped, three-dimensional, and so on. Hoping to find some research on what works better for large data sets.

There are a lot of great user-focused forms out there... that have three fields. And I'm all for simplicity, but this is for an admin back end that will be used daily by a team of researchers to enter and maintain data. They will be creating records made up of multiple bits of data, which in many cases will link to (or create new) bits of other data, and so on. Each record might have 30-150 pieces of information associated with it.

My experience has been that admin screens are typically ugly and poorly designed, but these will be employees, after all -- they deserve at least a usable interface. (And if they can enter and maintain data faster, with less frustration, that's a good thing.)

Any resources you can point us to would be most appreciated.

Thanks in advance,

-Brian Wold
Web Consultant
Henry H.
user 56302112
Los Angeles, CA
Post #: 1
Check out Jetblue's UI they use and then compare it to United.com. Maybe that will give you some inspiration as a starting point?
Dustin G.
user 12295994
Los Angeles, CA
Post #: 5
Hi Brian,
I've been working on wireframes for a client management dashboard here at my company which is a travel operation. I've found that accordions are a great way to handle large areas of input fields and present them to the user in a simple way. Each set of fields is hidden within the accordion until the user opens the accordion and can edit the fields.

I've put forms in accordions but on my current project Im using it to organize my nav. I did a variety of AB tests on Verify App getting tester's perspectives on what they thought was easier for navigating, tabs that reveal sub nav bars, drop down menus with multiple sub nav levels or accordions and the feedback consistently favored the accordion nav. Not sure if that's what your looking for but accordions have certainly helped me organize large sets of links and fields.

On a similar note, Kayak does a great job of organizing large sets of travel information. Search for a flight and look at their search results. The way they use accordions to organize information is top notch.
good luck
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