Ways to speed up data entry, esp with drop downs?

Discussion created by dougbrowning on Apr 3, 2019
Latest reply on Apr 4, 2019 by dougbrowning

Getting some push back from users on data entry speed in Survey123.  Users expected a fast modern app but so far it is slower than our 15 year old Access program.  


The main slowness issue is the speed of using autocomplete drop down lists.  Our last app could look into Form1 and use it as the drop down list in Form2.  We of course cannot do that in 123 so all lists must include the full 1,500 long list.  This means that where in the past a user could tap the drop down, minor scroll, tap item (2 taps) but now they must tap to start typing, type 3 chars to narrow the list enough, then tap the choice (5 taps).  We have this drop down as many as 12 times per repeat, with 50 repeats.  So we just added 1,800 taps to the field workers day on just 1 form!  They then do this form 3 times at each site.  First reports back are that this form is now taking the user 3 times longer than the 15 year old form.


Any tips to speed this all up?


First idea was move common choices to the top of the list.  One issue here is that varies by where they are in the country.


Second idea was to use predictivetext and have android start guessing the choices based on previous.  But predictivetext does not work with drop down lists.  Could survey123 feed choices to android?


Third idea is that the list learns what items are picked most often and sorts on that.  But this is not possible in 123 currently.


I am sure the team wants it to be faster so here is some input.  Overall the field workers feel that 123 is still a bit clunky.  I have to agree.  When it was beta it was ok but now that we are in v3 it is time to take a hard look at the UI.  Consider having a field UI expert look at this.  Things like the buttons being so small (esp the drop down arrow) are important to field works with big dirty hands.  I think us developers can be guilty of only testing in the office without sun, rain, dirt, etc.  I know I have done that.  Taking the forms/tablets outside for some real world testing needs to be made more important in my opinion.  Speed becomes very important when you are out in the hot sun all day.  It is enough of an issue that it could kill adoption for us.  At my last job we ended up creating a custom app where we sent out a crew, they said too slow, we made it faster, still slow, 20 more iterations.  Took a lot of back and forth but it finally got to the point of keeping up with the human.  In the field speed trumps all else.


Thanks for any ideas!