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[OT] Ultimate Interface.

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by Andoni, Sep 30, 2004.

  1. Andoni

    Andoni Guest


    I have been asked by a charity in my home town to consult on getting a
    computer system in to manage their rota of slightly over 300 volunteers
    filling about 180 different duties (time slots) in a week.

    The biggest problem they have without a doubt is getting the 60-80 year old
    volunteers who form about 40% of the total number, to use any form of
    computer interface to book duties where now a days the fill their names out
    on a sheet of paper in the box representing the duty they want to do.

    Can you please give me suggestions for hardware mostly as to the VERY
    simplest possible way to get somebody to enter data into a computer system.

    In case you were wondering I am not being paid for this enterprise, so any
    help you give is directly beneficial to the charity only.

    Ideas I have come up with include having a big (say 19") touch screen with
    no windowing so that they would have to press only twice, once on their name
    and once on the duty they want to fill. Another is a scanner for reading the
    hand written notes, but these are all expensive and can probably be

    Any thoughts?

    Thanks in advance,
    Andoni, Sep 30, 2004
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  2. Go with the first, I'd say. The problem with the second is not so much the
    vulnerability of the hardware - handwriting recognition is something
    software cannot do reliably (Hell, *people* can't do it reliably!).

    Make sure the writing is big and easy to read. Find a simple to understand
    way to partition the names an duty slots. Probably a scrolling alphabetical
    list for the names, then the days of the next week or month and finally
    the open duties of that day, perhaps also the filled ones to allow
    people to cancel an appointment they have made.

    The biggest complication (if you want to introduce it) is going to be
    recurring duties and people doing them regularly.
    Michael Borgwardt, Sep 30, 2004
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  3. Andoni

    Apollo Guest

    Completely agree with the touch screen idea. Software ideas that spring
    to mind are a 'simple' visual basic app for the front-end linked to an
    Access database for the recording, reporting and traceability.
    Apollo, Sep 30, 2004
  4. Andoni

    CBFalconer Guest

    KISS, i.e. keep it simple. This means no mice. They probably are
    all familiar with at least typewriters, so a keyboard should not
    be scary. Any menus should be clear, and easily selected,
    possibly by cursor control keys or by entering single digits
    and/or characters.

    You don't specify the system, so I will assume MsDos/Windoze.
    Install 4dos, which is free these days <http://jpsoft.com>. This
    allows some very nice menuing and selection operations, and is
    upward compatible with the brain damaged Microsoft shells. You
    might well be able to do everything in batch files. You can
    configure the console for large print and 40 char. lines, thus
    allowing for poor eyesight.

    At the same time, don't assume any idiocy. I can confidently
    assert that people in their 70s can be very knowledgeable and

    You neglected to set follow-ups, which you should do whenever
    crossposting to multiple newsgroups. I am answering in a.c.h.
    CBFalconer, Sep 30, 2004
  5. Andoni

    ~misfit~ Guest

    Yep. If you've got that many volunteers doing that much stuff it shouldn't
    be too hard to train a couple up for the 'plumb job' of data entry. Maybe
    you have a couple who's time isn't being utilised due to lack of mobility?
    ~misfit~, Sep 30, 2004
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