Making repair data easier to record - we need your feedback!

We all know why it’s important to record data about the repairs we attempt at our events: measuring our environmental impact, tracking our success rates, spotting trends and, of course, powering the Right to Repair movement.

But actually entering repair data into the system can feel like a chore and most of us would prefer to spend that time organising events or actually repairing.

For years, we’ve been trying to make entering data faster and easier while still recording the details that matter most. Now, we’ve got a new idea that we’d like to run past you…

What’s the problem we’re trying to fix? :hammer_and_wrench:

At the moment, when you add a new item to an event, you first choose a category that matches the item from a long dop-down menu. Depending on the category you choose, you may then see a new box appear asking you what the item is - we call this the ‘item type’ field.

For example, here’s how to enter a blender :blender::

  1. Select ‘Small kitchen item’ from the drop down menu
  2. Type ‘blender’ into the item type field that appears

Entering an item

The category and item type are crucially important. They allow the system calculate the environmental impact of repairing that item and are vital for accurately grouping types of products when we analyse the data.

But this process can sometimes feel a little cumbersome. Selecting the right category isn’t always straight-forward. For example, knowing that ‘small kitchen item’ is the correct category for a blender :blender: isn’t intuitive unless you read through all of the categories, which takes time.

Because of this, mistakes can easily creep in. This makes impact stats less accurate and the overall collection of data that we’re building less useful for Right to Repair campaigns.

:speak_no_evil: From January 2021 to May 2022, around 9% of all powered items entered were put into the wrong category.

What’s the solution we’re proposing? :nerd_face:

We want to make this data easier to enter and more accurate. The basic idea is simply to move the ‘item type’ field to the top and use what you type there to automatically choose the item category.

For example, here’s how to enter a blender with this proposed design:

  1. Type ‘blender’ into the item type field
  2. The form will automatically select ‘small kitchen item’ as the item category . The category will pulse to indicate that it’s chosen a value for you, but that you can change it if you want.

New data entry method

In theory, this should save you time as you won’t have to choose a category in most cases. You can still change the category manually if the system guesses wrong, but it should be pretty accurate most of the time.

What do you think? :index_pointing_at_the_viewer:

We’d love to hear what you think, both about the general idea behind this new method and also about how we’re proposing to implement it.

Try the form yourself! :test_tube:

Follow these steps:

  1. Go to our testing site: https://communitytest.restarters.dev/login
  2. Log into the testing site with:
    username: testhost@therestartproject.org
    password: testhost
  3. Go to this test event and try adding items using the experimental form: https://communitytest.restarters.dev/party/view/4550

Please tell us how you find it! :mega:

Here are some questions we’re particularly keen to answer:

  • Is it easier to use? Do you think it could save you time?
  • Does it guess the correct category for the items you enter?
  • What do you think of the category pulsing? Is there a better way to indicate that the category can be changed?

What next?

After hearing your feedback, we’ll either introduce this change, tweak it before introducing it or go back to the drawing board (if everyone hates it!)

We’re also considering some other ideas:

  • replacing categories altogether with tags or attributes (e.g. for size, function, material etc.)
  • adding space to upload photos of items when entering them, which could then be shared on social media and used to increase data quality
  • merging the powered and unpowered forms into one ‘add item’ form

Any thoughts you have on these ideas are also very welcome :slight_smile:

6 Likes

Have given it a go…answers to your questions:

  • I think it is easier to use…once I’ve got used to it, and could save a click and data entry errors

  • have tried a few times and seems to choose what I think is the correct category, with the exception of flat screens…for example I typed in ‘Computer Monitor’ and it chose ‘Desktop Computer’, but there are ‘flat screen’ option in the Computing list…however, there are also ‘flat screens’ in the ‘Home Entertainment’ section. And when I tried entering ‘TV’ it selected the ‘TV & Gaming Related Accessories’…I think it should probably go under one of the flat screens.

  • Also I initially typed in ‘Computer Monitor’ and it said there isn’t that category already…made me wonder what happens with the categorising if people add new 'What is it’s

  • And personally not a major fan of the pulsing, but can’t think of anything else, other than the fact there is the drop down arrow next to it, so I think I’d realise I could adapt it if it looked really odd without the pulse…but that might just be me.
2 Likes

Hello @London_Hosts @Mario_De_Marco @Dermot_Jones @sami any feedback on this? Would be massively appreciated :slight_smile:

2 Likes

Thanks @Clare_Seek !

I think it is easier to use…once I’ve got used to it, and could save a click and data entry errors

Good to hear :slight_smile:

have tried a few times and seems to choose what I think is the correct category, with the exception of flat screens…for example I typed in ‘Computer Monitor’ and it chose ‘Desktop Computer’, but there are ‘flat screen’ option in the Computing list…however, there are also ‘flat screens’ in the ‘Home Entertainment’ section. And when I tried entering ‘TV’ it selected the ‘TV & Gaming Related Accessories’…I think it should probably go under one of the flat screens.

That’s brilliant, good spotting! We’ll have a look at those. That does indeed lead in to your next question…

Also I initially typed in ‘Computer Monitor’ and it said there isn’t that category already…made me wonder what happens with the categorising if people add new 'What is it’s

The category suggestions are made from all of the existing records that have been added to the Fixometer so far. So if someone types in ‘Drill’, we quickly search all the existing records that already have the item type of ‘Drill’, see which is the most common categorisation for them, and then make the suggestion based on that. If we can’t find anything, we select none of the above and prompt to select a category, which will then be used as one of the records for suggestions going forwards. So for completely new item types, it’ll be a kind of wisdom of the crowds to begin with. We’ll be checking in on regularly to see if anything doesn’t look right.

For ‘Computer Monitor’ we most likely don’t have it, as at present if someone selects a specific category such as ‘Flat Screen’ or ‘Kettle’ we don’t then ask ‘what is it’. We can backfill some of the records for those specific categories and that should then give us better initial suggestions there.

And personally not a major fan of the pulsing, but can’t think of anything else, other than the fact there is the drop down arrow next to it, so I think I’d realise I could adapt it if it looked really odd without the pulse…but that might just be me.

That’s a good shout - it could be that we don’t need anything at all. (Or at least just something a bit more subtle.)

1 Like

This takes too much time , and internet connexion (more kwh).
A system with an Excel* Table was announced, we wait for this system.
Albert Derbaix (RC 1170 Brussels)

Hello James and Shelini

I entered all the data from our event yesterday as normal and noticed that the photo upload function was in the ‘live’ version. Great idea and I’ll use it next time.

I like the non powered and powered items being separate.

Weight of item doesn’t always show up to enter, not sure what drives that.

I then tried the test version with one of the items from yesterday which was a roti maker. When I put in roti maker as ‘what is it’ the category came up as ‘iron’, which was rather strange. It is a new item though, I think. So I’m not sure if switching the first two fields is an improvement. Perhaps a separate spreadsheet with all the categories and items listed might help, or is that too cumbersome?

A small thing I have noticed is that I have to click twice to go to the next field e.g. brand or model, but that could be my PC.

No strong views about the pulsing category.

Hope that helps a little

Best wishes

Rosemary

Thanks everyone for your feedback, really useful!

We’ll review your comments after Fixfest (this weekend) and post back here with some more thoughts.

In the meantime, if anyone else would like to give this a try, please feel free to let us know what you think. The more feedback the better :slight_smile: