Data is the core of every endeavour and here we will note of the importance of how data is picked up, collected, sorted, and presented.
Where to start from
Data entry is a fundamental process performed on a computer in various software applications. Everyone who works on a computer enters data with which they then do their core work. Typing and creating texts, transcribing, filling in tables with digits, correcting words and numbers, maintaining files with new data, and thus - most often creating a database to be used by other colleagues afterwards, are all parts of the data entry process. This type of work is considered easy because it is accessible. We agree with this, and perhaps that is one of the reasons we chose to specialize in it - because the work we offer to members of our community had to be accessible: easy to master and implement. On the other hand, however, we believe that creating a good and working for all set of documents is not such an intuitive process. We have seen randomly selected data, data with errors, poorly arranged and visualized data. That's why we wrote this blog post.
How do we do it
We have a few principles when entering data. We usually start the task with questions about its context - who and how will use the result of our data entry, what type of decisions will need to be made on its basis, what are the preferences for its design, branding, functionality. Often at the beginning we get acquainted with the topic of the task - we have worked on a variety of tasks to have an idea of the scope and to gain a basic understanding of the new terms, if any. Because we avoid blind copy-paste, without analysis and understanding. We enter the information according to the established rules in the working language - Bulgarian or English, so that the data search works according to the established rules. It is believed that the faster the data entry, the better. Although our team members have incredible speed, we believe that the precision achieved in the work is more important. This type of activity is also considered by many as boring and monotonous. This may not be true if each task is approached individually and with a desire to solve a problem, as well as with a view to how the data will look and how it will be used.
Beyond the entry
What makes our process extremely efficient is that when we process data, we think about preparing it for other uses and actions after us. Data will be used in a certain way by different users. Therefore, our main task is to collect and arrange it in the most convenient way so that it can be used in an understandable way by other colleagues. Before we begin, we think about all the uses that were not known in the beginning. Because data lives many lives after it is collected (usually) and is used differently by different people, the way it is selected and visualized - with the ability to easily search for information by keywords and sort information, is essential. It is possible, after analyzing the uses of the data, that proposals for extending the criteria for collecting and entering certain data will arise at the outset. That's why we ask questions about future uses - to complete the task with a view to its future use.
* The headline is inspired from the lovely project 'Dear Data'.