I'm looking for an easy-to-use, fool-proof way to limit mistakes for a complicated data entry field.
One of our fields will contain group names. There are about 80 different group names. most records will only have one associated group name, but a few records will have 2-4 group names associated with that one record.
In regard to data structure, I had considered using a relational database, but that seemed like overkill. A non-relational database can give us all the functionality we need with just one field. Thre are only fields we need 'last_name', 'first_name', 'groups', and 'comment' fields (plus 'id' and 'date_entered' fields for back end functions).
I'll probably have to split the string with comma delimiter so I can compare it with the approved values. (If you think this is crazy, I'm open to hearing arguments for using a relational database.)
If I use a select (drop-down menu), the menu would be terribly long. So, instead, I'm considering allowing the user to type in the group names, but validate them against the "approved" list of groups.
What do you all think would be the best way to do this? I want maximize usability and minimize errors.
Thanks in advance for any thoughts!