Administrators of data systems often have to import data files or accept data from third-party systems. Import cuts down manual data entry, but data is rarely clean or current. This results in conflicts in records. Resolving these conflicts is typically a tedious process of finding and manually fixing conflicts. However, algorithmically merging has considerable risks involved. Typically, resolving conflicts requires a person's approval to ensure data integrity. It's also a relatively risky task because most databases join records in a destructive manner. Once the submit button is pressed the records are forever together.
HR staff that administer a large corporation's employee management system.
This interface concept demonstrates a method for merging duplicate records when importing data from a file or another data system. In this example, a user imported an Excel file of employee information. There are multiple suspected duplicate employees. Duplicates without differences can be merged at the click of a button or en masse. Those with differences—maybe "Bob" versus "Robert" or a transposed number in a employee number—will require walking the user through a guided merge process. The result is a process that helps the user feel comfortable the resulting data is clean by providing feedback and transparency through the entire process. Despite being a manual process, the interface gives a clear path and empowers the user to quickly make informed decisions. Typical merge operations are destructive, but this method (through a hypothetical, probably NoSQL database) creates a new version of the employee record linked to the previous two, so that merging/separating can be non-destructive. Thus, a user can abandon or undo work as needed through the workflow.
Note: The interactive prototype is intended to demonstrate interactions. This demo does not save information between pages, either client-side or in a database. It is purely to provide an overview of a interface solution to common data system workflow. Refreshing pages or using the back button will not remember state as a real application would
Executive Summary (tl;dr version)
- Users sees a list of suspected duplicate records with percent match. User can merge 100% matches and resolve conflicts.
- Users sees a quick overview of conflicts between the records they are merging.
- Users resolve conflicts in a guided process by using mouse, touch, or keyboard.
- The final merged record is shown before saving it. The merge can be undone immediately or at a later date.
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