Modify xlsform to speed up barcode scanning process?

Dear forum community,

my name is Dominik and I am working in a tree-ring laboratory, where we process thousands of small wood sample during the year to study wood formation (xylogenesis) and wood anatomy on the microscopic level.

I want to use the odk-collect app with my smartphone to document the subsequent preparation steps (e.g. trimming, cutting, staining) of wood samples to increase the automatization process during the documentation in our laboratory protocol. For this purpose, we want to use the barcode scanning feature to scan QR-codes that are tagged on each of our samples. As a laboratory routine, we want to document a working step for each of the processed samples by the repeated scanning of many dozens of QR-codes in a row.

I have implemented a repeat function in xlsform and in theory the script produces the outcome I desire. However, the scanning process does not run very efficient as the individual scans need several confirmations ("get barcode", "Next", "Add", "get barcode"...) before I can continue with the next one. What I am looking for is something similar like in the supermarket, where additional QR-codes can be scanned, saved with their timestamp and besides the beeping sound no additional confirmation is required to do the next scan. This would mean the camera window has to stay open.

During internet research I could not find a function to modify the xls-form accordingly. I guess my question is partly similar with this recently created, but still unanswered topic: Addition of "quick" appearance to barcode question type and my apologies if people regard my question therefore as redundant.

I have attached my xlsform and would appreciate any suggestions. If it is not possible, this would be also helpful to know at this point as I would have look for other alternatives.

Thank you and best regards,
ODK XLSForm_QRcode_repeat.xlsx (19.0 KB)

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As the author of the similar post linked above, I want to say that a "multi QR code" question type such as this would work for our purposes, too (possibly even better!). The enumerators may be scanning hundreds of QR codes in a batch, making any small improvement in the UX quite impactful.


Thanks for describing your use case in detail. There’s no current functionality to make barcode scanning more efficient. We do plan on making some improvement in this area for the following Collect release but don’t have it planned out yet. Consider tracking that Features post and sharing your feedback as we design the improvements.

Thank you very much for your feedback. I am looking forward to upcoming versions.

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