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App/Software for "selection" of things

App/Software for "selection" of things

(OP)
I have a couple of common questions asked by my Sales team. I want a software that helps people to narrow down from a list of options based on the information they know.

One example is helping identify the correct pipe flange. (Customers often don't appreciate that a '30" manway' is not enough to know for sure what they have). They might know the nominal pipe size - then enter it and watch the list shorten. Then enter the number of bolts and see it reduce further. And continue on until one possibility is left, which becomes the result.

I would do a plain datasheet but the pieces of available information will vary, and it's important to know how much data is enough without wasting time on numerous redundant measurements. Plus somebody would have to review the datasheets over and over.

I'd like to build an app that allows me to enter a table of data, and then a series of questions that guide the user to narrow the list until it comes down to a final identification. Then have it output the details of that final selection. Kind of reminds me of those "choose your own ending" books I read as a child.

Perhaps there is a software that does this for diagnostic situations, or taxonomy of wildlife, or anything that helps hunt down an answer that we can use as a framework and limits our setup to the table of data and guiding questions. I suspect this can be done using Excel, but I'm concerned Excel won't be portable enough.

Anyone understand what I'm saying? Have any suggestions?

RE: App/Software for "selection" of things

I can give an example that you might aspire toward:
http://www.mcmaster.com/#

I don't think Excel can do it.
Maybe you can figure out something from McMaster-Carr's visible code.
Maybe you can just call them and ask where to start.

Mike Halloran
Pembroke Pines, FL, USA

RE: App/Software for "selection" of things

(OP)
Mike, you're right. This is the same basic problem as solved by any number of website catalogs. Enter what you know until you find the item for you.

This is especially interesting because in my mind, this app would be powerful for us as a web-based interface, and possibly available on mobile devices too.

David

RE: App/Software for "selection" of things

Our vehicle suspension spec sheets (47000 buildable combinations is the worst I know of) use excel. each column has a drop down list of check boxes, so you just tick the combination you want, say 134 N/mm springs, and 31mm sta bar, and then it filters the results, so i can see which shock absorbers go with those . It's automagically available in Excel 2010, which I otherwise despise. Insert table is the command. Here's a demo

Cheers

Greg Locock


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RE: App/Software for "selection" of things

(OP)
Thanks Greg, that Excel feature seems to be doing what I want. It might not be quite as slick as a web interface but it's close and very easy to build.

I made a version for my flange application and will see if the team finds it useful.

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