Currently tracking 1,100,000 samples

Better Check-outs and Check-ins

Check-outs and check-ins have always been quick and easy. Now they're even better.


Sparkle must be easy to use and fast to use. Happily Sparkle's customers keep telling me it's both...but there are always improvements to be made!

Checking out samples, and checking them in again, are the bread and butter work of sample tracking. The process has to be fast and efficient. Sparkle's always done check-outs and check-ins pretty efficiently, but recently we improved both.

Check Outs

There are three ways to add samples to a delivery note:

  • you can scan a sample's barcode;
  • you can search with any text, getting a list of samples you can add;
  • you can drill down from the client to the collection, getting a list of samples you can add.

Improvement #1: When scanning a sample's barcode, Sparkle now shows a warning if it can't find a matching, available sample (this happens when a sample hasn't been checked in, so isn't available to be checked out). Previously there was no explicit indication that the sample hadn't been added to the delivery note, so it was easy to assume it had when it hadn't.

Improvement #2: When you scan a sample's barcode, Sparkle will show any matching, unavailable samples so you can see exactly why they aren't available.

Improvement #3: With all three ways of checking out a sample, when a sample has been added to the delivery note, Sparkle will briefly highlight it in green to confirm its addition.

Check Ins

With pleasing symmetry, there are three ways to check in samples:

  • you can scan the sample's barcode;
  • you can go to a story's check-in page and tick the samples to check in;
  • you can search by various fields, and in the results tick the samples to check in.

The second and third ways previously required you to tick the samples you wanted to check in and then press the 'Check in' button. This two-step process seemed simple enough, but when you think about it, it's one step too many.

During busy periods people would often tick the relevant samples, get distracted, and then leave the page without ever pressing the crucial 'Check in' button. They would think the samples were checked in when in fact they weren't.

Improvement #4: Now there's no check-in button. You simply tick the samples you want to check in and Sparkle will do it automatically. You'll see a spinner while it's working, and once each sample is checked in it will flash briefly in green to confirm.

Final Words

Sparkle's customers have checked out and checked in almost 200,000 samples.

Even after all those, we're still thinking of ways to fine-tune the workflow to make Sparkle easier and faster to use!

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