Text question with numerical pattern that also uses # as string

We have a question where we ask the respondents to fill in a 13-digit electricity consumer number which is printed on their electricity bill in the form “C#: 13 digits” Is there a way we can create a pattern that starts with C#: and then 13-digit numbers?

Since it’s coded as a text question with a 13-digit pattern as an answer, it is written “enter the text” when the space is blank, which can confuse the respondents. our survey is a web survey, it would be filled by our respondents (who may not be well-versed in finding their way through the web surveys). I have attached two images to make the question clearer.

Thank you for your time

If this was a CAPI survey, I’d stop you, because this is exactly the case where you can use the barcode type question to scan this electricity consumer number. But you did mention it is a CAWI survey…

This is a good question, since there is no escape for the characters used as placeholder in formulation of the pattern (#, ~, and * characters).

Luckily, Unicode is rather rich and there are other characters that look like #, but are not #. Thus, while we can’t put that very character into the pattern, we can make the pattern still look like what you intend:

This should give a reasonable entry:

Depending on what character you pick, you may get a slightly different appearance:

You can do better than just entering the value, you can validate it using the fact that it is not just 13 digits long, but also has a check digit and the category of consumer (according to this and numerous other sources). Which digit is exactly the check digit, what algorithm is used to calculate the checksum, and whether all KSEB numbers start with 11 is not immediately clear to me, but you can follow up with the topic and do your own search on the internet to improve your entries, as 13-digit long entries are bound to have entry errors.

Hope this helps, Sergiy

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Thank you so much sergiy, interesting and fun!