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    Form Design Standards? ( A2k (9.0.4402) SR-1)

    Looking for feedback from professionals like yourself on form design standards you evolved to over years of development time.

    As I

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    Re: Form Design Standards? ( A2k (9.0.4402) SR-1)

    I don't think you will find any agreement on any of those topics!

    Take the case of form colors. One school of thought says you should always use the Window's standard colors, as this will always be consistent with whatever window's color scheme any individual user selects. My own preference is for my own unique color scheme. Perhaps it is my own vanity, but I don't want my application to look like every other application.
    Mark Liquorman
    See my website for Tips & Downloads and for my Liquorman Utilities.

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    Re: Form Design Standards? ( A2k (9.0.4402) SR-1)

    As Mark says, the appearance of forms and the entire "feel" of the application are stylistic issues that don't get a lot of agreement. There are books on interface design that can give you insight into the things you listed, but the overall appearance of the app is a matter of style and of what suits your users/clients best. This is one of the places where development gets more into art than science.

    Take a look at the applications on your computer. The Microsoft apps follow a standard that you can use as an example. Other publishers have slightly different approaches but they don't stray too far from a basic style because it's easier for users to learn an app that has a familiar layout and conceptual approach. The icons may differ between publishers, but a Save button is still recognizable (once you decipher some of the icons). I tend to use buttons more than menus because I've found that users sometimes fail to notice the existence of menu items while they can usually find a big button that says something like "Save" or "Exit", and I can't always supply them with manuals or on-line help.

    I'm one of those who adheres to Windows standard colors and makes minimal use of color in my apps. I've seen too many desktops where users have implemented their own color schemes to risk something that will clash horribly with Valentine or Emerald City or Hot Dog. The style of my applications is defined by the way I place controls, the use of tab controls, subforms and popups and menus rather than by a color scheme.
    Charlotte

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    Re: Form Design Standards? ( A2k (9.0.4402) SR-1)

    John,

    There was a good article in the November 2000 "Advisor: Access, VB and SQL" magazine that talked about better interface design with VB. You can apply these principles to Access.

    One thing I always do is find the lowest resolution of my clients systems and develop in that resolution. This way if even one user is using 640x480 they don't have to scroll around to see the form. I also remove any thing the user doesn't need. Like the Control Box, Min, Max and Close buttons on the title bar. I also don't allow my users to size the forms. The less things they have to play with the fewer calls I will recieve. One other thing, when I place buttons on my forms I use the text caption. This way if they can read they can use the system.

    Hope this helps.

    Tom Farrington

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    Re: Form Design Standards? ( A2k (9.0.4402) SR-1)

    IMHO, I think you should try to stick to the look and feel of the Microsoft Windows Apps.

    Unfortunately, I've seen a couple of Apps that look like they were from another planet. <img src=/S/alien.gif border=0 alt=alien width=14 height=15> The terminology on the menus and some of the icons didn't even come close to what the users of the app used in their day to day work. This resulted in a steep learning curve for the users. Of course, it would have helped if the users had a say in the app, but it was inflicted on them. Life in a corp. <img src=/S/shrug.gif border=0 alt=shrug width=39 height=15> Scott Adams must have volumes of material for Dilbert. He probably doesn't need to make any of it up.

    Microsoft has a book that discusses the UI design for Windows apps. I haven't read it, but I hear it's pretty good.

    Above all, I say KEEP IT SIMPLE. Get the users involved early in the process and let them have a say in the UI along with your experience and guidance.

    Way back in 2000, I attended a session on UI design by Peter Vogel. He pretty much said, "give the users what they want." If they want purple buttons with black lettering, then give it to them. They need to live with it, not you. He made some interesting points.

    Oh well, I've babbled on enough. <img src=/S/yadda.gif border=0 alt=yadda width=15 height=15> <img src=/S/yadda.gif border=0 alt=yadda width=15 height=15> <img src=/S/yadda.gif border=0 alt=yadda width=15 height=15>

    <img src=/S/cheers.gif border=0 alt=cheers width=30 height=16>

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    Re: Form Design Standards? ( A2k (9.0.4402) SR-1)

    I love arguing with Peter because he has such *firm* opinions! He and I disagree on a number of fundamental issues, and this is one of them. I try to persuade my users in various subtle ways that they don't *really* want that kind of thing. If they insist, I either set my price high enough to make it worth the anguish or I respectfully suggest they find another programmer. <img src=/S/grin.gif border=0 alt=grin width=15 height=15>
    Charlotte

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    Re: Form Design Standards? ( A2k (9.0.4402) SR-1)

    We stay fairly close to Windows standards, but have developed our own variation that we slavishly stick to across all projects. I think that every tiny element of a design adds at least a tiny extra bit of complexity, which can quickly add up to a maintenance nightmare. For our projects, we don't even offer interface choices (colors, look, etc), but the layout and content is completely flexible. We get them to focus on the results they want from the application and avoid anything periperal.

    I know this wouldn't work for all projects, but it really speeds up the development process when it works.

    Michael Palladino, San Francisco

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    Re: Form Design Standards? ( A2k (9.0.4402) SR-1)

    Although I have my own preferences (which I won't force on you here) the one word of advise I can give you is, no matter what colors or fonts you chose, BE CONSISTENT! Keep all of your navigation buttons in one place on all forms, keep the color and font consistent, title your fields and controls consistently, etc. The most negative feedback that I get is from users that complain that they always have to hunt for where the controls are or get confused by "Exit", "Return", "OK", "Done" buttons that do the same thing.

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    Re: Form Design Standards? ( A2k (9.0.4402) SR-1)

    Hi Tom

    Can you be more specific on article title, month, year, etc., could not fin at Advisory.com

    Thanks,

    John

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    Re: Form Design Standards? ( A2k (9.0.4402) SR-1)

    Hi Charlotte

    Where do I get ifno on Windows Stardards, color, size, menus, etc.

    Thanks, John

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    Re: Form Design Standards? ( A2k (9.0.4402) SR-1)

    What's wrong with opening Windows and looking at it? However, there is a book called The Windows Interface Guidelines for Software Design fromMicrosoft Press, which might be what you're looking for. My copy is an old one, so I don't know if it's still in print, but you can always do a <A target="_blank" HREF=http://www.google.com>http://www.google.com</A> search on interface design and see what you come up with.
    Charlotte

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