Full Version: Aesthetics
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Anyone know of any ideas for form design. I'm a decent programmer, but have no creativity when it comes to designing a good looking form/database. acclaim.gif
I prefer the KISS method (Keep It Simple St****).
And functionality should always supercede "form".
That's the method I use... but I still want a db that is "easy on the eyes".
scan the UI Design forum. you will get idea's there..
I preform function over form. I try to desing my forms to make then inutitive to the user. I'm not so concerned over "easy on the eye" other than to not have forms appear too busy (i.e. the use of tab controls). I porefer easy to use then easy on the eye.
Scott nailed it!!!
lso, beware contrasting colors. Purple text on a black background is not good.
I 2nd Scott's comments.
The end -user wants functionality.
My 2 1/2 cents anayway.
Guess I'm the odd goat out then. Most of my users like interesting or relevant forms and often suggest their own screen designs/logos.
think there is some difference between data entry/management, where the emphasis should be on ease of use, and data output where a little more 'background noise' is okay. The 'corporate culture' also has a lot to do with it.
I've atttached some sample forms - org chart dashboard, report generator, data entry for the report generator (use design view as the lack of several record sources will prevent you from viewing the form directly), and my signature form (left in the background).
If Bill Gates didn't want us to be creative, he wouldn't have given us such a versatile tool.
Not always...the user may not be one of us IT nerds (:-), J/K), and not even care or understand too much about how it works...but would like to see something nice and perty...
I should add that I work in a very large organization where Access is considered a 'quaint novelty' that is allowed because we got it with the rest of the MS Office package.
My policy is make it function... if you have time make it pretty as well.
Why Thank you, MtnGoat! I also agree with Sara... the users that use my programs are DEFINITELY not computer geeks, like me. They want something that is appealing to use... Functionality is one of my priorities, not theirs... that's why I'm asking for ideas!
Chipping in... and reiterating something that was said earlier.
On my journalism classes, there was a pretty famous quote by Marshall McLuhan that said that "the medium is the message." With that in mind, I try to design my products to do two things: to be used frequently and to remain useful over time. Therefore I spend a considerable amount of time thinking not only about the structure and content of the data, but about how that data looks on the screen and how that data is eventually presented on paper (yuck.)
My advice: What I would do is go ahead and design something to my liking, and then post screen shots in the UA User Interface Forum. You'll get plenty of specific comments and ways to improve the look / feel of the project.
But don't be afraid to use your imagination - I very quickly figured out that almost anything's possible with the help of the folks in this particular community, and a healthy dose of determination.
Happy designing!
completely irrelevant but . . . ur foto shows that your very Aesthetics pleasing to the eye!
complements aside, this website could be helpful. . .
I agree with mtnGoat entirely,
Aesthetics plays a very important part in the users overall experience. It is of cause a balance thing, where functionality must be preserved, but it must also 'feel' good too. I can garantee you that if you gave users the choice between a flat old grey form in courier new font to use over one that has aesthetic appeal, they will go for the pretty one every time! (I actually tried this test on my users some years ago).
They will only go for the simple, basic one if the pretty one is really complicated and confusing.
o a programmer it should be a bit like a duck swimming, on the surface (the user side) its all grace and symmetry, but underneath (our side) everything is going gangbusters to acheive it. So, for me to achieve the grace and symmetry my users want in a professional looking form, my forms are really complicated beasts that are usually code driven and unbound.
Take a look at my attachment. This is a work in progress, I am only prototyping it at the moment so no code, but I am trying to make this form look like a companion web site for Ebanking. To get this look (there a lot more to come) I have to design the most complicated form I have ever tried.
The thing is.....in reality,
How 'efficient & quickly' the end user can enter the data and get his/her boss's job done.
Not 'how' pretty the forms 'look', but how efficient they are in getting the user to the area they need to be in.
OK, that's my 2 1/2 cents worth on this issue,
I'm always on a tight deadline schedule, unless it's a project that I work on in my 'free' time (of which there isn't a lot!). I try to make it as pleasing as possible to the eye, but, time is money, and my employer and clients don't necessarily want pretty. If they do want pretty, I have a responsibility to make sure they know it's going to cost extra.
That being said, functional can be pleasing to the eye. Form does tend to follow function, even in database GUI design. Gray may be boring to some, but, if you're going to have to stare at it all day, it's not so bad. For example, I 'inherited' a system about a year ago that should have been one BE database and a FE db on each user's machine. Instead, they had about 8 FE's sitting on the server, all connected to one main BE db. I've still not had the time to completely integrate everything to my satisfaction due to new projects always coming up. Anyway, when the previous person was working on this db, some of the ladies in the department asked them to 'make it pretty'. He did, and to their satisfaction. Less than a year later, they asked me to change it to gray, because they'd seen and gotten used to the new forms I'd made, and found it much easier to work with for extended periods of time. So, I went in and quickly changed the backcolor to the default gray, and used rectangles for emphasis (in a darker gray) underneath groups of related controls. They all like the 'boring gray' much better than the old multi-hued pastels they had before.
In my business (professional photographer), it is
orkflow - workflow - workflow ;-) - I think that it may be the same in programming/GUI
I am not a programmer, since Access1.0 I have slowly developed a program for our business (OK, it's fun - am I crazy?) - anyway for a view of some ideas from a total outsider here is a link to some screen shots for my program;
I don't love coding, I love figuring out the flow.
really like the way your main form looks!!!
Anyway, I've attached the form I think needs to be updated.
OOps, forgot to attach the file...
Umm I don't see an ugly form. I see a plain form, but not an ugly one.
would say there might be some normalization issues if it was bound to some tables.
if you want to reduce the plainess you can use some less bland (but not garish) background colors. A soothing light blue or green is helpful. Adding a company logo would be good. You might want to bold the labels and use a less standard font.
normalization issues? like what?
hate to say it, but I've never read up on the normalization rules.
Well I would have to see the tables. But if the main form is bound to a single table then you have a repeating group In the Rates. I also have a problem with using a single field for City State and Zip. Fields should contain the smallest item of data.
On the subform, its not clear what the check boxes represent, but they might also constitute a repeating group.
Normalization is of MUCH greater importance in designing a database then aesthetics on forms. If your database is not properly normalized you are doing your clients a disservice.
Jack Cowley
At the risk of butting in line in front of Scott and really making him cross... Your rates should be in a separate table, maybe something like:
RatesID (PK and auto)
ClientsAndRatesID (PK and auto)
ClientID (FK)
RatesID (FK)
The same would be true for the "signed by" check boxes in the subform.
PHEW! I see that I did not jump in line in front of Scott, but I have expanded slightly on his post...
Ahh, ok. I basically have it set up like that, Jack. Thanks for all of your help guys!
Jack Cowley
Jen -
It sounds to me like you are good to go!!!
Are you using bound forms? The sample you showed wasn't. If you aren't using bound forms, then you can control how data goes into your table. So having the rates setup on the form as you have them isn't a problem. The same is true of the City, state and zip. The user could enter them in the one control and you could then parse them out when you do the actual writing to the record. Its much more coding and work to do it that way, but its doable.
ok Jen,
sorry it took so long to get back to you.
I have reworked your form a bit, just to give you some ideas.
The colours should be light and pastelly, easy on the eyes,
use tool tips on the buttons.
try to use some symmetry, ie, line every thing up.
h! and I agree, the form wasn't ugly, just a bit plain grin.gif
hope this helps,
MickH thumbup.gif
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