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Old 08-20-2019, 08:14 AM   #16
Pat Hartman
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Re: What makes good design?

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You are building an entire APP, not a form. Consider the forest as well as the trees.
To summarize for Doc, consistency matters. It is probably the single most important design concept. I alluded to it. Doc gave the concept some substance. If your users have seen something before, it should work exactly the same way it did on the other form.

I agree with AccessBlaster but only so far. Even people designing for a small app or for themselves will be helped by consistency. Use your creativity to solve new problems. Unless you come up with a better way, use old solutions over and over again. I have a really old solution that I've been using since the 80's. Obviously that was before Access so I've rebuilt the app two more times and now it is Access but the concept and how it works has changed very little over that time. I've posted it here a number of times. It is an app that I add to all other apps that allows me to manage all those pesky simple lookup tables that I don't want to have to be responsible for maintaining. So, I made an app that puts the maintenance in the hands of the user and I no longer have to think about this problem ever again.

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Old 08-20-2019, 12:54 PM   #17
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Re: What makes good design?

Good to see a consensus emerging on several points.

I probably spend longer designing forms than all the other components of my apps put together. Obviously good table design is essential but it is forms that end users have to work with. In my opinion, unless the end user finds your application easy to use, it has failed.

So I totally agree that good design involves both usability and consistency.
My forms have a consistent design in terms of colours/fonts and layout.
I use soft colours for the detail section and contrasting colours for header and footer.
I use automatic form resizing to ensure forms work well no matter what the monitor size or resolution
As most of my apps have both navigation pane and ribbon removed, i ensure that controls used on all forms such as Close and Print are always in the same place on every form.
I try to ensure forms remain as uncluttered as possible.
As previously mentioned, for touchscreen apps, ensure controls are larger and clearly separated on screen.

And like others, by using a consistent style, it simplifies my development work as i can reuse items in different apps.

I've uploaded many screenshots and example apps which illustrate my approach.
Of course, my idea of good design isn't necessarily what others believe it to be...
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Old 08-20-2019, 02:13 PM   #18
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Re: What makes good design?

one other thing I would add with touchscreen - need to leave room for the popup keyboard or at least ensure any controls that will call it do not get hidden when it pops up.

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Old 08-25-2019, 09:31 AM   #19
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Re: What makes good design?

How much do other developers use themes e.g. to help create a consistent layout with complementary colours.

Who else uses automatic form resizing to manage different sized monitors and different resolutions? If not, how do you deal with that issue?
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Old 08-25-2019, 10:05 AM   #20
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Re: What makes good design?

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How much do other developers use themes
I don't - at least not the MS ones, Most of my apps use black, white, a very pale blue or an off-white/beige colour for background. I tend not to use borders (except Chiselled special effect for underlining).

I do occasionally use form resizing for different monitors/resolutions but tend to design to the smallest typical monitor used by business and use overlapping windows with the access app hidden
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Old 08-25-2019, 10:25 AM   #21
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Re: What makes good design?

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Originally Posted by isladogs View Post
In some ways I prefer the original. Partly because I find strong colours like the bright blue quite distracting.
Agree, the former is much better, but IMHO one should consider that good design encompasses several aspects. I'd consider this to be an incomplete list, and repeats some of what has already been said:
- aesthetics: is it pleasing to look at or does it jar your eyeballs? Does its design consider those who are colour blind?
- does placement follow accepted design practices? There are M$ standards for this, covering many aspects such as placement of close and other buttons.
- is the tab order conducive to the input of data?
- are unnecessary features removed (e.g. record selectors on single record forms)?
- is it intuitive to use (a wide ranging topic)
Then there is a branch to all of this that encompasses the use of the UI, such as validation to support accurate data, no code bugs, etc. but I consider those to be less about design and more about function.
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Old 08-25-2019, 11:48 AM   #22
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Re: What makes good design?

I always use themes and NEVER use hardcoded color values since they can easily conflict if I later change the theme. Typically, I let the user pick the theme but sometimes they change their mind. Themes are not interchangeable though due to the variations in font and point size so be careful if you later have to change the theme. If it is just one color that the user objects to, change the THEME and rename it to a custom name.

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Old 08-25-2019, 12:26 PM   #23
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Re: What makes good design?

@Micron
Agree with your list.
It would be helpful to many members if you could supply links to the MS standards you mentioned

@Pat
I'm of the same opinion with regard to themes.
How do you deal with different resolutions/monitor sizes?
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Old 08-25-2019, 03:06 PM   #24
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Re: What makes good design?

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Originally Posted by isladogs View Post
@Micron
Agree with your list.
It would be helpful to many members if you could supply links to the MS standards you mentioned
Probably what I saw long ago has been replaced with new documentation. A quick search returned a lot of stuff that I never knew existed, but here's a couple of links that seem pertinent to my comment:
https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/win...ace-principles

Here you'll find Get Started, Design, Develop

and
https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/win...user-interface

Not sure where the documentation now exists for reading the standards (assuming they still exist as such) but while perusing some of the above content I did read a comment about not switching the position of buttons that Windows apps adhere to as an example of the standard. I guess the point is that I know there was documentation that specifically addressed layout as part of the 'standard' but where it is today I don't know and don't have the time to pin it down right now. Hopefully these links will illustrate that such principles of design do exist, along with a whole lot of related info that didn't exist years ago due to the added features over the years.


I hope it serves to generate some interest in what constitutes a well designed interface.
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Old 08-25-2019, 04:51 PM   #25
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Re: What makes good design?

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What makes good design?
Error Trapping?
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Old 08-25-2019, 05:22 PM   #26
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Re: What makes good design?

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Originally Posted by AccessBlaster View Post
Error Trapping?
I would consider that to be function, not form (i.e. not design), so IMHO, no. The app might contain a lot of eye candy but be buggy, so it could have a pleasing design but not perform well. But I admit I tend to take a black & white view of things.

EDIT - Found this in my searching. You'd have to ignore the outdated metrics but there's a ton of info in it. Fortunately you can download it so that you don't have to read all 800+ pages in one session!

http://www.glyfx.com/useruploads/files/UXGuide.pdf
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Old 08-25-2019, 06:36 PM   #27
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Re: What makes good design?

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Originally Posted by Pat Hartman
Unless you come up with a better way, use old solutions over and over again.
Also known as "If it ain't broke, don't fix it."

AB suggested that error trapping is a component of good design. To which I say yes and no at the same time. The way you notify the user of errors is important but maybe not so important as the fact that you trap the errors and prevent the use from seeing the dreaded "Debug/Reset" dialog box. Many of the variables you might wish to track would be affected by having to use a "Reset" option and the "Continue" option isn't always available for "Debug." You can't expect a user to fix your bad error handling and you can't expect a user to know how to continue from a severe enough error to have triggered the "Last Chance" error handler.

So is Error Trapping part of good design? Yes, in the fact you have it and control what the user sees. No, because beyond a certain point it no longer matters as to the details that you show or don't show.
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Old 08-25-2019, 08:26 PM   #28
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Re: What makes good design?

To me error trapping and option explicit are fundamental to good overall design.
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Old 08-25-2019, 10:48 PM   #29
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Re: What makes good design?

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Originally Posted by AccessBlaster View Post
To me error trapping and option explicit are fundamental to good overall design.
Agreed I've seen so many Open projects without any error trapping When it's so easy to create one then copy it to all subs and functions as you go.
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Old 08-26-2019, 07:47 AM   #30
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Re: What makes good design?

I am going to submite my employees screen as good design I'm really pleased with the way it turned out.

It is an unbound form And was begun by peter hibbs Hope you like it.
And has a complete validation system for records

It's part of my employees example currently at Version 4
https://databasedreams.createaforum....on-4-download/


thanks mick


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