What makes good design? (1 Viewer)

Micron

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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.
 

Pat Hartman

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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.
 

isladogs

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@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?
 

Micron

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@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/windows/win32/appuistart/-user-interface-principles

Here you'll find Get Started, Design, Develop

and
https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/win32/appuistart/designing-a-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.:)
 

Micron

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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
 

The_Doc_Man

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Pat Hartman said:
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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To me error trapping and option explicit are fundamental to good overall design.
 

MickJav

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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.
 

MickJav

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First off, I am not designing for the masses. And I am not a particularly good at UI or report designing. I tend to look to others for my inspirations. I like the work isladogs and Pat have posted.

I do not care for the cluttered look some UI's have. I think it can be very confusing for the user to navigate busy forms. In some case the use of tabs or popups would relieve the busy feel.

I tend to look to Microsoft templates to get ideas like normalization and UI design.



 

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sonic8

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And I am not a particularly good at UI or report designing.
Understatement! - You design looks very clean and modern and is certainly in the upper 10% of Access UI designs I've seen.
A small hint: The Top-Property of the controls in the two columns is not aligned.


The visual layout of the user interface is certainly important, as it's the first thing any user sees of your application. However, do not ignore the behavior of your application when thinking about (UI) design. Usability, or to use the more modern term, UX (User Experience) is a topic widely neglected by Access developers. I highly recommend the books of Alan Cooper (the father of Visual Basic) on this topic. I reviewed his book About Face some time ago. It's a must read for every software developer!
 

NauticalGent

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Thanks Sonic8,

Taking nothing away from any of the excellent advice given here, but when Col started this thread, I was hoping someone would have some insight on a relevant book. I just ordered mine...
 

isladogs

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AB
I also think your 2 forms look good. Clean simple design. Am I right in thinking the 2 forms were based on one of the MS templates provided with Access?
 
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isladogs

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Unlike many who have commented here, and without wishing to sound boastful, I consider my design skills to be reasonably good. By comparison, I know there are a significant number of AWF members whose coding skills are greater than mine. I know my areas of weakness!

Like Phillip said in his book review, I have many programming books, most of which I never look at. Indeed I gave away more than half of them when I moved house recently.
However, the book Phillip mentioned sounds very interesting. I've also ordered a copy (4th edition).

My all time favourite Access books are the 2 volume set Access 2000 Developers Handbook (Litwin, Getz & Gilbert). Its not focused on design but the vast majority of the content is as relevant now as it was 20 years ago
 

isladogs

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Glad you find that example app useful. I must admit that I haven't looked at it in a very long time...:cool:
 

MickJav

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I just sold a number of mine and took the rest down the charity shop I had the set of developers handbooks I still use some of the code today.


I haven't downloaded that db Isladogs but will tomorrow.


To me Access is something you never finish learning with I do find that each person has their own idears on what looks nice.
 

Pat Hartman

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How do you deal with different resolutions/monitor sizes?
I've been pretty lucky in recent years with clients having very similar equipment. I do find that laptops are a PITA because their aspect ratio doesn't seem to be the same as monitors. I've used Peter's ShrinkAndGrow in a couple of cases where I couldn't come up with a format that worked for most users.
 

MickJav

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I use a laptop at the moment and have to agree they are also slower than most pc's but that can be a good thing as you can get a good idear of how fast it's going to be.


going back to the books side topic I used the use the Access 2000 Developers Handbook (Litwin, Getz & Gilbert) Form resize which I downloaded from one of the getz team books but it doesn't work in office 365:(
 
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