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Thread: need new look

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
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    Unanswered: need new look

    Hello

    I am in the process of creating a new database for work. I would like to make it look nicer than the normal MS Access back grounds and colors.

    Can any one point me to pictures or designs to get some new ideas from.

    really this is important, to me any way.

    thanks

  2. #2
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    why change everything from what your users are used to
    why take away one of the guiding principles behind GUI design.. that of consistency of appearance, the so called look and feel
    you also take away the user preferences.
    personally Id suggest you concentrate on getting the application to function, let the bells and whistles wait until you have time to spare.

    having said that virtually anything is possible in terms of colours, backgrounds,, splash images and so on. however I don't use 'em
    I'd rather be riding on the Tiger 800 or the Norton

  3. #3
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    I agree with Mark. Assuming you haven't designed a database before this is like starting the design process of a new house build by looking at paint swatches in a DIY store.

    There is incalculable literature about database and application design. Your users will not care about your gorgeous colour scheme if the application runs like a dog and is inaccurate and difficult to use.

    Layout, contrast, accessibility issues etc. are all worthy of time and attention but not at the outset. Your goal should be to provide a robust and user-centric application that supports the business needs of your clients. Prettying it up is just lilly gilding you can apply at the end if time permits.
    Testimonial:
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    ur codings are working excelent.

  4. #4
    Join Date
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    Here's some examples from the code bank: Most of them are fairly easy and at worst, only require adding a module into your mdb (and a couple lines of code) Others can get a little more involved coding-wise.

    Calendar example: http://www.dbforums.com/6274874-post30.html

    Right-click menu bar: http://www.dbforums.com/6275952-post32.html

    Menu System (ie. removes ALL MSAccess info and ONLY shows the popup form on the user's desktop. User can see their other icons around the form: http://www.dbforums.com/6291638-post40.html - see Card File example below to see this in action.

    Form Manipulation (oval, circle, translucent, hidding caption, making a form fill the entire screen (even over taskbar): http://www.dbforums.com/6301669-post51.html

    (you can make some really neat looking forms by hidding the caption and using a translucent form positioned correctly over another from. Get's even neater if you place a blank (no fields) translucent form over another form and make it red, blue or green.)

    How to populate query results into a subform: http://www.dbforums.com/6303905-post54.html

    Color Transition (ie. let the user select their own personal colors for the left side and right side of the form and the form will then blend the colors - kind of neat and it saves each persons personal setting): http://www.dbforums.com/6310284-post59.html

    Card File (demonstrating color transition): http://www.dbforums.com/6326391-post64.html

    Really Cool looking Menu type forms (you never thought were possible): http://www.dbforums.com/6351329-post72.html

    Again, there's a wealth of more examples in the MSAccess Code Bank section if you're interested. Hopefully at least one will be helpful.

    I will re-use certain things in all my projects from the code bank (ie. the ability for users to change their background color) because these things are important for our company and survey text box messages that the user's read to customers. As mentioned above, try to create re-usable forms to keep your designs consistent and make coding go much faster for you. New designs are nice but you have to think of the users as well. Radical changes can sometimes confuse users if each design is different. At each company I've worked for, I start standardizing the re-usable templates I'm going to use at the company.
    Last edited by pkstormy; 02-04-10 at 08:59.
    Expert Database Programming
    MSAccess since 1.0, SQL Server since 6.5, Visual Basic (5.0, 6.0)

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
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    Thanks Moderator

    Apparently I don't get out much, or I mite have seen some of these. This already gave me some ideas. I was just tired of the same old thing.

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  6. #6
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    I will re-use certain things in all my projects from the code bank (ie. the ability for users to change their background color) because these things are important for our company and survey text box messages that the user's read to customers. As mentioned above, try to create re-usable forms to keep your designs consistent and make coding go much faster for you (for future projects). New designs are nice but you have to think of the users as well. Radical changes can sometimes confuse users if each design is different. At each company I've worked for, I start standardizing the re-usable template forms/coding I'm going to use throughout the company.
    Expert Database Programming
    MSAccess since 1.0, SQL Server since 6.5, Visual Basic (5.0, 6.0)

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
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    3
    I was a bit overwhelmed at work so I asked a co-worker to help me put together a small database that I was asked to do. I did the code work and he made the faceplate for me. Much to my surprise his design looked much more pleasing to the eye than what i would have done. I realized that i need to focus a bit more on the user than I have been.

    Thanks for the advice

  8. #8
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    The form looks are VERY critical on determing whether your application is successful or sits in the bone-yards.

    Users DON'T like to read thick manuals on how to use a program. They usually prefer very simple form designs with just a few buttons on them. A form with many different buttons and which looks confusing, will not please your users and ultimately end up with more work for you.

    It's nice that you have someone who can design a faceplate for you. I spend over half my development time working out the form design looks. Color coordination on the form is critical and something I always struggle to work on (since I'm not very color coordinated.)

    Keep in mind that using a few tricks such as changing the border color, background color, etc.. on a specific control can really make a difference. For example, I'll sometimes use a caption box (and the OnClick event of that caption box) instead of a button simply because the caption box looks more appealing and seems to flow nicely with the rest of the form. Other places I'll use buttons. There's a LOT of little tricks you can do with the looks of a specific control(s) (ie. textboxes, captions, buttons, comboboxes, listboxes, etc...) to make your form look and work very nicely. Finding those right combinations to produce a nice looking/functioning form is half the challenge.

    I've seen some very impressive looking forms which looked/worked very well and had very basic coding and just used a combination of different things like a box behind the control which changed colors depending on values (along with other little tricks). The developer simply made certain controls look differently (sometimes even adding in a border box around the control or placing controls in a specific place, changing colors, etc...)

    At the hospital where I work, I spent a lot of time getting feedback on what forms looked/worked the best for the user on my first couple of projects. After a few projects and with their feedback!!, I finally developed a 'standard' type looking calling form which worked/flowed nicely and users could quickly learn how to use it without any training. Now I just import that calling form into a new project and change any minor coding needed. Initially, it required a bit more development time but now, since I reuse the same form, it reduces my development almost in half for any future projects!! A 3 month project now only takes 2 weeks. The key though is to design the form so it's re-usable and knowing what types of forms will be reusable in future projects.
    Last edited by pkstormy; 02-05-10 at 11:45.
    Expert Database Programming
    MSAccess since 1.0, SQL Server since 6.5, Visual Basic (5.0, 6.0)

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