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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Posts
    16

    Unanswered: error messages or help messages

    Hi,

    I'm creating a form for a charity called Donors, where donors can either be companies or private individuals, so in my Donors table, I have fields which apply to companies only (e.g. company name) and fields which apply to individuals only (e.g. title, first name, last name) and fields which apply to both (e.g. address/contact numbers).

    What would be the best way to make the form as user-friendly as possible - in other words, how can I make sure that the users will enter information in the correct fields and in the required way?

    I'm thinking either: (1) error messages which pop up to tell the user they've done something wrong, or (2) before they enter the wrong data, maybe I could insert some sort of question mark icon which the user can hover their mouse over to show more information of what's required e.g. like this this form http://sellyourcartous.com/appraisal

    Please could you explain how to do (1) or (2) above, or explain a better way to do this.

    Thanks

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    Richmond, Virginia USA
    Posts
    2,763
    Provided Answers: 19
    A two or three approaches come to mind. I general terms:

    • Given a Field to identify the type of donation, you could
    • Use a Input Box to popup, when the Form first Opens, asking for the Donor Type
    • Use the Controls' Tag Properties to designate which ones were strictly individual and which ones were strictly corporate
    • Loop through all Controls and make them Visible/Invisible, as appropriate, based on the Donor Type

    or

    • Have a Menu Form
    • Place two Command Buttons on it; Corporate Donor and Individual Donor
    • Open either a Corporate Donor Form or an Individual Donor Form, depending on which Button was clicked
    • Have each Form set up with the appropriate Controls
    This scenario could be modified using a Tabbed Control, with the appropriate Fields on either of two Pages. But this would still leave the possibility of a non-savvy user (which it sounds like you have) flipping from one Tabbed Page to another, inappropriately.

    The major disadvantage to the first method, is that hiding/showing multiple Controls can leave big amounts of 'white space,' depending on how many Controls you're talking about. This can be remedied by not only making them Visible/Invisible, but repositioning then, dynamically, as well.

    But all of this requires more than a little work and expertise! In this case, I'd opt for the second option. It would keep things the simplest, for novice users, I believe! But that, of course, is just one man's opinion! Your mileage may vary!

    As to the entering data in the correct/required way, that really is dependent on what that phrase means. You could use the ControlTip Text Property for each Control to display brief hints, or use the Control's GotFocus event to populate a separate Control with more complex help. If critical, you'd probably also have to use each Control's BeforeUpdate event to check what had been entered, and pop a Messagebox to warn if the data was incorrect and Cancel the update; this would leave the Focus on the errant Control, until the data was corrected.

    As I said (at least I think I did) these are just general comments. This whole thing really depends on
    • How savvy your users are
    • How 'user-friendly' you really need to make this
    • Your exact requirements
    • Your skill-level in Access
    • How much time you're willing to put in on a charity job
    Linq ;0)>
    Hope this helps!

    The problem with making anything foolproof...is that fools are so darn ingenious!

    All posts/responses based on Access 2003/2007

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    out on a limb
    Posts
    13,692
    Provided Answers: 59
    I'd use either a tabbed dialog (ie user selects if its corporate or personal and then displays the appropriate tab)
    or blank out and disable the irrelevant controls

    place validation logic in the controls after update events OR the forms before update

    when adding a new row lock both sets of controls (use code in the forms after insert event)

    when they select what type of donor then unlock the relevant block of controls
    I'd rather be riding on the Tiger 800 or the Norton

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