Microsoft Access Form Design
User Interface Design Examples
Form design is a specific component of user interface design
and involves the creation of a system used by people to interact with an object such as a
microwave, cell phone, or computer.
Form design ergonomic factors, ease of use,
and understandability are all combined to create the science of user interface
Microsoft Access is a fully capable database and it's primary limitations is the number of concurrent users it will support. Generally, we recommend a limit of 10 to 15 users.
We create databases large and small. Some of our databases help run entire small businesses. We also handle unique businesses such as flyrod manufacturing, cheese making, marina management, and cable tv inventory.
Poor form designs can cause frustration, mistakes, fatigue, and actual physical
damage such as eye strain and carpal tunnel syndrome. For our
recommendations in this article we will focus on user interface designs for
software systems - in particular - Microsoft Access forms.
Form design in Microsoft Access and user interface design in general are
important components of all interactive database management systems.
Microsoft Access form developers have a nearly infinite combination of fonts, colors
and layouts from which to choose. It is important to choose a combination
of characteristics which will provide a simple and pleasant interface to the
data for the user. See below what our Microsoft Access form programmers
Normally the more data that has to be displayed on one screen the more
important it is to use a consistent, user-friendly form design.
Here are a few Microsoft Access form design recommendations and examples for
Microsoft Access developers who want to make user-friendly Access interfaces:
Interface Control - most novice programmers use a switchboard or
nested switchboard for management of navigation within an Access database.
We vote against using a switchboard because it requires many additional clicks
for the user to navigate in a moderately large database. Our
recommendation is to use a tabbed interface. You have been seeing more and
more use of the tabbed interface on the Internet in recent years. This
tabbed design provides immediate access to the various functions within your
database. This design also offers simple methods for implementing user
navigation control and different levels of users. We have many examples of
tabbed interface design on a
Form Colors - Choose form design colors with good contrast.
Remember that some of your users may be color blind. If the first thing a
person notices when viewing the screen are the colors then you have gone too far
in colorizing your screen. The user should first notice the field labels
followed by the data MS Access developers. Bold black letters on gray
background is preferred for the boilerplate and black letters on white
background is preferred for data. Use form colors to highlight important
fields or data in your form designs. Consider making required fields
standout from other fields on the form.
Form Fonts - The fewer the fonts on the forms the better.
Fonts without serifs tend to be easier to read - my favorite is MS Sans Serif.
Avoid using several different font sizes - stick to one or two. Don't use
a lot of italics, and underlines
Form Layout - When you have many fields to display on a form try
to group them. For instance you can group Name, Address, etc. together on
the form and separate this information from other supporting information in the
data record. Don't forget to set the tab order on your form correctly.
Form Buttons - Avoid creating your own navigation and function
buttons whenever these buttons are already available in a standard Microsoft
Access form. Examples of some standard buttons/functions are Next Record,
New Record, Sort, etc.
Form Navigation - Don't try to overly control where a user goes
on the form with the use of triggers such as GotFocus and LostFocus. Try
to program the form so that the user can navigate most anywhere - handle
illogical navigation with a friendly popup message.