FileMaker Extra: User Interface Heuristics

FileMaker Extra User Interface Heuristics

We opened this chapter by saying we wouldn't preach to you about what makes a good interface and what doesn't. Well, we're breaking our word here. Although we won't argue about pop-up windows versus single-pane applications, or whether buttons should be 3D beveled or just text on the screen, here are a few guidelines we recommend to all of our clients, students, and developers alike:

  • Use real-world terminology You should strive to speak your customers' language. Use terms they'll find familiar. In some cases you may need to retrain them, but whenever possible, leverage the body of knowledge already in place in an organization to make your system more intuitive.
  • Impart meaning with more than just labels Text is only one of many things your users will see on a layout. They'll also see colors, shapes, headlines, subheads, footers, and so on. Use all the objects in your toolbox to impart meaning: Consider, for example, changing the background color of find layouts or perhaps making navigation buttons look different from functional buttons. Keep this in mind though: Don't rely too heavily on color. A great many people have varying degrees of colorblindness.
  • Give users the freedom to click around without fear Users should be able to cancel out of any destructive function (delete, for example) so that they can explore your application and learn by doing.
  • Be consistent We can't stress this enough. Whatever the colors, shapes, sizes, styles, and so on that you prefer, make sure that your layouts follow whatever set of rules you establish. Name fields and buttons consistently, place them in the same positions, and give your users a visual grammar for your system they can learn.
  • Manage errors Errors happen. Handle them behind the scenes whenever possible, but when they're unavoidable make sure that you present the users with a graceful error routine that informs them, proffers a course of action, and then returns them to what they were doing.
  • Focus your screens Less is more. Whitespace is your friend. Leave the important bits on your layouts and dialogs and remove the objects that can be pushed elsewhere. If you offer focus to users, you will help them understand what to do on a given layout.
  • Remember your power users Contrary to all the earlier advice, don't forget your power users. Offer keyboard shortcuts through "Are you sure?" dialogs, give them simple Table view access to your data, and don't bother them with wizards.

Part I: Getting Started with FileMaker 8

FileMaker Overview

Using FileMaker Pro

Defining and Working with Fields

Working with Layouts

Part II: Developing Solutions with FileMaker

Relational Database Design

Working with Multiple Tables

Working with Relationships

Getting Started with Calculations

Getting Started with Scripting

Getting Started with Reporting

Part III: Developer Techniques

Developing for Multiuser Deployment

Implementing Security

Advanced Interface Techniques

Advanced Calculation Techniques

Advanced Scripting Techniques

Advanced Portal Techniques

Debugging and Troubleshooting

Converting Systems from Previous Versions of FileMaker Pro

Part IV: Data Integration and Publishing

Importing Data into FileMaker Pro

Exporting Data from FileMaker

Instant Web Publishing

FileMaker and Web Services

Custom Web Publishing

Part V: Deploying a FileMaker Solution

Deploying and Extending FileMaker

FileMaker Server and Server Advanced

FileMaker Mobile

Documenting Your FileMaker Solutions

Using FileMaker 8
Special Edition Using FileMaker 8
ISBN: 0789735121
EAN: 2147483647
Year: 2007
Pages: 296 © 2008-2020.
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