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Chapter 3. Layout Enhancements > Usability, Legibility, and Logical Grouping

Usability, Legibility, and Logical Grouping

Although a database developer doesn't have to be a graphic designer, it doesn't hurt to know a little bit about how people read and use information. When planning your layouts, consider how they can be optimized to avoid confusion. A few minutes of extra work on your part can save database users hours of frustration.

If you've planned your database with care, you've examined existing business forms and talked with people to find out how they use them. Once you've figured out what type of information you need to cover in a database, spend some time considering how that information should be visually arranged. For data entry layouts especially, your field arrangement can be critical. Group fields of similar or sequential information together. Whenever possible, arrange fields to match the order of the raw material that people using the database will work from. If you don't, the data inputter is certain to miss or transpose information. For example, if a sales department uses contact sheets that provide phone numbers in order of voice, then fax, then mobile, so should the layout you create.


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