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Chapter 14. Creating and Using Access Fo... > In the Real World—The Art of Form De...

In the Real World—The Art of Form Design

Creating an effective form design for data entry requires a unique combination of graphic design and programming skills. Whether your goal is to develop Access front ends for Jet or SQL Server databases, or to design Data access pages (DAP) that run over an intranet, the basic methodology of form design is the same. Large database-development projects usually begin with a detailed specification for the database, plus a set of descriptions of each data display and entry form. Small- to medium-sized organizations, however, seldom have the resources to develop an all-encompassing specification before embarking on a project. If your objective is to develop from-scratch Access forms for decision-support or online transaction processing (OLTP) applications, keep in mind the guidelines of this and the following chapter’s “Real World” sections.

Understand the Audience

Your first task is to determine how your Access application fits into the organization’s business processes. If the application is for decision support, determine its audience. Most executives want a broad-brush, organization-wide view of the data, which usually entails graphical presentation of the information. Generating graphs is the primary topic of Chapter 18 and one of the topics of Chapter 12. Managers commonly request graphs or charts for trend analysis, together with tabular summary information for their area of responsibility. PivotTables, described in Chapter 12, let managers “slice and dice” the data to present multiple views of the data. Supervisors need detailed information to handle day-to-day employee performance and productivity issues. Thus, your decision-support application is likely to require several forms, each tailored to the information needs of users at different levels in the organization’s hierarchy.


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