Below is a brief summary of what you will see when using your database system
I always design my Access Database Systems as bespoke systems; they only display items that are used in the system, rather that displaying the whole of
the Access user interface. This helps ensure that my systems are easy to use without all the confusing clutter of 'raw' Access.
This also ensures that users do not inadvertently wander off into areas of Access where they have little or no experience, by using this approach my systems are far more robust that those which do not provide this level of configuration.
Disabled Living Foundation "We needed a unique database application; Dennis very quickly provided a user friendly, bespoke solution."
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I always supply my systems in a form where the end users cannot make changes to the design or programming code. I will supply your system as compiled mde files which operate faster that un-compiled mdb files and are not changeable by the end user, thereby increasing the robustness and security of your database system.
As I mentioned above I normally prompt users for a username and password when starting one of my systems, so this would be the first form they would see on entering the database system, for example:
If you did not have a requirement for different levels of access multiple users would see a form offering various options, here is an example where this particular user can only undertake two tasks 'Process Control' or 'Reports'
Whereas, the overall administration user would have access to all the tasks including the setting up of other users, and the Administrator would be trained by me to be fully conversant with the operation of the entire system.
Mike Russell, Director, Air Heating Southern Ltd. said "After showing Dennis our current database he made some excellent suggestions on how he could improve it."
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Customised Menu System
I always provide a customised menu system in databases I develop, this ensures that users can only undertake tasks as
intended and not corrupt the database by wandering into areas they do not fully understand, as an example, here is a normal Access Menu
This enables the user access to many areas of the system where they could cause damage, probably unintentionally.
I supply databases with a customised menu system that only offers the facilities that are required, and is semi-intelligent to only offer facilities relevant to the current task.
Here you can see there are less options, and some are disabled (shown as grey) as they are not appropriate to the current task.
Here is another example where the available selections are different as appropriate for the current task
A system can have many forms; these are where you enter data into your system and are also used to interrogate your database to find information.
I always create forms in accordance with the clients requirements in respect of colour, font sizes etc. Also I always use real world names
that my clients are comfortable with, for example 'Project name' 'Project Value' rather than database terms like 'Project Record'
Speeding up data input while maintaining accuracy
Speed of data entry can be greatly improved by a combination of programming and data structure. For example if you had a
system that needed to record information about flights, I would present a box that the user could select a
country from, titled Country; this would contain a list of countries sorted
alphabetically, when the user selected a country (this is far superior to letting a
user type a country as they may misspell it and that would have a detrimental effect on your
data integrity), lets say they select 'United Kingdom' then I would program the system so that the next
box titled 'Airport' would only contain a list of airports in the United Kingdom, thereby guiding the user rather
than letting them enter data that could be inconsistent such as entering USA as the country and London Heathrow as the airport.
At various stages of operation it is useful to ask users to respond to questions or simply tell the user what is happening.
I always provide feedback using real world terminology, for example if a user had selected to delete a customer I would display a message to the user such as:
Here you can see the title says 'Customer Deletion' so the user knows what the message is about, the message box
shows a red X so that the user knows this is an important question, the message itself is clear about what will happen if the user clicks 'Yes' The default
button has been set to 'No' so if the user accidentally presses the enter key the deletion will not take place.
As opposed to
This simply says 'Microsoft Office Access' in the title, there is no red X, the message simply says 'delete' and the default button has been left as 'Yes' so if the user accidentally pressed the enter key this customer data would be deleted.
The creation of systems that provide the first type of message to the user rather than the second type comes from experience and many other developers may not have the required level of experience to design a really user friendly interface.
As well as programming in the functionality described above I also create feedback messages that speak the users language, not a database developers language, so no words like Record, Database, Index, but words appropriate to your business, for example, Invoice, Customer Order, Client Request.
Clive Patten, Managing Director, ABS Wastewater Technology said "Dennis was able to exactly meet our design specification. The delivery was on time and the system worked faultlessly from day one."
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A report is where you produce outputs from your Access Database system.
Normally clients have requirements for at least a few basic reports, whereas some clients require very complex reports.
I normally create a form that acts as a menu to the various reports available.
When the user selects a report I display it on screen, or if you prefer I can send it directly to your printer, most users like to see their reports on screen first to ensure the data the report contains is what they were looking for.
Here is an example of a form requesting complex selection criteria from a system I created for Canon Consumer Imaging
Here the user can select multiple criteria in order to be presented with a report that exactly matches their needs. This also has an option to produce the report in one of three ways, to the screen, to a file, or directly to a printer.
When the report is run, it displays the user's selection criteria on the first page
The subsequent pages display the information matching those criteria
Some of the data has been removed from this report for display here.
I can brand your system with your company colours and logo as can be seen in the report examples above, and in the form below.
As mentioned above under 'Customised menu System' you will not see the standard Access Menus.
You will not see any programming code
You will not see any raw data tables
You will not see any data queries
The things mentioned above are for programmers to deal with, not end users.
I always endeavour to create systems that are easy to use, are not confusing and are fast.