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UI Design

I am using .NET Windows Form for my app. front-end. I want to know is there any standard way of designing user-interface for entry forms. For example, if I make student details Form, how should the interface look like so that user has a sequence flow throughout.
RK Send private email
Tuesday, August 14, 2007
 
 
There is no standard that I have ever heard of. That aside, there aren't really too many sane ways to do it. It is really a matter of preference and style.

Labels above the edit field? Or to the left? I prefer above

Wizard style for forms with many fields? Form scrolling? Tree view? Sidebar of categories on the left? Tabs? Tabs always seems to me a logical choice at first, but if there are too many tabs it can be confusing. If you use the left hand sidebar of categories (which has gained in popularity) - if you have two categories, it seems a bit overkill...

Use mnemonics on field labels, have them focus the control they label...

Use a spacing friendly to small/large font settings.

If you haven't yet developed your own style, look at many successful and easy to use applications you have, and emulate what works well. If there is a standard somewhere, I missed that memo - and so did 1000's of other developers...
I still code in Delphi
Tuesday, August 14, 2007
 
 
I agree with Delphi above. There really aren't any standards.

But I'll second the vote for labels above text boxes instead of beside them. It just looks cleaner and gives you plenty of space if you need to change a label to something longer or need to support multiple languages.
dood mcdoogle
Tuesday, August 14, 2007
 
 
"But I'll second the vote for labels above text boxes instead of beside them. It just looks cleaner and gives you plenty of space if you need to change a label to something longer or need to support multiple languages."

I prefer them beside.  Using double the vertical space will take up a lot of screen space.  Some of my forms have a lot of fields.  The point about languages is a good one.

Sincerely,

Gene Wirchenko
Gene Wirchenko Send private email
Tuesday, August 14, 2007
 
 
Beside makes better use of screen real estate in general due to monitor aspect ratios.

If forms get too crowded one might consider Cue Banners as well under Windows.
Slim Simi
Tuesday, August 14, 2007
 
 
Well I prefer them above for several reasons:

1) It gives a nice clean edge and consistent spacing.

2) You don't feel compelled to abreviate everything to save horrizontal space.

3) It makes it easier to support multiple languages. The same word in another language may be significantly bigger than it's English counterpart so you don't end up having moving columns of labels based on language choice.

4) It is easier to support higher DPI settings as the labels have more room to stretch without impacting the overall size of your form horizontally.

5) If you have so many fields on your form that vertical space is an issue then your forms are too cluttered anyway. Besides, putting them above just gives you more horizontal space so you can fit extra columns in place of extra lines. I'd even venture to say that you have more space with labels on the top because you can keep them pretty tight against the input fields which uses less actual pixel area than a label to the side.

But that's just my opinion. YMMV.
dood mcdoogle
Tuesday, August 14, 2007
 
 
"5) If you have so many fields on your form that vertical space is an issue then your forms are too cluttered anyway."

No, they just have a lot in them.  These are data entry forms.

"Besides, putting them above just gives you more horizontal space so you can fit extra columns in place of extra lines. I'd even venture to say that you have more space with labels on the top because you can keep them pretty tight against the input fields which uses less actual pixel area than a label to the side."

Descriptions are typically longer than the input field.  There is the potential for a lot of wasted space, i.e.
LLLLLLLLLL VV
vs.
LLLLLLLLLL
VV
My input fields vary considerably in length.  Columns would not work for me.

"But that's just my opinion. YMMV."

Quite.  There is no one size that fits all.

Sincerely,

Gene Wirchenko
Gene Wirchenko Send private email
Wednesday, August 15, 2007
 
 
This depends on the context of the user interface - who is using it, what it is they are trying to achieve and what their goals are.

However, there are some usability guidelines based on the findings of existing research studies http://www.usability.gov/pdfs/guidelines.html - the PDFs contain some very useful info. See chapter 13 for form guidelines. For example, try to minimize the amount of data the user must enter; pre-fill fields if you know the data (don't make the user enter the same data twice); provide consistent, meaningful labels located close to the entry fields; provide auto-tabbing etc..

Again, it really depends on who your target users are because one layout or style may be fine for one set of people but not others. For experienced users, directly entering data into fields tends to be faster than selecting from a list box. It's faster to enter a 2 digit State abbreviation than it is to select one - but then you will want to validate the entry even though an experienced user may be more accurate in their entry.
Craig Pickering Send private email
Wednesday, August 15, 2007
 
 
Jeff Watkins Send private email
Tuesday, August 21, 2007
 
 
Keep it simple and don't ask the user anything more than they need to answer. Don't clutter the screen with a bazillion options and widgets, and have a good flow so people can tell what they need to do as soon as they see your UI.

Most things are intuitive actually when you sit down and think about them, so think about them. You can also read a few books about UI design. Joel has one. There are a few others (like "the design of everyday things")
outback
Wednesday, August 22, 2007
 
 

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