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Don’t hate me for being beautiful…


harryglos
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Greetings To All Fellow FileMaker-Ins,

 

On June 5th I posted a message on the Thread “Ugly is as Ugly does or Ooops I-be-Ugly-Mamma!" It’s a large thread and one of my posts contained the paragraph;

 

“I may like Hot Pink, as I know many of you do Ar-Ar-Ar! But I lose my desire for it quickly if I find over 80% doesn’t. I’m working with a client as we speak who is in the advertising business and they had one design request. "Make the screens look like your looking though glass"! Somehow that really tickled the design whimsy in me and I felt as though I new exactly what they were talking about. I’ll post it when I’m done for all of your reactions.”

 

If you’d like to read the entire post click here. http://filemakertoday.com/com/showpost.php?p=37506&postcount=47

 

Just to add a little more background. One of the reasons they wanted this look, is they have screens that are used by their clients to input job information. One of the first things they told me is that the standard “Gray on Gray” just wasn’t going to do the job and was not the impression they wanted for their agency. They also did not want some wild Op-Art kind of thing either. That’s when the guy heading the project said, “It must look professional and if there is a way to do it, make the screens look like your looking though glass”! I have recently completed this project and I’m posting the finished product as I said I would. The client is delighted which is of obvious importance! So what say my fellow FileMaker-ins?

 

Scroll down a couple messages to see the Screen... Thanks Ross!smiley-laughing

 

I have a story for you right out of the pages of the recent FileMaker symposium better known as Devcon Orlando. As you know my close personal friend Ray of CobaltSky fame was there. To give you an idea of how close we are, every time he saw me he’d play hide-go-seek. See close, fun and entertaining too!smiley-smile

 

Ray, being the FileMaker icon that he is, hosted some of the sessions. It was the last, late in the day session, that was really something and I hope Ray doesn’t mind my telling you about it, as close as we are and all.

 

Ray swaggered, remember I said swaggered not staggered, into the meeting room. Looked to his left and said, “Everybody on this side of the room is a Lilly-livered, yellow-bellied coward, who wouldn’t know a calc from a can of talc” he shouted. He looked to his right and said, “Everybody on this side is a flabby, dimwitted do-nothing idiot who wouldn’t know a layout from a walk-about.” smiley-surprised

 

Everybody knows that Ray knows his stuff so no one dared challenge him. Satisfied, he turned around and started walking towards the podium when he heard the sound of hurried footsteps. He turned and said “Glosenger, where do you think you’re going?” So I stopped in my tracks, I mean I ain’t messin with Ray when he has his dandruff up. So I said “Sorry Ray”, “I was on the wrong side of the room.”smiley-wink

 

I’ll come back and talk about some of the unique features of this layouts after you’ve taken a shot, oops, a look and I’ve suffered through your comments, Ender’s not withstanding!

 

Some folks have little to no humor in them. A friend asked that I donate an instrument to their schools marching band and didn’t think it very funny when I donated a Tuba-Toothpaste. smiley-laughing

 

See you soon Mondookers…

 

Live Long & prosper and Remember Who Loves Ya,

 

Harry

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Hi Sir Robert,

 

Hey, for what I charge I always have the time...smiley_cool Glad you liked it my friend!

 

Live Long & prosper and Remember Who Loves Ya,

 

Harry

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Hi Harry,

 

That’s the best looking screen I think i’ve seen and probably the only one that just has client information. I’m surprised with all the information on the screen how easy it is to see everything. I’ve got to hand it to you, you produce the kind of work you talk about! You’ve talked so much about the screens that make you sit back and say “Ha What” in confusion! I new what this screen was doing in about 10 seconds! I read your post back in June and remember I was thinking at the time, “How are you going to make a layout look like it’s under glass? Well you did it and as I said it look’s great!

 

I have a couple questions for you.

• What’s in the top left hand corner by the name Client Data?

• Tell me about the “People” area and the “Phones for name selected” area. I want to be sure I understand what I’m looking at.

 

Sorry for all of the praise, i’ll think of something negative to say later! Oh and Ross, thanks so much for putting the screen on the post.

 

James

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Hey James,

 

First of all do you want that in cash, check or money order? You made me blush man!Opps!

 

Wingwalker Said: • What’s in the top left hand corner by the name Client Data?
That’s my screen robot. Click on any one of the nine buttons and the screen goes to that location on your monitor. And since you’ve read my other posts, YES the screen opens in the “Big Middle” of the monitor.smiley-wink
Wingwalker Said: • Tell me about the “People” area and the “Phones for name selected” area. I want to be sure I understand what I’m looking at.
Click on a name in the People portal and the “Phones for name selected” portal shows all phone numbers, email addresses or web sites pertaining to that person. It allows you to have a virtually unlimited number of people and phones. The number is highlighted differently from the rest so you can see whom you’re calling. Especially helpful if you’re manually dialing the phone, looking between the phone and the screen. The numbers right there, highlighted and easy to see.

 

Another thing about Charlie Tuna’s highlighted number. If you click it, it dials the number, click an email address and it goes to an email with that address, click on a web site address, well you get the picture! And it’s smart, it not only knows one from the other it keeps a record of who, when, where and how long. I could go on, but it’s just very cool. Actually cool is a bad word! We see a lot of cool things in databases today that are cool, but of little practical use. I try very hard to spend as little time as possible on the “Cool things” and just stick with the things that add functionality.

 

I hope that answers your questions. And no worries about saying anything negative. We'll reserve that for Ender and his Terrible Hoard of Humpbacked Beasts”!smiley-surprised

 

Oh, let me add that by clicking on "Custom Screen" download button on my first post, you'll have the screen in it's acutal size!

 

Live Long & prosper and Remember Who Loves Ya,

 

Harry

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Thanks Harry for showing this. I think it's a great way to discuss design stuff - what's there to talk about if there's nothing to talk about is what I mean.

 

So.

It's really good looking, but I don't like it at all!

See, I'm one of them humpbacked beasts, oh no I let my vulture loose to pick away at it and look what it came up with:

 

- it's way too full! why do I need to crane my neck to read the last three buttons?

- it's way too full! I see a general selection pane, company specific info, contact lists and then contact specific info. Why is that not in separate tabs?

If you did that you'd be able to make all portals the same size, which would make a quieter screen that's also a lot emptier.

 

How am I doing so far taking the confrontational stance? my hump showing yet? I'm a really friendly person normally and I hate to dish out diss. But I did want to make these here points. And no, what I make usually looks much tackier. But quieter, also....

 

What's that you're saying? it's a crow? Nah... not even close.

 

Maarten

:)

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Whoa, this is nice Harry! If you don’t mind my asking, where did you get the buttons and the things that make it look as you said, “Looking through glass”?

 

I’m just kind of sitting here shaking my head. I’ve not seen anything quite like this before. I’m new to Filemaker but not all that new to databases and I had no idea this could even be done. What programs do you use to get these effects?

 

Kjoe are we looking at the same screen? Everything looks to be in such a logical order and is very “Quiet” from what I see! I’ve recently been looking at a lot of different programs out there in the Filemaker community and this is so far ahead of what I’ve been looking at it isn’t even funny. I know that there is no such thing as everybody liking the same thing, but man oh man!

 

I just noticed that the client addresses are in a portal. That is really smart, i’ve seen so many programs where everything is hard coded and if you have more than two addresses you’re out of luck. I deal with a food company that has 18 different shipping addresses alone. And you have to have the shipping address right because that’s what dictates freight charges. So I see the importance of that immediately.

 

That’s a funny story about Ray. I learned a long time ago not to be drinking anything while reading your posts. I’d of had coffee up my nose again!

 

Thanks for sharing this with us Harry. I like it!

 

Milo

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Hey they’re Kjoe,

 

Yep, you’ve always had a problem coming out saying what’s on your mind. Keep em guessing, that’s your motto!

 

A lot of what we do is at least somewhat dependent on the client. This client was especially adamant on this screen and is the reason I chose to show it. Obviously I like it because I built it, but I also have a great deal of respect for you and I’m trying to have a better understanding of what we’re discussing. I guess when you said “I don’t like it at all” sums it up your feelings pretty quick… BTW did you happen to download the full size version?

 

Lets break it down…

 

• It’s too full and I have to crane my neck. My God Kjoe, first you’re a crow, then you’re a vulture and now you’re a crane? A lesser man would close this post right now. I don’t know what three buttons your “Craning” your neck over, I simply don’t see any of that!

• It’s way too full. Here I thought you were a "Glass half full" kind a guy! Well I’m not so sure I’d argue that point, it has more on it than would have been my first choice as well. But this is what the client wanted so its what he got. I don’t agree with the separate tabs and all, but maybe that’s just me.

• If you did that you'd be able to make all portals the same size. I don’t disagree about space savings, but having all the portals the same size is not what I was after and would give, in my opinion, a rather generic, flat look to the screen. The intent was to cause visual interest while organizing things in such a way that the eye could easily concentrate on the portion of the screen of immediate interest.

 

This client wanted the screen to “Pop” and carry all of the information that would have to do with a customer contact. I believe by all reasonable measure, this screen accomplishes that.

 

Hey Mile how’s tricks,

 

With regard to the buttons, I designed them and everything else right within FileMaker. No other program was used to generate anything within the solution. It’s all native FileMaker!

 

I’m pleased you liked the screen you are a true Man amount Men. And Kjoe I don't forget you either. What bird is always sad? A Bluebird Ar-Ar-Ar...smiley-laughing

 

Live Long & prosper and Remember Who Loves Ya,

 

Harry

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Harry, I'm shocked:

 

And no worries about saying anything negative. We'll reserve that for Ender and his Terrible Hoard of Humpbacked Beasts”!smiley-surprised

Why would I say anything negative? I'm not like kjoe, who can't hold his tonuge when he sees an overly-busy, cramped interface! I would never come out and tell you in front of your buds that your layout looks like it belongs in an air-traffic control console, rather some poor secretary's computer screen. Have I ever done you wrong, ripping into your life-blood, like your supposed 'friend', kjoe? I mean, sure he means well, giving a mondooker's perspective to try to help you out, but WE know you don't need that kind of help.

 

You've got years of anecdotal interviews about your interface, telling you that "Yes, I like having everything I might ever need to see all on one screen, even if I can't read what's in the stubby little fields. I can just click into any field I need to read," and "Having the buttons wrap around the side of the screen looks perfectly natural. It doesn't look at all like they just don't fit," and "Don't worry about having to resize all your main navigation buttons in a year, we won't ever need to add another module. Or if we do, you can just add it to the side, right?"

 

No my friend, I think your interface fits the 'glossy' look just right. Even up to the embossed section titles that must be especially fun to maintain. And don't worry about naysayers like kjoe. Sure, someone will probably come back and tell you about how slow it can be to load screens with boat-loads of portals, and gradients aren't very optimal either, but this thing isn't meant for suckers with slow network connections, man. You don't need them! You can just give them the bird--er, 'crow'.

smiley-tongue-out

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The intent was to cause visual interest while organizing things

 

An anecdote. Today I helped out at the school of my children. They wanted a new name sign on the school. It's a primary school so it should be a happy sign with all colours and stuff. So what they designed was to jigsaw out 25 centimeter high (that's 10" just under, for you non metric people) Comic Sans letters. I'm not saying Comic Sans is a historic high point in typographical design, actually it's terrible to see as body text. Nevertheless it's a playful kind of letter. So we painted the letters in bright colours, you know red, yellow, blue, green, red, yellow, and so on, in a high gloss coat.

Since I own a scaffold I was put in charge of glueing the letters on the wall (you can see that in the netherlands, what you own makes you get jobs, not what you can do :P ). So now the debate came HOW to stick them on. Some said, like a paper streamer. Some said, a hodgepodge! now that's playful! Some said: turn the letters around their center of gravity. I think if we'd asked fifty more people, there would have been fifty more suggestions of how to arrange the letters in a playful way.

In the end we just stuck them on in a straight line. The straight line made for a readable school name sign. All the playfulness was put in the choice of letters and the choice of colour. Any more made the idea come out worse not better.

 

The point I'm trying to make is: in design every time we need to find the balance between information (new things that are not the same: american.com is not the same as Clark Kent from shipping) and redundancy (same things are the same: such as all your buttons are the same). In graphic design (which is part of interface design) information and redundancy comes both from the actual content (in this case, client info) and the graphic elements (colours, buttons, boxes, portals). Since you have to put so much information into the content (four types of info!) all the redundancy you can muster should be put into the graphics. I don't think that's generic and flat at all.

 

That's why I was harassing you about all the different size portals and stuff. Take a ruler and see how many elements don't align. They should, really they should. And that's why I suggested using tabs... because I don't see a way of achieving that with this much information on one screen.

 

Let me tell you this. I really think the design is quite good. The saturated colour scheme is good. Given the amount of info it holds -and which was a design requisite-, you'r still able to find your way around which is good. But I would have made a different design and discussing designs is the whole point right. I want to share another anecdote. It's about students of architecture in Delft, the Netherlands. In my time and a little before that, there were two professors who were celebrities in the field. Picture this: a group of trembling students who have worked for seventy-two hours straight to make their design presentation ready. Professor 1 walks past the designs that are tacked to the wall in about five minutes. Some designs she just rips from the wall saying: this is crap! Another session, another student. He's working on his graduation design. Five teachers and professor 2 are his judges. The teachers put him on the griddle, this is no good, that is shit, the other is no use at all, etc. The student is about to burst into tears. Finally professor 2 walks up to one of the drawings, peers at it closely and says: This is good! work on this part! Six weeks on, the student graduated with lauds.

 

So where's this ramble leading? Oh yea: it's easier to judge than to create. so thanks harry.

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Greetings Fellow FileMaker-Ins,

 

I'll tell you what after reading some of these posts I feel like the only Proctologist at a Pewee-Herman convention!smiley-frown

Ender Said: I would never come out and tell you in front of your buds that your layout looks like it belongs in an air-traffic control consol.

Hey thanks man, the very look I was going for.smiley-wink
Ender Said: Like your supposed 'friend', kjoe? I mean, sure he means well, giving a mondooker's perspective to try to help you out, but WE know you don't need that kind of help.
Yah, Boo-Hiss Kjoe!smiley-undecided
Ender Said: You've got years of anecdotal interviews about your interface, telling you that "Yes.
Thank you Ender, you’ve always been my favorite!smiley-smile But don't call me Anecodotal...

 

Ender Said:No my friend, I think your interface fits the 'glossy' look just right.
Elvis said it best… Thank you, thank you very much!smiley-smile

 

One thing nice abut Ender is he never uses any double meaning or verbal slight of hand. Just straight forward, here you go kind of language. I like that in a boy!smiley-tongue-out

 

You may have noticed how Kjoe’s last post was more warm and cuddly, obviously trying to suck up for his past cruelty. But I’m sorry kjoe, the “Bird is out”, figuratively speaking of course.

Kjoe said: Let me tell you this. I really think the design is quite good. The saturated colour scheme is good. Given the amount of info it holds -and which was a design requisite-, you'r still able to find your way around which is good.
Ya-Ya-Ya!
Kjoe said: But I would have made a different design and discussing designs is the whole point right.
Of course you would and that’s as it should be. It would be a poor place indeed if we all did things by the HarryGlos School of design. A better place mind you!

 

Kjoe said: So where's this ramble leading? Oh yea: it's easier to judge than to create. so thanks harry.

Ya sure Kjoe! First you say, “It's really good looking, but I don't like it at all!” An oxymoron if I ever heard one. It’s like the other day my wife and I are driving along and we drive through a swarm of what we have here in Florida called Love Bugs and they were making popping noises as they hit the windshield. My wife says “I can’t believe how loud they are,” and I said “Keep in mind we’re hitting them at 70 miles an hour.” Her reply left me speechless. “I didn’t know bugs could fly that fast.” A Kjoe-issam for sure.smiley-wink

 

Without a doubt, design is my favorite subject. Not that I necessarily know anything about it, it’s just my favorite! Do I want you guys to like my work? You bet I do because you’re my Peers! Did I spell that with a “P”? OK I did! And I respect you greatly. No joke here friends, I respect you greatly!

 

Look, I know that your mothers read my stuff and it’s tough to have her turn from the computer screen and say things to you like “Why can’t you be more like Harry?” Then your little ones coming up to you, maybe even sitting on your lap, maybe even with a little tear in their eye saying, “It’s OK daddy, I’ll still say you’re the best. It’s Ok to lie if it’s for you? Isn’t it Daddy”! But I can’t even begin to imagine how you must feel when your wife turns from the computer screen after looking at my “layout under glass” and says, “Why can’t you have one as nice as Harry’s”!smiley-surprised

 

Maybe I do know the feeling a little. Just the other day my Wife and I were talking and she said. “In the event that Hollywood made a movie based on our lives, who would you want to play you?” I thought for a minute, then answered Tom Selleck.” My wife says, “Oh, in that case I’ll play myself!” Don’t you just hate when that happens?

 

Live Long & prosper and Remember Who Loves Ya,

 

Harry

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Harry

 

It may have been more cuddly but I also tried to put some sentences in it that actually had anything to do with designing UI screens. Because I do think that it's an important subject - I know you do too. And it has been a subject of earlier threads also. But it kind of stops when all we're getting is you saying it's good and me saying it's not. The why's are what it's about. I don't care about taste. That's where the oxymoron came from. And - I know this is probably dangerous to say- I don't care what clients say. (what clients tell you what they want is seldom what they really want and what they really want is seldom what they really need. at least a consultant should be wary of this possibility. mind you, he should also be considering the possibility that they do know exactly what they need and can say so in a loud clear voice. never mind.)

 

I do care about getting some of the underlaying rules out that govern good screen design. And the two points I made were about the information-redundancy balance and - as a practical tool for this, aligning objects, columns, etc.

 

Now it may be baloney but if it is, I'd like to hear why. Or if it's not clear what I meant, then I'd like to hear that too.

 

No more shinkicking, no more smiley - winks, let's just talk about this shall we?

 

maarten

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Hey Kjoe,

 

You’re right of course Maarten; it’s the logic behind it all that’s equally important to the design aspect. Today has been somewhat hectic so with your kind indulgence, lets get together tomorrow and kick things around.

 

Live Long & prosper and Remember Who Loves Ya,

 

Harry

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Hi-Ho All Yee FileMaker-Ins,

 

It's Sunday, Sunday, Sunday and time for NO Football... Yehhhhhhhhhh!

 

Lets jump in here a bit with some added information to help put things together. If you're able to download the screen shot it would be very helpfull to see the full size screen. Click here Custom Screen.jpg.zip

 

Here's some Client information.

 

With regard to monitor size, screen redraw time etc., this isn’t a problem for this specific customer. The smallest monitor in the place is 17” and CPU speed was not an issue. As in most Ad agencies 90% of the computers are Mac’s and the few PC’s are primarily there just to show how good the Mac’s are!smiley-laughing Sorry Kjoe, but that had to have a face of some kind…

 

You make good points Kjoe. One in particular is alignment. I didn’t realize until you made the point that I did not post my final version and does most certainly have some things out of alignment. I should have paid more attention. I was thinking more about the pure appearance “Under Glass” aspect than the version I was posting, my bad!

 

I don’t see the information redundancy unless you're talking about the two portals devoted to phone numbers, email and web addresses. One is Customer/Client specific and the other is People specific. Could they be combined sure, but in my opinion separation was necessary to maintain the structure sought.

 

Let me dig in a little on some things the customer was adamant about and how I implemented them into the system. One piece of information that my help you better understand this screen and it’s functionality is the gentleman in charge of the project, who spend many years with a large telemarketing company. He wanted all areas of information pertaining to a contact on one screen and I get into this a little more below.

 

One big bug-a-boo was phone numbers; he felt there was never enough space allocation for phone numbers. He also wanted to make sure that the screen contained large easy to see letters and numbers with good separation around them. He wanted to make sure when someone was looking for a number or was on the phone they could quickly and easily see the necessary information. Another was he wanted to keep scrolling to an absolute minimum. This and other things he wanted and he wanted it on one screen… Period! There were others as well, but these my help you better understand what I needed to work with. So here’s what I did.

 

I contacted a number of my clients and asked them to generate some information for me. With some I had to add a script or two and sometimes a calculation, because I needed to know things you don’t normally build into a solution. Here’s what I was after.

 

• How many people do you list per company?

• Ho many phone numbers; emails and web addresses do you list per company?

• How many phone numbers and email addresses do you list per person?

 

I'm glad I asked for this information because if I'd gone on what I thought, I'd have been way off. From the information they provided I found that if I had 5 rows available for people and 5 rows available for phone numbers and email addresses for each person, this would accommodate better than 85% of their customers. Meaning that 85% would not require scrolling as they cycled through their customers. A percentage the customer felt was acceptable.

 

The “Client selection” portal was mostly a matter of showing the number you reasonably can, based on available space, which is 13. The box below the client selection list is for filtering the portal. Simply type in “P” for all companies starting with the letter P or “Liverp” to find the company “Liverpool Savings Company”.

 

I do my design work first on paper. That has always seemed to work best for me. Maybe that goes back to reading a book. I've never been one to curl up in bed with a good laptop! But when you think about the visual aspect of a screen, we don’t look at the full screen for information? We look at the area of the screen of immediate interest. It may be something like Click on a client in the Contact Selected portal. Look at the Client name & Address area to make sure the proper client is showing and then to the phone number area. Then bases on the conversation you can send them some correspondence and/or make a simple note. But we look at each area individually.

 

No question there is a lot of information on the screen and that was a given at the start of the project. So the question is “Was the design successfully implemented based on the known parameters? That’s for your eyes, design methods and general sensibilities. And did it fulfill one of the primary tenants, "Look like it's under glass"?

 

I do look forward to all of your comments pros and cons. The design topic is important and as I’ve said many times, my personal favorite. We learn by sharing our views and all of us look forward to you sharing yours!

 

Live Long & prosper and Remember Who Loves Ya,

 

Harry

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I don’t see the information redundancy

 

That's not what I meant... I mean this on another level: of the screen as a graphic object as a whole, so the text objects, the texts themselves, and the way they are ordered. For example:

 

in "||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||" the information is minimal and the redundancy is maximal.

In "qwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmjhgfds" the redundancy is minimal and the information is maximal.

Both have the same amount of symbols (32)

But as string one tells you next to nothing, string 2 tells you so much you can't make heads or tails of it (actually you'll probably have spotted immediately that I just typed the alpha keys of my keyboard and then some more) - there is no meaning. But "Quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog" has meaning. Because the symbols are grouped into words. The pattern of words makes for the redundancy. The ordering of letters in the words gives the information, and yes since this is language, there is also meaning from the order of the words. It's hard to find a clear-cut example.

 

You can apply this to anything that can be observed. A modern high rise may have little information and lots of redundancy (all the floors have the same pattern of windows and balconies).

bpr1.jpg

 

A building by Hundertwasser is exactly the opposite: wien0009.jpg

 

 

Now a screen of a database is different to architecture or mere strings of symbols: not only is it a graphic object, but it also gives information on a level that is non-visual (for instance, the knowledge that clark kent works for American dot com) through visual means.

 

And since the goal of the database is not to have beautiful screens but to convey non-visual information visually as efficiently as possible, the beauty of the screen must be a function of this (the screen is beautiful because it conveys the information in the database as effectively as possible. ) this is a kind of form-follows-function dogma, but I adhere to it like chewing gum to the soles of your trainers.

 

Now the beauty that's in the eye of the beholder:

"Look like it's under glass"

yup it does.

 

This is all theory and I haven't even close read your post. I'll get into the rest later on.

 

Maarten

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Hi everyone,

 

I don’t know Kjoe it seems like you’re taking us beyond database design. I’m no design expert by any stretch of the imagination. I simply know what I like and sometimes a layout is just a layout, no balconies, no building.

 

Based on Harry’s initial post having to do with his accomplishing the "Under Glass" appearance. It seems like pure foolishness to me to say that job was not accomplished.

 

I also think that the general layout is great, especially when you consider all it covers. I would much rather have everything pertaining to contacts right there in front of me and Harry’s point about looking at the part of the screen that you need is right. It also seems to me to be organized in a way you would expect. I was thinking how I would have done it and all I could think of is how happy I am that I didn’t have too! I can't evean imagine how long it must have taken to deside on the desing and put it all together. You could have knocked me to the floor when Harry said in one of his posts that it’s all native fileMaker. But it's like you said in one of your posts Kjoe, it's a lot easier to Critique than to desing and build.

Even my wife likes it and my little girl took a look and said “googooggee” and you know that’s got to be good!

 

Milo

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I simply know what I like

 

Hi Milo

 

I do too. But all I'm trying to do is get to know why. Harry has presented an interesting example for discussion which incidentally made his client very happy. I'm not saying that I would have done a better job given the design requirements (I did say a different one but I admit that's kind of lame). I probably, for instance, would not have gotten the bright idea to call up some people to find out how many portal rows would be acceptable as a minimum.

 

I hope thinking about screens purely as a graphic design is helpful in making better layouts generally, not Harry's design specifically. Aside from any design requisites and also aside from considerations about performance and about user interactions, such as how he might move about the screen.

It could be I'm talking about maybe 10% of the work involved, if getting the user's wishes translated is 60, getting good screen navigation is 30%. But somehow, I think the latter two meet at the level of the graphic and that's what I'm after. I know it's not very practical what I'm talking about.

 

Maarten

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Greetings Friends and Neighbors,

 

Kjoe said: I probably, for instance, would not have gotten the bright idea to call up some people to find out how many portal rows would be acceptable as a minimum.”

Kjoe, I’m not sure how you meant that; I can only tell you I did it because I really didn’t know the answer! Nor was I willing to gamble on it and I’m glad I didn’t because I’d of been wrong! Even worse, it wouldn’t have taken long for the client to know it! So, Good ol Harry at best, did not do his job or at worst, lied to him! Pick the one you like; I don’t like either one!

 

I know that some have probably snickered over some of my posts on past threads where I talk about taking a laptop and going to malls and association meetings etc. asking for input on colors, designs and alike. I guess it does sound kinda funny at that. But I do it because everyone does not share the same idea, on design and color and appearance. We’ve found that to be true on this thread and every other post on design as well. It’s not that my design idea is wrong, anymore than your is! It’s simply a difference of opinion. That’s why I go to the malls and association meetings with a laptop, because it takes me a little out of the equation and gives a larger perspective. My feeling is this “If I can make a design that the majority like, I have the best chance of making my client and my clients users happy”!

 

I can always count on you guys to make for a lively discussion and I cannot even begin to tell you the respect I have for each of you. There are a lot of folks not willing to "Put themselves out there" so believe me when I say how vary much I appreciate your involvement and your insight not only here but over the entire Café! You're the best!smiley-laughing

 

I got myself in trouble the other day down at the lumber store. I use scraps of wood called “Shorts” for carving and saw some great looking pieces in a bin behind the counter. So I said to the clerk “Do you mind if I come around and poke through your shorts?”smiley-surprised Ya, you’re right; I’ll just stick to my laptop!smiley-wink

 

Live Long & prosper and Remember Who Loves Ya,

 

Harry

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I meant it exactly as I said it. I go about theorizing about balconies and portals and you go out on the street and ask people what they like. It's easy for me... no one says to me how much info they want on one screen. All my co workers say is Look maarten, we want this project tracker and we want to be able not only to create price offers and timesheets and invoices but also do workload planning. Off you go now, have a ball!

 

kind regards and/or later, dude :P

 

Maarten.

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My feeling is this “If I can make a design that the majority like, I have the best chance of making my client and my clients users happy”!

 

I agree totally, Harry! I have spent the last 25 years studying User needs. I have interviewed 300-400 Users (guessing, not exact figure). And I thought I MUST be closer to the target because of it. But when I found out that there have been thousands upon thousands spent (and tens of hundreds of thousands of Users interviewed and studied), I realized my sample population was too limited to really count. I now study studies instead ... why reinvent the wheel?

 

BTW, I LIKE your design. smiley-laughing

 

LaRetta

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But I don't advocate that your databases look like that.

Well as long as the doorbells are on the left...

Kidding. Did you know that all the floors are curvy? you can see the dark contours. Just try to keep a bookshelf from Ikea upright in there! Well probably if you live there you wouldn't want to be caught dead with stuff from Ikea, but still.

 

When I design a page layout for a report or a brochure or a poster, I tend to start out with all kinds of boxes and lines and stuff. And then I paste in the texts. And then I look upon my work and say: Ooo this is UGLY. And then I throw away everything except for the texts and the images that need to go in there and make sure that this is as quiet as possible. No indents. No more than two fonts, three tops. No frills no nothing. And then I look upon my work and say: well it'll have to do. ( okay sometimes I look really smug when I say that). And only occasionally I then put back some boxes or devider lines. But what I think is: the content of the page should carry the page. I wonder if that approach would work in Filemaker. Since a computer screen layout is always about arranging graphic objects....

 

Still it might work to try, duplicate a layout, then set all deviders, boxes, portal line widths, etc. to white and zero, except for the texts. and see if you can still find your way around...then probably it is a good design. At least, you'll get my seal of approval, as if that means anything.

 

Maarten

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Hi Harry and the rest of the Cafe crowd,

 

yet again you guys have caused me to lose sleep - keeping me up reading another entertaining and educational thread.

 

For what it is worth Harry that screen is way up there in the top 10 FileMaker GUI designs I have seen in the last 20 years or so of FileMaking.

 

Looking at the full size jpg I kept clicking on buttons that for some reason didn't work, hoping to steal, er, learn more of your methods and most excellent design skills.

 

Have a Great day!

* *pete.

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Hey Fellow FileMaker-Ins,

 

Yes folks I must start with those dreaded two words...

Kjoe said:smiley-laughing Well as long as the doorbells are on the left...

Man, that’s just so wrong on so many levels! You may remember it was the “Ugly is as Ugly does or Ooops I-be-Ugly-Mamma!” thread that made Ender take an entire week off to change the window in his bathroom from center wall to Top Left. Now his poor wife can’t see him leave so she can smile and wave goodbye in the morning. Ya like that would ever happen!smiley-smile

 

LaRetta, I thank you for your post and I’m pleased you liked the design, dancing banana not withstanding… You are truly a lady of great discernment. But your 2nd post was too abbreviated… It isn’t “Blind” its “Deaf Dumb and Blind and my daddy owns a liquor store”! Now There is something a great woman is made of...smiley-wink

 

I love this business I really do. It’s an honor and privileged to work with the people and businesses I’ve been associated with through the years! Even including you dead-beats!smiley-tongue-out Those of you who have followed previous threads for a while have heard me say on more than one occasion. “What do you bring to the party”? Meaning, What’s your background, what have you done, where have you gone, what did you do while you were there and what did you learn? That’s what you bring to the party! It’s all so very important because every bit of it you bring to this business. Hey, what if I was a stripper? Woo-Haaa... La-Coo-Co-Racha, La-Coo-Co-Racha!smiley-laughing

 

I know I’m just a “Wild and Crazy Guy” but I love it when I open FileMaker, go to the File menu and click on New Database and it opens with this blank window that has my favorite three words. “Define Database For:” From the day I started in this business that name has always started with the same name, “Harry”, Followed by the clients name. And it stays that way until the day I ship the final product. Silly? Probably! Egotistical? Maybe! It’s just my way of not losing focus. It’s my way to never loose touch that no matter the client, I’m the one responsible for the content of the finished product. It’s like I said above it allows us to fully utilize “What we bring to the party”.

 

I guess it’s like the other day when my grandson asked me “I know that babies come from mommies tummies, but how do they get there in the first place?” After I hemmed and hawed awhile, my grandson finally spoke up in disgust saying. “You don’t have to make something up Pop Pop, It’s OK if you don’t know the answer.” Don’t you hate it when that happens?

 

Live Long & prosper and Remember Who Loves Ya,

 

Harry

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Hey Pete,

 

Hey man you were posting at the same time as me so I wasn't able to include you in my last post. Of course Ender and Kjoe were both mentioned in that post so it’s probably a good thing.smiley_cool LaRetta already sent me an email informing me of her displeasure. Oh, not because of Kjoe and Ender, although I'm sure she would of if she didn't have other things on her mind. It was the crack about the liquor store! She said she’d gladly buy one if she no longer had to stand on the street corner yelling “Hey Saylor”!smiley-laughing Now LaRetta you know I love ya right…

 

Pete you’ve always been my favorites, but top 10? What’s wrong with top 1! Of course I know little about the 20 year part of your post. My being 10 at the time and all.smiley-wink

 

I always try to do my best work and not forget things. But I’m not as bad as LaRetta. The other day she forgot where she parked her car and a police officer noticing her agitation asked if something was wrong. LaRetta says, “I can’t find my car.” So he says “What kind is it?” She could only give him a quizzical look and say, “Name some.”

 

Live Long & prosper and Remember Who Loves Ya,

 

Harry

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For what it is worth Harry that screen is way up there in the top 10 FileMaker GUI designs I have seen in the last 20 years or so of FileMaking.

Hmm, I think Pete needs to get out more.

 

And what's up with you Harry? Since when do you let your clients design your interface? I thought you had learned from that hot pink incident.

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Hey Mike,

 

I will have you know that I spoke with Pete and he does get out of the home and sometime as much as twice a month. He’s escorted of course but hey, he gets out.smiley-tongue-out

 

Ender said: And what's up with you Harry? Since when do you let your clients design your interface? I thought you had learned from that hot pink incident.[/QUOTE]

 

It’s the money Mike… The money finely got to me it shames me to say. Ok, that and maybe the trip to Hollywood where my name and hand prints are going on the “Walk of Shame”. No, I jest, it’s the money. Can you blame me, minimum wage and all?smiley-wink

 

You’re right about the “Let your clients design your interface”. I may well qualify for the coveted “Pink Panties” award for that one. But I’ll tell you, when I was sitting in that meeting and the guy said “Like looking through Glass”, as I said on my initial post back in June. Bam! I felt I new exactly what he was looking for and I guess, lucky for me, I was right. It does shame me however that you've not taken credit for it by now. Are you feeling OK, or it just doesn't come up to your lofty standards?So Cool!

 

Live Long & prosper and Remember Who Loves Ya,

 

Harry

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Hi Harry,

 

If you wouldn’t mind I’d like to know a little more about the structure of your solution.

 

I was looking at you Client screen you posted paying particular attention to the navigation buttons showing, Home-Client-Correspond-Projects-Products-Billing-Reports-Calendar and Preferences.

 

The navigation buttons on the right of the screen are they specific to Clients? I’m curious as to their functionality. I think the LISTt button is obvious and I think I have an idea of what the VIEWER button does. What about Progress and Ad Schedule. What do they do?

 

I’m trying to figure out your structure and if you wouldn’t mind kind of walking through the solution I would really appreciate it. Since you've shown us the design appearance standpoint. I'm really curious about your design from the mechanics standpoint.

 

Thanks Harry,

 

James

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