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Please help with Access 2007 Form Design (current form attached)

Posted on 2011-03-02
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Last Modified: 2012-05-11
Hello, I am building an Access 2007 form for users to enter data concerning medical literature.  The form will end up being more complex than the version posted here, but in this early state I would just like to know if there are less cumbersome ways to go about doing some of the data entry tasks.  The database consists currently of 1 form, frmPtCharacteristics, and several tables from which combo/list boxes are populated.  My question is from two points:
first, do more experienced database creators have feedback on how to make the form more asthetically pleasing?
second, are there ways to improve the usage of space on the form?  That is to say, can something be done to reduce having 3 repeated fields for Race etc... to describe the patient population of a study?  This is my primary concern as a study might have more than 3 different categories for these variables and it would be awful to have to make additional selections for each of these.  Maybe this is unavoidable, but I wanted to get some expert opinions on the matter before I resign myself to it.

Please, any help at this stage would be invaluable,
Bevo
EE-ABS-Example.accdb
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Question by:Bevos
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Jeffrey Coachman earned 334 total points
ID: 35019255
<do more experienced database creators have feedback on how to make the form more asthetically pleasing?>
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

You can listen to Experts argue all week as to what is "aesthetically pleasing"

"Form follows function"
Make the form *Work* worry about looks later...

I am sure other experts will post great suggestion of your "Space" issues...

;-)

JeffCoachman
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by:Bevos
ID: 35019292
Hi again Jeff, thanks for the feedback.  I agree with what you're saying, but do you believe there is no way to adjust how the items here are entered to make it more functional for the user?

Thanks for any feedback,
bevo
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by:Jeffrey Coachman
ID: 35019315
Yes adjusting the controls was your second issue...

I was posting on your first concern about aesthetics...

;-)
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by:Bevos
ID: 35019361
Haha, thanks :)
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by:Jeffrey Coachman
Jeffrey Coachman earned 334 total points
ID: 35023040
The first thing I will say is that tblPtCharacteristics is not "Normalized"

The tip-off is that you have fields named: XXX1, XXX2, XXX3, ...etc

This is a fairly involved subject, but this need to be taken care of first. (Before any discussion about form design.)

Here are some great references:
http://databases.about.com/od/specificproducts/a/normalization.htm
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/283878
http://www.amazon.com/Database-Design-Mere-Mortals-Hands-/dp/0201752840/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1299109358&sr=1-1

JeffCoachman
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Author Comment

by:Bevos
ID: 35023139
Hi Jeff, so to get it to be 1NF I need to have each of those as a separate table? i.e. tblRace1 with [Record Number] as unique ID and then a relationship to the original database?  Is that the only type of error you see or are there more?

Bevo!
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by:burrcm
burrcm earned 166 total points
ID: 35042300
In terms of space and simplicity of appearance, I like to have a selection on one form open another and close the current one, or a stack of subforms which become visible / invisible based on selection, leaving the original form open if for example there are parameter fields on the first form which remain valid throughout the process. The advantage of this system is plenty of real estate to work with and uncomplicated layouts along the way. I trust this makes sense to you.

Chris B
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Author Comment

by:Bevos
ID: 35057546
It does now! Thanks Chris B.  So, if I wanted to describe groups of patients, I should have a subform that's opened when the user selects group?  This form would have the characteristics of that group listed and then a button to add or remove other groups assigned to that [Call Number].  Anyway that I think that is great advice so far.  

Thanks again Chris,
Bevo
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Expert Comment

by:Jeffrey Coachman
ID: 35059517
...but the table(s) still needs to be normalized first...

Again, Tables design and relationships first.

Forms only after the design is proven to be sound...

;-)

JeffCoachman
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