Our previous post highlighted the new capabilities of the venerable FileMaker button. In FileMaker 12’s Design Surface, the once-humble button gains new-found expressive power, enabling it to respond fluidly to user hovers, taps, and clicks via what we termed interactive formatting. The catch: interactive buttons — whether in FileMaker 12, or on any other platform — are prone to semantic misinformation, in which interactive formatting unintentionally misleads and confuses users.
Consider the humble button.
Since the very first moments of FileMaker cosmos, the button has been an essential element of our platform. Over the years, across major and minor product releases, the unassuming button has remained a trusted constant and a dependable workhorse.
How do you begin designing a new database or application? If you start with an Entity Relationship Diagram (ERD), you’re doing it wrong.
It’s natural for a technical person to begin categorizing things into entities – a company has contacts, which have addresses, etc. But this process immediately narrows your perspective to a small subset of the issues at hand, blinding you to many more important challenges and opportunities.
There’s been plenty of discussion on FileMaker’s developer forums about the implications of using CSS to style layouts in FileMaker 12. In case you weren’t aware, FileMaker 12 introduced a new layout design surface whose styling is based on CSS. It’s a powerful new feature that hints at an exciting roadmap for the FileMaker product line. I’m not going to indulge in any details on this topic, however, because FileMaker has yet to officially expose the CSS styling to developers.
But say you were curious, for educational purposes, about what that styling looks like…
One of the most exciting aspects of the newly-released FileMaker 12 product line upgrade is a major redesign to the product’s UI. A new Design Surface modernizes FileMaker Pro layouts and updates every built-in control, giving developers and designers powerful new tools for designing better interfaces.
But as great as Design Surface is, why just stay on the surface?
One of the most valuable aspects of 2011’s FileMaker Developers Conference in San Diego was a far-reaching discussion about the role of design in the FileMaker world. Design wasn’t the official theme of this year’s conference; but it was certainly among the most popular topics. A large number of sessions focused exclusively on design issues:
At PauseOnError, Vincenzo Menanno led the session on FileMaker User Experience (UX) for Developers, brainstorming how to improve the tools we use as FileMaker developers. There were a couple dozen participants, including Heather Winkle, Product Manager for User Experience at FileMaker Inc.
The attached file demonstrates a technique for opening/closing areas of a record, allowing a user to hide the information they don’t want to see.
FileMaker File: DisclosureAreas2.fp7
Neither I nor my client can anticipate every chart that the solution’s users might want to see. A user’s desire to view a high-level visual representation of their data can be spontaneous and idiosyncratic. This technique allows for the user to create an ad hoc chart, albeit within narrow parameters (i.e. the chart is simple, presents only counts of values, and is pre-formatted).
FileMaker File: ChartActiveField.fp7