10 tips for designing great looking layouts in FileMaker Pro

DESIGNING USER INTERFACES in FileMaker Pro is a challenge for most, if not all, developers.  We all strive for the interface that is great looking, intuitive, and easy to use. This is even more critical given the trends in the industry now towards oversimplification–many times functions and tasks are so well hidden and non-intuitive that experienced users are left confused (iTunes, anyone?).

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FileMaker Pro makes it easy to create custom solutions for managing business information on iPad, iPhone, Windows, Mac, and the web.  With FileMaker Pro, data is always available no matter where you are or what device you are using.  However, data is worthless if you cannot get to it and interact with it using an intuitive user interface.  Luckily, FileMaker Pro has you covered there too with flexible design tools to make your database screens (layouts) look and work the way you want – all without programming.

This article provides some simple best practices when building layouts for solutions.  Many of these might seem like common sense but are also easily overlooked when designing the look and feel of layouts.

Be Consistent >
Align fields and layout objects effectively >
Keep It Simple >
Navigation >
Design for the appropriate screen size / resolution >
Use of color >
Consider using a grid pattern >
Use of fonts >
Use a library file >

Use of Whitespace– In most circumstances, there is always room for more whitespace when designing the layouts for your FileMaker solutions.  When in doubt, provide more.  It is ultimately always easier to take away some whitespace if you have to that to gain it back.  The use of whitespace can also be used to help group items that are logically connected to communicate that they are connected.

The use of whitespace almost always helps keep your layouts simple (see #3 above) by provided a less cluttered, more polished look to your layouts.

For great tips on the use of space, check out Alexis Allen’s excellent post.

10 tips for designing great looking layouts in FileMaker Pro | FileMaker.


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