The ArcPad Team Blog

Unofficial stuff from the team behind the World's leading mobile GIS platform

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Edit Forms - Design and Usability



When the ArcPad Data Manager creates Default Edit Forms for editable layers in your project during Check-Out, the controls will be arranged in a simple grid layout on the form in the same order of the fields (l-r) in your data.

Once you have checked-out your data, you can use ArcPad Studio to open your Edit Forms and customize their look and feel.

Here are some simple tips and tricks to make your ArcPad Edit Forms more beautiful and easier to use.

Color/Style: Color and Style are effective tools to create strong visual cues within your forms. They can be used to build an aesthetically pleasing Form, as well as create contrast and indicate importance for each Control. Some examples of effectively using color and style include:

  • Bold, Red Font to indicate Required Fields
  • Different colored backgrounds to delineate Form Pages
  • Pictures/Symbols in place of Descriptions
  • Larger Text for Headings


Organization: When determining the layout of your Forms, think carefully about the Data Collection Project and organize your Controls accordingly. This may include Ordering, Grouping or a combination of both. Some techniques you can use to organize your Controls are:

  • Location: This can be used to Group Controls based on the Spatial Proximity of the Data Collection Task e.g; Measurements above and below Line-of-Sight, Inspections made inside and outside of a building.
  • Alphabetically: This will arrange the Controls on your Form in Alphabetical Order (A-Z)
  • Time: This determines the Chronological Order of the Data Collection Tasks and arranges the Controls accordingly.
  • Category: This will Group your Controls into Categories where Controls share similar characteristics e.g; Date and Time, First and Last Names.
  • Continuum: This will Order your Controls along a continuous scale eg. Easiest to Hardest Task or Smallest to Largest Control Size.
Choose the technique or combination of techniques that is best suited to your Data Collection Project.

Alignment: Ensuring that the Controls on your Form are aligned will make your form both look good and feel good to use. The Form Designer in ArcPad Studio uses a point grid background to assist with the alignment, symmetry and proportion of your Controls. Controls can also be Aligned and Re sized to match existing Controls easily in ArcPad Studio using the 'Control' Menu.

Remember the Aesthetic Usability Effect - A more attractive form is easier to use than an ugly one!

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