The design of inputs - TOP STEP

ut this
s are to be targeted:
 Describe the design phase in terms of your information building blocks.
 Identify and differentiate between several systems design strategies.
 Describe the design phase tasks in terms of a computer-based solution for
an in-house development project.
 Describe the design phase in terms of a computer-based solution
involving procurement of a commercial systems software solution.
6.1-What’s meant by system design?
Information systems design is defined as those tasks that focus on the
specification of a detailed computer-based solution, and is commonly known
as “physical design”. In this phase, the designers’ emphasis is on the
technical or implementation concerns of the system. Thus, whereas systems
analysis placed emphasis on the business problem, systems design places
emphasis on the technical or implementation concerns of the system. From
SW view, it doesn’t mean writing the program codes rather than designing
all components of the system. Remember that more computer systems
purchased than written. Focus is given here to the modern structured design
approach which is a process-oriented technique. It consists of a hierarchy of
modules which makes programs easier to implement and maintain (change).
The Software model is derived from structured design using a structure chart
to graphically document the design of program modules. Figure (6.1) shows
the main phases as well as their role and interactions with the design phase
along the development stage.
6.2- System Design Approaches:
The main approaches and strategies were introduced throughout the
system-analysis chapter. The main design approach can be again
summarized as follows:
1. Model-Driven
2. Modern structured design
3. Information engineering
4. Prototyping
5. Object-oriented
6. JAD
7. RAD
1. Modern Structured Design
Modern Structured Design is a process-oriented technique for breaking up
a large program into a hierarchy of modules that result in a computer
program that is easier to implement and maintain (change). Synonyms
(although technically inaccurate) are top-down program design and
structured programming. The software model derived from structured
design is called a structure chart.
Information Engineering
Information Engineering is a model-driven and data-centered, but processsensitive technique to plan, analyze, and design information systems. The
primary tool of IE is a data model diagram.
The Prototyping
The Prototyping approach is an iterative process involving a close working
relationship between the designer and the users. The Key Benefits of the
prototyping are:
o Prototyping encourages and requires active end-user participation.
o Iteration and change are a natural consequence of systems development –
thus, it accommodates end-users whom tend to change their minds.
o Prototyping endorses the philosophy that end-users wont know what they
want until they see it.
o Prototypes are an active, not passive, model that end-users can see, touch,
feel, and experience.
o An approved prototype is a working equivalent to a paper design
specification, with one exception -- errors can be detected much earlier.
o Prototyping can increase creativity because it allows for quicker user
feedback, which can lead to better solutions.
Prototyping accelerates several phases of the life cycle, possibly bypassing
the programmer
Figure (6.1) Design Phase along the Development Stage
The Object-Oriented Design (OOD)
The Object-Oriented Design (OOD) design is the newest design
strategy and is an extension of object-oriented analysis. Object-oriented
design (OOD) techniques are used to refine the object requirements
definitions identified earlier during analysis, and to define design specific
The Rapid Application Development (RAD):
The Rapid Application Development (RAD) is the merger of
various structured techniques (especially the data-driven information
engineering) with prototyping techniques and joint application development
techniques to accelerate systems development. RAD calls for the interactive
use of structured techniques and prototyping to define the users’
requirements and design the final system. The expedition of the design effort
is enhanced through the emphasis on user participation in Joint application
development (JAD) sessions.
Joint Application Development (JAD)
Joint Application Development (JAD) is a technique that
complements other systems analysis and design techniques by emphasizing
participative development among system owners, users, designers, and
builders. During the JAD sessions for systems design, the systems designer
will take on the role of facilitator for possibly several full-day workshops
intended to address different design issues and deliverables.
6.3-System Design Phases and Tasks: the Whole
In general, the design can be made whether inside (i.e. by the IT staff
of the organization) which is known as indoor design. It can be also done by
outsourcing by contracting an external SW house. There’re a number of
basic tasks to be accomplished during the In-house design phase which can
be summarized as follows:
1. Design of the Information Architecture
2. Design of the Data base
3. Design of the system interface ( inputs and outputs)
4. Design the program modules and package them
5. Update and review the final design
To elaborate more, following tasks are to be designed along with the
indicated charts and tools:
Data-Base Deign-- ERD
Input Design - screen chart, Data capturing form
Output Design - screen chart and printer charts
User Interface Design  user interface charts, transition charts
 Program module Design - structured charts
 Packaging the modules - flow charts
 Finalize and review the design
Figure (6.2) shows the main tasks of a typical in-house design phase. In this
figure, all the deliverable outputs as well as the interactions with each other
also given.
Figure (6.2) Main Tasks of the Design Phase
6.3.1 Design of Application Architecture
An application architecture specifies the technologies to be used to
implement one or more (and possibly all) information systems in terms of
DATA, PROCESS, and INTERFACE, and how these components interact
across a network. It serves as an outline or blueprint for detailed design and
In this task, the main focus is given to design the scope, and criteria of the
main technological components of the information architecture which
–Identify the network architecture, type ( centralized or distributed) and
–Identify the specifications of the processing strategies
– Identify the DBMS
– Identify the program development environment
– Identify the operating system platform
Design specification of the information architecture is documented on
a physical DFD. Such a design serves as scope and criteria or in other words
serves as a blueprint for the remaining tasks of the design phase.
Physical Data Flow Diagrams Vs. Logical DFD:
Physical data flow diagrams (DFDs) model the technical and human
decisions to be implemented as part of an information system. They
communicate technical choices and other design decisions to those who will
actually construct and implement the system. The processes included are
known as physical Processes. A physical process is either a processor, such
as a computer or person, or a technical implementation of specific work to
be performed, such as a computer program or manual process. On the other
hand, a logical process may be assigned to physical processors such as PCs,
servers, mainframes, people, or devices in a network. A physical DFD
would model that network structure. Each logical process requires an
implementation as one or more physical processes. Note that a logical
process may be split into multiple physical processes in the following cases:
o To define those aspects which are performed by people or computers.
o To define those aspects to be implemented by different technologies.
o To show multiple implementations of the same process.
o To add processes for exceptions and internal control (e.g., security).
Logical Data Flow
Physical Data Flow
(as batch
KTD Batch:
Comma delimited
KTD Batch:
End of Month
-1 day
How to document Application Architecture design?
A method to document Application Architecture Design can be summarized
as follows:
1. Draw a physical DFD to represent the network architecture. Each
physical process symbol will represent a client or server processor.
2. For each physical process on the above network architecture model, draw
a physical DFD that shows the event processes (from Chapter 8) that are
assigned to (or duplicated on) that physical processor.
3. For appropriate processes on the above system DFD, draw a more
detailed physical DFD that factor the event into design units.
4. Draw physical, primitive DFD for appropriate processes from step 3.
What’s meant by “ Design Unit” and a “Network architecture DFD”?
A design unit is a self-contained collection of processes, data stores,
and data flows that share similar design characteristics. It serves as a subset
of the total system whose inputs, outputs, files and databases, and programs
can be designed, constructed, and tested as a self-contained unit. Ultimately,
design units must be integrated into a whole system.
o A network architecture is documented as a physical DFD that allocates
processors (clients and servers) and possibly devices (machines and
robots) across a network and shows:
-The connectivity between clients and servers
- Where users will interface with the processors?
6.3.2- Design Databases
In this task, the designer goes through the main steps of designing the database. For a relational DB, following steps apply:
1. -Identify the data entities and their corresponding attributes
2. Identify the relationships based on the corresponding business rules.
Establish and draw the corresponding Entity Relationship Diagram
3. Enhance and finalize the (ERD) by applying normalization
4. Identify the corresponding schemas (e.g. relations or tables)
Figure (6.4) shows an example of an RDB schema, while more details can
be revised or accessed in any DB text book.
The designer should ensure that the DB must be adaptable
considering all design attributes such as: DB-indexes and views, Storage
requirements, Security, Database Integrity, Transaction integrity, Disaster
Figure(6.4) Example of RDB Schema
6.3.2- Design of Inputs, Outputs and User Interfaces:
Such a task covers a number of necessary design steps including:
-Design of inputs screens
-Design of output screens
-Design of user interface dialogue.
The design of inputs refers to designing the screen form as well as
designing data capturing input form for cases where volume data entry from
many data sources.
Output design refers to designing both softcopy and hard copy outputs. In
other words it covers designing of output screens and output reports. The
common tools are screen and printer charts.
The user – interface dialogue includes two main aspects:
1-Identifying the sequencing and transitions of the
program screens.
2- Designing the method or styles of using the program
The first step is documented using what’s called state transition diagram.
The second step is to select and decide the type of the dialogue style among
the different available ones.
The designer document the interface design using what’s called state
transition diagram (STD) which is presented in the following figure.
Request for Proposals (RFP)
An Backgroun
summary of
of RFP
for action on part of
II . Standards
vendor and
Schedule of events leading to
. instructions
contract rules that will govern selection
1 Who may talk with whom and
whenpays for
format for a
. proposal
III Requirements
. Afeatures
e1 Mandatory requirements, features, and
criteria requirements, features, and
criteria requirements, features, and
B Softwar
e1 Mandatory requirements, features, and
criteria requirements, features, and
criteria requirements, features, and
C Servic
. e1 Mandatory
IV Technical
. Conclusio
. n
Input Design & Prototyping
Throughout this chapter the main focus is given to:
 Define the appropriate format and media for a computer input.
 Explain the difference between data capture, data entry, and data
 Identify and describe several automatic data collection technologies.
 Apply human factors to the design of computer inputs.
 Design internal controls for computer inputs.
 Select proper screen-based controls for input attributes that are to
appear on a GUI input screen.
 Design a web-based input interface.
It becomes very important for designer to gain the following knowledge and
practice the guiding skills:
 Main types of inputs
 Through understanding of input units especially displays
 Principles of good input design
 Guidelines for good screen design
Main Types of Computer Inputs:
The main types of inputs are presented in the following table.
Data Capture, Entry, and Processing
 Data capture is the identification and acquisition of new data (at its
 Source documents are forms used to record business transactions in
terms of data that describe those transactions.
 Data entry is the process of translating the source data or document
(above) into a computer readable format.
 Data processing is all processing that occurs on the data after it is
input from a machine readable form. Two main types of processing
are common: batch and online processing. In batch processing, the
entered data is collected into files called batches and processed as a
complete batch. In on-line processing, the captured data is processed
immediately. In remote batch processing, data is entered and edited
on-line, but collected into batches for subsequent processing.
Input Implementation Methods:
Input data can be entered to computer via different methods which are:
 Keyboard
 Mouse
 Point-of-sale terminals
 Sound and speech
 Automatic data capture
 Optical mark recognition (OMR)
 Bar codes
 Optical character recognition (OCR)
 Magnetic Ink
 Electromagnetic transmission
 Smart cards
 Biometric
 Automatic Identification: Bar Codes
Input Design Guidelines
1. Capture only variable data.
2. Do not capture data that can calculated or stored in computer
programs as constants.
3. Use business codes for appropriate attributes.
Source Document / Form Design Guidelines
1. Include instructions for completing the form.
2. Minimize the amount of handwriting.
3. Data to be entered (keyed) should be sequenced so that it can be read
like a book, that is, top-to-bottom and left-to-right.
4. When possible, based input design on known descriptions / metaphore
/ images.
Bad Flow in a Form
In order to gain better understanding on the preceding guidelines, following
figure is given as an example of bad flow in a form. Following comments
 Violation of the guideline 1 because there’s no instructions for
completing the form
 Violation of the guideline 2 because ther’s heavy amount of
 Violation of the guideline 3 because entered data are not sequenced
from top to down or from left to write in a uniform pattern.
Good Flow in a Form
The preceding violations of good form design is corrected in the following
Example of Good form design
Internal Controls for Inputs
 Each input, and the total number of inputs should be monitored (to
minimize the risk of lost transactions).
 For batch processing
o Use batch control slips
o Use one-for-one checks against post-processing detail reports
For on-line systems
 Log each transaction as it occurs
 Assign each transaction a confirmation number (common in webbased systems)
Validate all data
 Existence checks
 Data type checks
 Domain checks
 Combination checks
 Self-checking digits
 Format checks
 Repository-Based Prototyping and Development
 Repository-Based Prototyping and Development
 GUI Components (or Controls)
Common GUI controls (for both Windows and Web interfaces)
 Text boxes
 Radio buttons
 Check boxes
 List boxes
 Drop down lists
 Combination boxes
 Spin boxes
 Buttons
 Hyperlinks (yes, also for Windows applications—see Quicken 2000)
 Advanced controls (mostly for Windows interfaces)