1 2 Previous Next 18 Replies Latest reply on Feb 28, 2013 11:13 AM by MallieWilliams

    Layout Design


      This maybe a silly question..Is it best to design your layout in Photoshop and then past it in FileMaker? I rather my layout be original. Where do most FileMaker Developers get there layouts from?

        • 1. Re: Layout Design

          I would not recommend copy/paste from Photoshop. If you want to use another app for mockups, sure. Design using native FM tools, otherwise you're just dumping an image in.


          I build all my layouts from scratch. Not sure about others. I don't really like most templates because they rarely fit what I'm looking for.

          • 2. Re: Layout Design

            Would second that.  Using images as 'backgrounds' to FM fields can be massively tedious when if comes to changing the layout.  Can also cause problems when printing or saving a layout as a pdf.

            • 3. Re: Layout Design

              If you plan to INSERT an image into a FIleMaker layout, perhaps if you first SAVE the image as a Portable Network Graphic
              [*.PNG], then less space is used than in a direct paste from photoshop. I often do this for an OEM manufacturer who MUST
              use Pre-Approved artwork and logos on Product Labels.




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              • 4. Re: Layout Design
                Benjamin Fehr

                I agree. Design should be done with FM itself. Keep in mind that large imported grafics may slow-down performance.

                I nice trick might be to build the design in any artworks app (Photoshop, InDesign, etc), import the grafic as background-pict to the layout to retrace with FM-Tools.

                At the end, delete the grafic.

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                • 5. Re: Layout Design

                  It depends on the complexity and the client's demands. If you go through a full user experience (UX) design process before actually programming the application, this is a way that I usually observe rarerely among filemaker experts. I would actually advocate to do so, speaking from a graphic designer background.


                  Filemaker does have its limitations in regards to the design needs, although during the last releases it got much better (so I assume there is more to expect). So whatever you design in Photoshop or in Indesign or Illustrator or on Paper should be informed by the possibilities and limitations of FM's UX abilities. If you are not yet an experienced FM developer, you might not want to create an detailed design that is endangured to be to complex for inclusion in FM.


                  Maybe instead of designing something "complete" at the beginning, you do sketches on paper. Which functionality goes where? Which color, font, size for elements (input fields, buttons, navigation). You might want to explore patterns, repetitions and distances between objects as elements of a good user interface design in filemaker. Note, that users can only have the fonts, that are installed on their system, so if you use CrazyChickenFont and your client doesn't have it, he/she would need to install it (which means that you eventually would have to buy CrazyChickenFont for him/her). What also could be worth to look into, is Photoshops Slice Function that allows you to create slices from a design and export them individually, to be reimported where needed in FM.


                  However – if you are both a beginner with filemaker and with user interface design, you might want to work sketchy and rough directly in filemaker and refine the whole thing when the actual functionality is working well. Also if not working for yourself, it can be expected that clients have additional demands in the process, which leads to changes in design.


                  I found a good place to read about user experience here: http://uxdesign.smashingmagazine.com/ and here: http://ui-patterns.com/


                  These are just some incomplete and unordered thoughts.

                  • 6. Re: Layout Design

                    I see.. So as far as using the FM Tools in FM can there be effects added? For example I look at the starter solutions that FM offers and the background edges seems to be a graphic image, not made in FM or is it?

                    • 7. Re: Layout Design

                      please provide a screenshot of what you mean.

                      • 8. Re: Layout Design

                        I see..I'll stick to the basics right now. Just was curious do to the different layouts I've seen from other FM Developers. The designs that I've seen from experienced FM Developers don't seem to be design in FM.

                        • 9. Re: Layout Design

                          Starter Solutions use the native FM themes.  I believe there are 40 or so that come with FM 12.  To change the theme, go to the layout you want to change, enter Layout Mode and go to Layout Menu at top.  Click on Change Theme.  You can scroll through and see previews.  Keep in mind, changing themes on something you've already developed could wreck some custom formatting you've done.

                          • 10. Re: Layout Design

                            if you are talking of well done layouts I guess that often a team has been working on it. an experienced graphic designer and a filemaker developer. theses are different qualifications (I know that from my own work )

                            • 11. Re: Layout Design

                              I disagree that skill as a FileMaker developer and skill as a graphic designer or user interface designer are distinct. I've found many folks that separate these roles as a consequence of their backgrounds or habit (particularly habit held over from developing for other platforms, like web development and design), but FileMaker couples programming and interface design much more tightly than these other tools, which makes this separation make less sense. Specialists are not necessarily better at their specialty than generalists, especially when the different domains have stronger effects on each other, such as UI design and programming in FileMaker. FileMaker developers should be constantly honing their skills in user interface design just as much as software engineering as a matter of professionalism.

                              • 12. Re: Layout Design

                                Of course it is much better if fm developers do well in both areas. I'm just speaking of my (limited) experience in taking over already existing solutions (4 at this time) which all looked and felt horrible in regards to the UX/UI. The problem with this discussion is, that it is generalizing at best. At least I do not know of any valuable statistics that would support my assumption that I stated above. That's why I wrote "I guess ...".

                                • 13. Re: Layout Design

                                  Here is an example..Do you see the image trash can, The plus sign to add record, the image of the bonsai Tree..The texture of the outline around the interface..Things of that nature.Example.png

                                  • 14. Re: Layout Design

                                    The bonsai tree is an image, the trash can is an icon as well as the plus sign.  The background is part of the theme they're using and so are all of the other elements (tabs, fields, text, colors, etc).  I think I misunderstood your original post about designing in Photoshop.  Yes, certain elements are inserted images; I thought you meant design the whole thing (everything you see in your screenshot that isn't text) and then import that as one image (which would not be a good idea).

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