When designing maps, an important consideration should be to keep it simple and straightforward. By following the guidelines given below, user-friendliness can be developed. But this is not an exhaustive list and the designer should use his/her creativity and imagination to make the maps more pleasing to the user. Reserve the top 2 lines for header, bottom 2 lines for the footer and 1 line above the footer for the error warning or any other informational messages.

  • Balance the data to be displayed. Do not cramp all the data in the top portion. Make use of the full screen.
  • Put the date, time and the sign-on user-id as a part of the header.
  • Display the company name or application name in the center of the first header line.
  • Always include the map name at the upper left-hand corner of the map.
  • Give the map title centered on the second header line.
  • Start the body of the map on line 4 or lower.
  • Source document according to which the user enters data.
  • Position the cursor at the most appropriate place.
  • Follow the body of the map with instructions, which will guide the user to perform the required functions.
  • Let the application program calculate the values as much as possible and not the user.
  • Design a visually beautiful screen by using indentations and space and lines effectively.
  • Design a simple screen layout.
  • Number the instructions when there are more options to choose from.
  • Brighten all the messages so that they will catch attention easily.
  • Highlight the field that are in error and position the cursor in that field.
  • Use consistent color schemes to differentiate between different types of field like mandatory, optional, output only, etc.
  • Ensure consistency of format for similar functions on all maps. For example if PF1 is the help key, then it should be the help key in all maps. This will help in habit formation and will improve the user-friendliness of the maps.
  • Reserve column 1 of all lines for map attributes.
  • Use effectively the fact that the cursor moves or skips from left to right and top to bottom within the screen.
  • Place the most frequently used fields at the top part of the screen.
  • Group related fields together.
  • Use skipper and stopper fields appropriately.
  • Minimize unnecessary manual skipping of fields.
  • Use the fact that data on the left side of the screen is easier to work with than the data on the right side.

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