Design And System Development Computer Science Essay

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At the beginning of this project, objectives to be achieved were set by the author in the Terms of Reference. This section evaluates the extent to which these objectives were achieved.

Research Chapters

a. Business Intelligence Tools

The key to thriving in a competitive market is staying ahead of the competition. Making sound business decisions based on accurate and current information takes more than just having an intuition. Research in this areas enabled the author have in-depth knowledge on the features and limitations of various Business Intelligence tools available in the market.

Using this information, Crystal Report Writer was chosen to extract and develop reports based on the requirements specified in the "Software Requirement Specification". The author had to spend some time familiarizing with this software in order to have the know-how of scripting the reports.

Various informative, monitoring and analytical reports were generated (as shown in the previous chapter) using Crystal Report Writer. During the design stage, a fair amount of effort was put in to ensure that all relevant data was captured.

This was done to enable users, once trained in the effective utilization of this tool, generate customized reports as the need arises.

As the users become increasingly familiar with the system, the demand for more reports will arise and using this business intelligence tools, they can convert data into meaningful information.

b. Data Audit

The impact of information technology in the business world has grown exponentially in the past decade. Among the major changes that have come about is the altering of the audit process to the point of it becoming a barrier to successful audit.

Research in this area enabled the author investigate various threats to data and ways of mitigating them. From the research it became evident that not all threats can be identified but most can be mitigated. Using the findings from the research, security measures were incorporated in the design and some of the ready to use features of MS-SQL were initiated.

The sponsor is currently using SAP as their financial system and the Fleet Management System will feed some information to SAP. Therefore having these audit features in place has created a sense of security that the data fed into the SAP system will be valid and can traceable to its source.

Gather Requirements

This was the first stage of the project where the author had various meetings with the sponsor's team and their requirements for the system recorded. A fair amount of ambiguity was evident at this stage of the project as the users could not visualise how the system would work, but after a couple of meetings things came into perspective.

The requirements were documented by the author which were then reviewed, amended and finally approved by the sponsor's team. Once the Software Requirement Specification (SRS) was signed, the scope of the software was fixed. The SRS is appended as Appendix D of this report.

Design and System Development

The system was then designed by the author using data flow and relationship diagrams. The data structures and screen interfaces were also created and shown to the sponsor's team members for their input.

The design was largely accepted, with a few suggestions for amendments which were incorporated into the system. A prototype was then developed using MSAccess and given to the user for their feedback. This largely contributed to the success of the software as errors were fixed as they were discovered. It also gave the users a greater appreciation of the software and this created confidence in the system.

System Testing

During this phase, testing the reports was given utmost priority. Using prototyping as the development methodology helped in capturing the data entry and transaction processing errors during the earlier stages of development.

However, Heuristic Evaluation was used to evaluate the software in totality. Three users were selected and asked to use the system and fill in the evaluation template (Nielsen, 1995). The author averaged the results; which are as below:

1. Visibility of System Status

#

Review Checklist

Yes No N/A

Comments

1.1

Does every display begin with a title or header that describes screen contents?

O O O

1.2

Is there a consistent icon design scheme and stylistic treatment across the system?

O O O

1.3

Do menu instructions, prompts, and error messages appear in the same place(s) on each menu?

O O O

1.4

Are response times appropriate to the task?

O O O

1.5

High levels of concentration aren't necessary and remembering information is not required.

O O O

2 users didn't have difficulties, 1 was struggling.

1.6

Is the menu-naming terminology consistent with the user's task domain?

O O O

2. Match between System and the Real World

#

Review Checklist

Yes No N/A

Comments

2.1

Are icons concrete and familiar?

O O O

2.2

Are menu choices ordered in the most logical way, given the user, the item names, and the task variables?

O O O

2.3

If there is a natural sequence to menu choices.

O O O

2.4

Do related and interdependent fields appear on the same screen?

O O O

2.5

On data entry screens, are tasks described in terminology familiar to users?

O O O

2.6

Do menu choices fit logically into categories that have readily understood meanings?

O O O

2.7

Are input data codes meaningful?

O O O

2.8

Does the system automatically enter leading or trailing spaces to align decimal points?

O O O

2.9

Does the system automatically enter a dollar sign and decimal for monetary entries?

O O O

This was omitted due to the number of fields on the screen.

2.10

Does the system automatically enter commas in numeric values greater than 9999?

O O O

This was omitted due to the number of fields on the screen.

3. User Control and Freedom

#

Review Checklist

Yes No N/A

Comments

3.1

In systems that use overlapping windows, is it easy for users to rearrange windows on the screen?

O O O

3.2

In systems that use overlapping windows, is it easy for users to switch between windows?

O O O

3.3

Is there an "undo" function at the level of a single action, a data entry, and a complete group of actions?

O O O

3.4

Can users cancel out of operations in progress?

O O O

3.5

Can users reduce data entry time by copying and modifying existing data?

O O O

Though it does not apply to all fields.

3.6

If menu lists are long (more than seven items), can users select an item either by moving the cursor or by typing a mnemonic code?

O O O

3.7

Can users move forward and backward between fields or dialog box options?

O O O

4. Consistency and Standards

#

Review Checklist

Yes No N/A

Comments

4.1

Have industry or company formatting standards been followed consistently in all screens within a system?

O O O

4.2

Has a heavy use of all uppercase letters on a screen been avoided?

O O O

4.3

Are integers right-justified and real numbers decimal-aligned?

O O O

4.4

Are there no more than twelve to twenty icon types?

O O O

4.5

Does each window have a title?

O O O

4.6

Are vertical and horizontal scrolling possible in each window?

O O O

4.7

Have industry or company standards been established for menu design, and are they applied consistently on all menu screens in the system?

O O O

4.8

Are menu choice lists presented vertically?

O O O

4.9

If "exit" is a menu choice, does it always appear at the bottom of the list?

O O O

4.10

Are menu titles either centered or left-justified?

O O O

4.11

Are field labels consistent from one data entry screen to another?

O O O

4.12

If the system has multipage data entry screens, does each page have a sequential page number?

O O O

5. Help Users Recognize, Diagnose, and Recover From Errors

#

Review Checklist

Yes No N/A

Comments

5.1

Is sound used to signal an error?

O O O

Though some users did not like this as the sound informs to his colleagues of an error.

5.2

Are prompts stated constructively, without overt or implied criticism of the user?

O O O

5.3

Are prompts brief and unambiguous.

O O O

5.4

Do error messages avoid the use of exclamation points?

O O O

5.5

Do error messages avoid the use of violent or hostile words?

O O O

5.6

Do all error messages in the system use consistent grammatical style, form, terminology, and abbreviations?

O O O

5.7

Do error messages inform the user of the error's severity?

O O O

5.8

Do error messages suggest the cause of the problem?

O O O

6. Error Prevention

#

Review Checklist

Yes No N/A

Comments

6.1

Are menu choices logical, distinctive, and mutually exclusive?

O O O

6.2

Are data inputs case-blind whenever possible?

O O O

6.3

If the system displays multiple windows, is navigation between windows simple and visible?

O O O

6.4

Does the system prevent users from making errors whenever possible?

O O O

Drop down menus are used whenever possible. This reduced data entry errors.

6.5

Do fields in data entry screens and dialog boxes contain default values when appropriate?

O O O

7. Recognition Rather Than Recall

#

Review Checklist

Yes No N/A

Comments

7.1

Does the data display start in the upper-left corner of the screen?

O O O

7.2

Are prompts, cues, and messages placed where the eye is likely to be looking on the screen?

O O O

7.3

Do text areas have "breathing space" around them?

O O O

7.4

Are field labels close to fields, but separated by at least one space?

O O O

7.5

Is reverse video or color highlighting used to get the user's attention?

O O O

7.6

Is color coding consistent throughout the system?

O O O

7.7

Are input data codes distinctive?

O O O

8. Aesthetic and Minimalist Design

#

Review Checklist

Yes No N/A

Comments

8.1

Are all icons in a set visually and conceptually distinct?

O O O

8.2

Does each icon stand out from its background?

O O O

8.3

Does each data entry screen have a short, simple, clear, distinctive title?

O O O

8.4

Are field labels brief, familiar, and descriptive?

O O O

8.5

Are menu titles brief, yet long enough to communicate?

O O O

8.6

Are there pop-up or pull-down menus within data entry fields that have many, but well-defined, entry options?

O O O

9. Help and Documentation

#

Review Checklist

Yes No N/A

Comments

9.1

Do the instructions follow the sequence of user actions?

O O O

9.2

Navigation: Is information easy to find?

O O O

9.3

Presentation: Is the visual layout well designed?

O O O

9.4

Conversation: Is the information accurate, complete, and understandable?

O O O

9.5

Is the information relevant?

O O O

9.6

Is there context-sensitive help?

O O O

9.7

Can the user change the level of detail available?

O O O

10. Skills

#

Review Checklist

Yes No N/A

Comments

10.1

Are window operations easy to learn and use?

O O O

10.2

Are users the initiators of actions rather than the responders?

O O O

10.3

Can users move forward and backward within a field?

O O O

10.4

Is the method for moving the cursor to the next or previous field both simple and visible?

O O O

10.5

Do the selected input device(s) match user capabilities?

O O O

10.6

Are cursor keys arranged in either an inverted T (best for experts) or a cross configuration (best for novices)?

O O O

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