Important factors in output design:
There are six important factors which should be considered the system analyst while designing user outputs.
(i) Content: Content refers to the actual pieces of data included among the out puts provided to users. It is to be noted here that systems designers generally put too much content into managerial reports instead of too little. Too much content can cause managers to waste time in isolating the information that they need: it also diminishes the impact of truly important information. Hence, only the required information should be include in various outputs.
(ii) Form: Form refers to the way that content is presented to users. Content can be presented in various forms: quantitative, non-quantitative, text, graphics, video and audio. For example, information on distribution channels may be more understandable to the concerned manager if it is presented in the form of a map, with dots representing individual outlets for stores. Sometimes, converting absolute values to relative values such as percentages often help managers to comprehended the data easily and make better decisions. Hence, the form of the output should be decided keeping in view the requirements for the concerned user.
(iii) Output volume: The amount of data output required at any one time is known as output volume. It is better to use high-speed printer or a rapid-retrieval display unit, which are fast and frequently used output devices in case the volume is heavy. Unusually heavy output volume normally causes concern about paper cost. In such a case, alternative methods of output display such as COM (Computer Output Microfiche) may be considered.
(iv) Timelines: Timeliness refer to when users need outputs. Some outputs are required on a regular basis – perhaps daily, weekly, monthly, at the end of a quarter or annually. Other types of outputs are generated on request.
(v) Media: Input-output medium refers to the physical device used for input, storage or output. A variety of output media are available in the market these days, which include paper, video display, microfilm, magnetic tape/ disk and voice output. Many of these media are available in different forms. The system designer can select a medium, which is best suited to the user requirements.
(vi) Format: The manner in which data are physically arranged is referred to as format. The real issue in designing computer output is not how much can be provided, but how little is needed to make important information available. The major concern of the user in the system design effort is properly designed output, that is, intelligent and decision impelling.