OCR AS ICT Unit 1 Chapter 3

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  • Created by: Sqd3
  • Created on: 16-04-14 19:45

Chapter 3 - Types of Application Software

Types of Application Software:

  • Word Processing - Application that allows the entry, editing and formatting of text to create a range of documents (e.g. letters, memos and reports).
    • Have WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get). - Screen layout will match the printed layout.
  • Desktop Publishing - Allows users to combine images and text to create publications (e.g. flyers, brochures, posters and business cards).
  • Spreadsheet - Allows users to produce both mathematical and financial models. graphs, calculations and data analysis.
  • Database - Allows users to handle data by sorting and searching.
    • Data can be split into tables and relationships created between the tables to allow the data to be joined together.
  • Web Authoring - Allows users to create webpages using built in functions, templates and wizards. (through a GUI interface that will write HTML codes)
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Chapter 3 - Characteristics of Systems

Personnel Systems - Provide information about the personnel who work in the organisation. (e.g. full name, address, DOB, gender, education and employment history).

  • Allocate a unique employee number to each employee.
  • Have a database to store records of employee details.
  • Enable edits/updates on employee details.
  • Prepare/produce reports.
  • Link to other systems (like payroll)


(School admin systems would have a facility to record attendance and student marks)

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Chapter 3 - Characteristics of Systems

Stock Control Systems - Knows how much of each item is in stock, when orders are due and how much stock is required on certain days. 

  • List all stock items and suppliers.
  • To know when stock will be delivered.
  • Stores previous sales figures to forecast stock requirements.
  • To link with budgeting system to automatically order stock.
  • To work out how much to order.


Booking System Enables users to book for items or events (e.g. cinema/rail tickets or appointments).

  • Select and check availability of event/time and date.
  • Specify number of people
  • Check price of booking.
  • Pay and confirm bookings (via email etc.)
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Chapter 3 - Characteristics of Systems

Invoicing Systems - Create and produce invoices to customers.

  • Generate invoices for orders.
  • Calculate VAT/delivery costs.
  • Calculate any discounts available.
  • Record and store payments against the invoice number.
  • Produce customer statements showing details of paid and oustanding invoices.
  • Flag any outstanding payments to the finance department.


Training Systems - Delivers training through multimedia (sound, video and text).

  • Provide questions at an appropriate level.
  • Provide a positive approach to learning.
  • Incorporate simple and intuitive screens.
  • Enable the user to move from 1 question to another basedon responses.
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Chapter 3 - Characteristics of Systems

Timetabling System - Enables the user to look up times and prices for planes, rail etc. which meet specified criteria.

The user should be able to input:

  • Start and destination (end) points.
  • Day of travel.
  • Time of departure/arrival
  • Single or return journey

Route-finding System - Enables the user to input starting and destination points and it will plot a route between the two.

  • Specify the location you are leaving and going to.
  • Specify mode of transport
  • Save and print the route in a number of formats (e.g. text and map)
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Chapter 3 - Features to assist users

Wizards: Assists the user to produce the final product. (e.g. document)

  • Allow you to go back steps to make changes.
  • Interacts with the user to produce the final product step by step
  • Saves time for inexperienced
  • Ensures no important info is forgotten
  • Reduces time to create the final product compared to manually.
  • Provides a user friendly approach to create the product.
  • No individuality - documents end up looking the same.
  • End result may not fully meed the needs of the user.
  • Limited options available in the wizard.
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Chapter 3 - Features to assist users

Style Sheets: Similar to a template and are used to set out the layout of the page.

  • They cover font size, style, colour and type.
  • They include paragraph formatting (inc. alignment and line spacing)
  • Documents are produced to a consistent house style.
  • Different people can work on different parts of a document whilst keeping consistency.
  • Lack of confusion from creators as different elements required have been clearly defined.
  • Style sheet must been created before it can be set as a template - costing time/money.
  • Restrictive - not fully meeting the needs of the document being produced.
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Chapter 3 - Features to assist users

Template: Provide a standard pre-set layout and format. Includes:

  • Character Formatting - Font size, colour, style
  • Page Formatting - Margins, size, layout
  • Text Inserts - Standard words, date, time.
  • Graphics - Standard logo, position.


  • Allows a house style to be applied.
  • Ensures nothing is left out.
  • Reduces time to create a document.
  • An error in the template > carried out to all documents using the template.
  • Template may not cater to the user.
  • If template is changed, previous documents using it will not be altered.
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Chapter 3 - Features to assist users

Macro: A sequence of instructions that can be replayed by pressing a combination of keys or by pressing a button.

  • Run as a single action.
  • Macro can call another macro.
  • Can be attached to an element (e.g. button).


  • Repetitive task can be performed using a simple instruction (e.g. mouse click).
  • Errors are reduced as the instructions are run automatically.
  • Inexperienced users can perform complex tasks by pre-recorded macro.
  • Errors may occur if conditions in the macro are different when run and recorded.
  • Inflexibility - macro may not do exactly what the user wants.
  • If macro run from different starting point than intended then it may go wrong.
  • To correct errors, the user must have knowledge of the recorded macro.
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Chapter 3 - Design Considerations

8 Design Considerations for Data Entry Screens:

  • Consistent Layout
  • Text should be easily readible.
  • Graphics and animations fit for purpose.
  • Help messages should be usefeul and clear.
  • On-screen information should be in a logical order.
  • Easy to use and learn interfaces.
  • Clearly marked exits (given as shortcut keys/buttons)
  • Expertise of the users must be considered.
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Chapter 3 - Design Considerations

Design Considerations for Forms:

 - Forms can be created within the applicatoin, web based forms and third party programs.

  • Consistency - Consistent use of menus/buttons/formats.
  • Relevance - On-screen info. should be concise and useful.
  • Supportiveness - Enough info. should be given to support the user in the task.
  • Visual/Audible Cues - To confirm the users actions.
  • Intuitiveness - Interface must be appropriate for completing the task.
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Chapter 3 - Tailoring Standard Software

Standard application software can be tailored using:

  • Buttons:
    • Used for navigation (take user to specified documents or pages)
    • Run macros (run reports/queries)
  • Forms:
    • Assist in the entry of data (via instructions and error messages).
    • Restrict entry of data with validation
    • Include form controls (e.g. tick boxes)
  • Form Controls:
    • Increase interactivity and usability
    • Include buttons, check boxes, frames, option buttons, text boxes, combo boxes, list boxes, images and labels.
  • Menus
    • Enables actions to be selected.
    • 3 Types: full-screen, pop-up and pull-down.
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Chapter 3 - Tailoring Standard Software

Adv/Disadv of Tailoring:

  • Simplifies user data > fewer mistakes made.
  • Reduced time taken to enter data
  • Data can be validated on etnry.
  • High level of technical knowledge required to create interface.
  • Takes time to adapt the interface.
  • Tasks can't be completed if a problem occurs/option isn't available.
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Chapter 3 - House Style

House Style: The set of rules that state how all documents should be formatted.

  • Maintains a consistent appearance - Easily recognisable by clients/customers.
  • Creates a corporate image (reduces originality and maintains professionalism).
  • Include pre-defined colours, font styles/sizes and logos.
  • Enables a team of people to work on parts of the same document seperately.


A consistent house style can be achieved by using a:

  • Master Slide/Document - Shows the theme, position of graphics and information that must appear on every slide.
  • Styles/Style Sheet - Helps users to apply formatting (e.g. headings) to set the layout of a document.
  • Template - Used to produce the different documents that can be used by the company. (inc. character/page formatting)
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Chapter 3 - Converting File Types

Reasons for converting file types:

  • To view the file on different applications
  • When migrating to another operating system.


Methods to convert file types:

  • Option 1: Package A can save the file in Package B's format.
    • Open file in Package A.
    • Save the file in the same format as Package B.
  • Option 2: Package A can't save in Package C's format.
    • Open file in Package A.
    • Save in format common of A and B.
    • Open in Package B.
    • Convert to format required by Package C.
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