Conditional Formatting on radio buttons
The main goal of Conditional Formatting should be to improve the User Experience (UX). While often FileMaker is a data driven application, it also should make it easy to interpret these sets of data. The example of the colored invoices is one way to use it. It can also be applied to handle errors in data input. If a required field is empty, a red box around that field can make it very obvious to the user that something is missing.
“Don’t make the user think” is an often used phrase in User Experience. By using colours and formatting we state things very easy to the user: he doesn’t have to read anything, he understands the meaning of ‘red’ as being ‘bad’ and ‘green’ being ‘good’. It avoids the use of many error messages or confirmation on actions.
Since FileMaker 14 the Radio button set and checkbox set can also be formatted this way. It might seem like a little detail in the release notes, but UX-developers where very enthousiastic about it. Often checkboxes are used to set a parameter or a confirmation for something. Radio buttons are used to make a choice, for instance. But as they are defined as simple fields like the rest of them, users don’t always see important states of them.
Let’s say we have a checkbox for a field “Has unpaid invoices”. A nightly script runs trough our database to check every account and if invoices are still unpaid after due date, we set this marker. If a Sales agent wants to check the status of an account, he must be able to see this easily. Some prefer to use red texts as messages at the top, but very soon you will end up with a lot of messages. If the checkbox uses the default black X, it might easily be overseen. If, however, we have this in an obvious and clear red, it wil be easily detected by the Sales Agent.