MS-Access / Getting Started

Improving Perceived Speed

Perceived speed is how fast your application appears to run to the end user. Many techniques can increase the perceived speed of your applications. Improving perceived speed usually involves supplying visual feedback to the user while the computer is busy performing some operation, such as updating a percent meter when Access is busy processing data.

Using a splash screen

Most Windows programs employ a splash screen. Most people think that the splash screen is simply to show the product's name and copyright information, but this isn't entirely correct. The splash screen contributes to the perceived speed of an application. It shows the user that something is happening, and it gives users something to look at for a few seconds while the rest of the application loads.

Note: In large applications, you may even display a series of splash screens with different information, such as helpful hints, instructions on how to use the product, or even advertisements. These are often called billboards.

To create a splash screen, create a basic form with appropriate information, such as your application name, logo, and user registration. Next, set this form as the Display Form in the Current Database options. You then want to call any initialization procedures from the On Open event of the splash form. A good splash screen should automatically disappear after a few seconds.

The code necessary to close a splash screen is very simple:

Private Sub Form_Timer()
End Sub

Set the form's Timer property to the number of milliseconds for which you want to display the splash screen.

Keep in mind the following when using splash screens:

  • Minimize code in start-up forms. Use only code that is absolutely necessary to display your start-up form and use a light form if possible.
    Note: A light form is one that doesn't contain a class module. They're smaller and typically load and are displayed faster than forms with class modules. Also, because they require no storage space for a class module, they can decrease the size of your database. Possible disadvantages of using lightweight objects is that they do not appear in the Object Browser, and you cannot use the New keyword to create a new instance of the object.
  • The start-up form should call only initialization procedures. Be careful about call trees - you don't want your start-up form to trigger the loading of many modules in your application.
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