That Blue Square Thing

Applied ICT A Level Unit 10 - Advanced Spreadsheets

Note: this page applies to the AQA Applied ICT A level specification. This exam was withdrawn in 2012, with final exams in 2013. The content will be retained as an archive and because it has some stuff that might be quite useful for someone or other

Circuit board imageSection E - Designs:

You need to produce detailed designs for your spreadsheet.

These should be suitable for a "competent third party" to use in order to create the spreadsheet just as you will. This means that they need to be complete and have lots of detail.

The designs can (and should!) include:

I suggest two sheets of paper for each sheet in your design. One will include all the formatting information, the other the formulae and so on. If you're using macros you'll then probably want to note on the designs their names and include a separate section where you specify the macros.

The examples I developed in class for the Happy Days Greeting Card Company are here:

PDF iconHappy Days Order sheet - user interface design

PDF iconHappy Days Order sheet - formulae design

PDF iconMacro specification sheet - make sure you take any spare lines and lines starting with ' (comment lines) out of your code if you're being naughty and copying it in from the macro code.

PDF iconHappy Days Prices sheet design - this is the data sheet which the lookups and so on go to. You'd also need the file below!

PDF iconHappy Days Prices detail - the tables of data needed on the Prices sheet - note that this is a very small amount of data! You have to type any data on this kind of sheet in the exam time. So keep it simple...

PDF iconWorksheet specification sheet - this simply provides the organisation for the sheets. You'd probably use this right at the start of your designs

For sheets which will be printed (e.g. invoices, orders etc...) I suggest you sketch out the design of the print by hand in as much detail as you can as well as well as doing a final design on a machine. These will give the client a better idea of what the printout will look like.

Where you have very similar sheets (or deisgn elements which appear on more than one sheet) you are allowed to include just one design if necessary. There's no need to do lots of work repeating the same thing you just said!


You need to annotate your designs to:

Be specific about client needs - and try and hit every one of them in some way in your annotations.

You might want to do your annotations on separate versions of the designs - too much information on the actual designs might make them (or some of them) difficult to use. Your call - just make sure that the designs you're aiming to use in the exam are easy enough to use!

Testing and Updating:

Once you have designs done you need to take them to the client and go through them with them. You need to go through the designs with the client and explain what's happening on each page - what each formulae will do and what each sheet will look like. You need to get the client's agreement about each page and note down any changes that may need to be made - you will probably want the client to either write on the designs or make separate comments.

Note: in order to access all the marks in row E of the markgrid you need the client to ask for changes. This means you will have to adjust some of your designs - possibly producing designs again for some of the sheets. It also means that if your designs are perfect first time around that you can't gain these marks...

I would suggest you think carefully about client needs when you're designing and make sure you stay in close contact with your client. It may be helpful to get them to sign and date each page that they have checked. Their comments will also allow you to test some of your qualitative evaluation criteria.

Not Spreadsheet Software:

You should note that your designs can be done by hand or in word processing software. They simply cannot be produced in spreadsheet software. This will cause you to lose substantial marks I'm afraid.

The Markgrid:

Markgrid Row E
Note: this markscheme is a copy of one available freely on the AQA Applied ICT webpages. It is copyright AQA and reproduced here simply to make access easier for students. No attempt to claim copyright is being made, although I could have copied the text into my own interpretation...

You should probably look at That Blue Square Blog for all the really good other A Level stuff.