That Blue Square Thing

Applied ICT A Level Unit 3 - Database Design

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 This exam was withdrawn in 2012, with final exams in 2013.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 imagePart 1 - Defining the system and it's users

Part 1 of the portfolio for Unit 3 relates to the three rows in AO2 of the markgrid. There are 9 marks here, 7 of which you can get at this stage.

In this section you need to introduce your client and the database system that you intend to build for them. You should also aim to develop a list of client needs at this point.

Clients and Customers:
You have a client. This is the person in an organisation who you are building the database for. Whenever I use the term client on these pages that's who I'm talking about.
Your client has customers - people who their organisation provides goods and services to (or sells stuff to). Whenever I use the term customer on these pages that's who I'm talking about.

Describing the Organisation - AO2 Row 1

You need to introduce the client and their organisation. This is similar to the introduction you might have produced in Unit 2.

You need to be pretty specific about this and do it well - no room for vague waffling here. The list of things we want to know is:

You also want to note at this point that you will anonymise data in order to conform to the Data Protection Act. In other words, your client won't want the details of all their customers appearing in your report because they have to keep them confidential.

You need to make sure you answer these questions really clearly. Don't skim over anything here. Of course, for a real client in a real organisation this sort of thing is pretty easy...

Markgrid AO2 Row 1
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...

Describing what tasks the database will do - AO2 Row 2

What does the organisation want the database solution to do? You can be quite precise about this. Focus particularly on the outputs from the system - what pieces of paper do the organisation want to produce?

For example, they might want to:

PDF iconDolphin Hotel transactions example - to show the sorts of things a fairly straightforward database might need to include as tasks

The third and fourth marks in this row of the markgrid need to include more detailed design work that you can include in a later section.

Markgrid AO2 Row 2
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...

The client needs

The list of tasks will give you a good idea about the sorts of things that the client needs the system to do. This should enable you to start to come up with a list of client needs.

Note: there is no markgrid row for these. But they link to AO2 row 2 and make your life a lot easier when you come to evaluate your database at the end of the unit. Trust me, a list of client needs is a really good idea.

I would suggest that you meet with your client and discuss their needs for the system. This will help you with the sections above, but will also allow you to discuss issues such as:

You might want to look at some examples of invoices or quotations to see what sorts of things are included on them. Here are some (for a bathroom I had done as it happens) which might be useful - although they can certainly be improved on.

Image iconInvoice 1 - a detailed invoice, although without a particularly attractive style.

Image iconQuotation 1 - a hand written quotation. This could be an example of the sort of way your client may produce their invoices/quotations before you develop your solution

Image iconQuotation 2 - an ICT solution, although lacking some of the detail which Invoice 1 provides (such as the cost per unit). The layout is probably more effective though - perhaps a good solution would be a mix of the two?

Meeting with the client it important. You might need to have a follow up meeting or correspond via e-mail to check things or make sure that the things you're doing are what the client would want.

Justifying the choice of software - AO2 Row 3

You need to state what piece of software you're going to use and say why you're going to use it. This needs to relate to the client needs.

Name the software. Be specific - what version number will you be using exactly?

image iconscreenshot of the school version of Access, including version number

Why are you using it? It might be the only database software the client has. It might also be a good piece of software because an RDBMS allows you to link tables of data together effectively and design a more efficient system. It might also be good because you can produce customised paper reports and provide output on screen easily. Or because it allows forms and switchboards to be used to act as an easy to use interface so that less-technical users are able to use the system.

Here's the markgrid - note the reference to client needs for the second and third marks.

Markgrid AO2 Row 3
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.