Universal Technology Associates Limited

Interfacing Africa with Technology

Logical design

The logical design of a system pertains to an abstract representation of the data flows, inputs and outputs of the system. This is often conducted via modelling, using an over-abstract (and sometimes graphical) model of the actual system. In the context of systems design are included. Logical design includes ER Diagrams i.e. Entity Relationship Diagrams.

Physical design

The physical design relates to the actual input and output processes of the system. This is laid down in terms of how data is input into a system, how it is verified/authenticated, how it is processed, and how it is displayed as In Physical design, the following requirements about the system are decided.

  1. Input requirement,
  2. Output requirements,
  3. Storage requirements,
  4. Processing Requirements,
  5. System control and backup or recovery.

Put another way, the physical portion of systems design can generally be broken down into three sub-tasks:

  1. User Interface Design
  2. Data Design
  3. Process Design

User Interface Design is concerned with how users add information to the system and with how the system presents information back to them. Data Design is concerned with how the data is represented and stored within the system. Finally, Process Design is concerned with how data moves through the system, and with how and where it is validated, secured and/or transformed as it flows into, through and out of the system. At the end of the systems design phase, documentation describing the three sub-tasks is produced and made available for use in the next phase.

Physical design, in this context, does not refer to the tangible physical design of an information system. To use an analogy, a personal computer's physical design involves input via a keyboard, processing within the CPU, and output via a monitor, printer, etc. It would not concern the actual layout of the tangible hardware, which for a PC would be a monitor, CPU, motherboard, hard drive, modems, video/graphics cards, USB slots, etc. It involves a detailed design of a user and a product database structure processor and a control processor. The H/S personal specification is developed for the proposed system.

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