i am currently developing a prototype for a piece of software. One of the most important things is to show the client, how the UI will look like, so I am making real wpf windows with no real data logic behind instead of using wireframes. There are a lot of forms and I am trying very hard on not getting something like this in the end. It went quite good. But then we showed it to the client. They liked it a lot with one exception - they had hard time finding the textbox they had to be filling next. As I said before, there are a lot of forms with a lot of textboxes and other fill-out controls. And user doesn't always start filling out the form from the top.
The previous software they used, used to highlight the focused control with color. Tried that (yellow, blue-ish, even gray), it does not look pretty at all. I have a very sleek, grey-ish design and contrasting colors (i tried blinking too) just don't look good at all.
As it seems, blinking cursor in the focused control isn't enough. Dashed or dotted border doesn't satisfy them either.
Restructuring the forms so that they are filled out from top to bottom is out of the question.
So, my question is: how do you catch users attention on focused control without making your ui look ugly? any ideas?