I need to hint to the user of a second 'page' for a control on an XML Editor. The conventional way to do this with a tabbed page. There are 3 problems with this:
- My graphics skills aren't up to coming up with the tab graphics.
- This might make the overall appearance seem more complex than it neads to be,
- It would be too similar to other products.
Instead, I've gone for an image in the corner of the header bar designed to look a bit like the curled up page of a book. Does this work at all, are 'page corners' used already for this type of interface? The aim is to make the user want to click on it to see what's behind it - I'm hoping that once they've tried it once, they'll remember for the next time.
On animation: Currently - when there's a mouse-over on the header-bar the 'page corner' brightens, should I expand the corner too, to make it look like it's more curled, or is this over the top for a simple developer tool?
The product is 'live' (just) with a few hundred downloads, but I've had no feedback one way or the other.
An image is shown below:
A tabbed page seems to be the consensus here. One thing I have against this is that tabs normally represent different views of the same concept, for example different open files within the same project, or different information views - but about the same item.
The use of 2 pages here is more just a convenience for using the same screen real-state for 2 entirely different bits of information and method of control.
The 'Files' page shares features with a document-tab well, a project explorer and a recent files list, but it's all about managing files and opening them.
The 'Tree' page is about navigating the structure of the file once it's been opened
I see this as kind of a workflow: (1) Manage list and open a file (2) Explore the file (3) Go back 1. Isn't a tabbed page misleading here? Wouldn't it lead one to expect to find another list of different items, if the first page was also a list?
[Edit - Conclusion]
With the weight of answers in favour of something more conventional - I've gone for tabs. I was attached to the page corner idea, but realize I should let it go - here's my simple design for the tabs (I did say my drawing wasn't that good).
[Edit - Rethink] On reflection, the above is just wrong - I've gone for just a vertical separator and highlighted text - so its kind of a toggle-switch: