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I have the following interface for image modification where there is a preview and the user can set options from a tabbed interface.
enter image description here

The problems with current interface are:

  1. There are different options for different parts if the image;
  2. There are some common options with the elements;
  3. There are around 350 options arranged in 7 different tabs and sub-menus;
  4. Only some of the options fit in submenu and others I have to show on maximize;
  5. It is very difficult for a novice user to find the options;
  6. Since options are grouped based on different parts of the image that options can be applied to, users sometimes don't know If they can change something;
  7. Too many steps needed to set an option.

What I want is:

  1. Options arranged so that users can find the options quickly;
  2. An interface that is more user-friendly and 'cool'.

What are the other ways I can arrange options and make them more usable?

I am allowed to rearrange the preview and options pane, change their sizes. I also have an unused space that is shown.

Can you give examples where such situations are handled well?

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What do you mean saying 'option' - is it setting, command, etc.? –  Serg Jul 16 '13 at 20:17
    
Yes. Options in the sense settings. –  panda Jul 22 '13 at 10:13
    
'cool' is not always 'user friendly' –  DA01 Aug 15 '13 at 17:36

2 Answers 2

up vote 1 down vote accepted

Maybe you can use a ribbon pattern http://quince.infragistics.com/Patterns/Ribbon.aspx? This is what Microsoft used to replace their large set of menus in their Office programs.

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Based on your situation you can use the options pane on the left side and just by clicking it or hovering it, the preview pane will be opened on the right side of respective options pane.

In this way the extra space can be used and it will be user friendly for novice users as well.

The same model along with above changes will be somewhat simple, I hope.

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