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In our software users have to deal with lots of nested tabs and floated panels.

I was wondering it could help the user to understand and keeping track of the underlying data structure.

That are ways I can think of only right now:

  • different border colors or similar (horrible), or better:
  • unique geometries along the group's edges (not inner view edges)
  • additional hover style state to highlight the entire group
  • additional visualizations of the group in breadcrumbs, or navigation paths
  • if it makes sense, display views along a spiral just to display the datas hierarchy
  • additional visualizations in all action renderers(top menu, context menu, ribbons, local toolbars,....). especially if you display permanent actions for different view sources
  • in a layout suggester (presets), groups will be also prefered
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    allright. problem with colors is the different perception, globally. the dashboard is made by the user, focusing on complex tasks ;-) – stackoverclan Sep 11 '15 at 20:58
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    well I am not sure what that dashboard is for, so I cant really help much as far as defining its values and responsibilties of each but if this is of any help or inspiration, check out this: cssauthor.com/dashboard-ui-design-psd-2 – Stanley VM Sep 11 '15 at 21:08
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    thanks, got many of these too :-) most of them still have no clean way of connecting all the different views visually in top, think of real-time changes of and through all objects and their renderers. the consoles there for instance pump directly data into the log-views and vice versa. but yeah, admitted: I just want to get it more fancy :-) – stackoverclan Sep 11 '15 at 21:21
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    I don't really understand what you're working on but it seems very complicated. But I'd work on the English language concepts first: A is a B, or X is a kind of Y, messages, responses (my OO bias evident here), but boil down the natural language as much as possible first (get the scalpel out) and then work on putting a visual language on top of those natural language terms. Once the natural language thinking has been boiled down as much as possible, then think about the visual language (depth, color, shape, typography) to support it. -- I'm just throwing this out there. – obelia Sep 12 '15 at 7:03
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    Can you reduce the amount of tabs by grouping them? For exampe "Cut", "Copy" and "Paste" could be grouped to "Clipboard Tools" – BlueWizard Sep 12 '15 at 20:06

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