In my application, I have to represent a Work Order entity that has N Work Order Sections and each section has M sub-items. Currently, I'm representing this like so:

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Each Work Order has a bunch of fields (not shown). Then I've got a tab strip showing the sections, and each section has fields (not shown) and the M items.

I'm using tabs to indicate N children, and an extra dummy tab to add a new entity to the list. And I'm using a link to enable deleting the current entity in the list.

I'm trying to find a more elegant and unified way to represent the Add New and Delete Current actions, keeping them physically together. What would be a good way of doing this?

Or, is there an entirely different and better way of capturing these master detail relationships?

2 Answers 2


My personal preference would be:

  • keep the tabs on the left,
  • use background color for the selected tab same as the inner box border color,
  • separate groups of digits, e.g. 1000-054,
  • use a gray x on each tab, which would be highlighted on hover to a red x,
  • and a + sign on the bottom tab

there are plenty of inspirations for vertical tabs, close tab, add new tab

or you can consider miller columns or some special visualization for a hierarchical tree


Agree with all comments from Aprillion except the one about the x-button in each tab to delete.

The x-action on each would be more suited if you're just closing the tab. This is more suited in scenarios where data is more fleeting, and easily recovered (like a web browser).

In the case of work items, a delete action is more permanent and it would be good if it got a location and mechanism suited to the metaphor. I would place a delete button (with perhaps a garbage can icon) in the right corner of the tab-content.

A confirm action or undo-able notification box would be nice. You could also move the 'EDIT' option there and have an 'option-panel' in the top right.

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