Sidebar changes #76023

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opened 2020-04-23 13:41:41 +02:00 by William Reynish · 86 comments

Currently, the Sidebar has several UI-related issues, especially in the 3D View.

Screenshot 2020-04-23 at 13.31.15.png

  • Use of vertical text
  • Finite space for tabs
  • The tab bar works poorly with Region Overlap, pushing the panels further into the viewport, and overlapping

You can see an example of using lots of tabs here. This is an extreme example:
Npanel-2.PNG

We also have a visual clash with the Properties tabs often:
Clipboard - April 23.png

Tabs also often appear outside the panel region, which looks glitchy:
Screenshot 2020-04-23 at 13.01.40.png


We can address these issues by making a number of changes:

Screenshot 2020-04-23 at 13.36.55.png

  • No vertical text
  • No bar which extends all the way down the viewport
  • Not bound by the viewport height
  • Floating design mirrors the toolbar

Screenshot 2020-04-23 at 13.37.02.png
The menu at the top could be expanded into a list, which would allow users to re-order sections. If users mainly use a couple of sections, they could move those to the top for easy access.

We could also add the ability to view several sections at once, something which would be hard to support with tabs:

Screenshot 2020-04-23 at 13.46.22.png

Note: This would require changes to UI lists in Blender to support this, but would also benefit other areas.

These changes could also be adopted by other sidebars in Blender.

Currently, the Sidebar has several UI-related issues, especially in the 3D View. ![Screenshot 2020-04-23 at 13.31.15.png](https://archive.blender.org/developer/F8490844/Screenshot_2020-04-23_at_13.31.15.png) - Use of vertical text - Finite space for tabs - The tab bar works poorly with Region Overlap, pushing the panels further into the viewport, and overlapping You can see an example of using lots of tabs here. This is an extreme example: ![Npanel-2.PNG](https://archive.blender.org/developer/F8490851/Npanel-2.PNG) We also have a visual clash with the Properties tabs often: ![Clipboard - April 23.png](https://archive.blender.org/developer/F8490854/Clipboard_-_April_23.png) Tabs also often appear outside the panel region, which looks glitchy: ![Screenshot 2020-04-23 at 13.01.40.png](https://archive.blender.org/developer/F8490857/Screenshot_2020-04-23_at_13.01.40.png) ---------- We can address these issues by making a number of changes: ![Screenshot 2020-04-23 at 13.36.55.png](https://archive.blender.org/developer/F8490861/Screenshot_2020-04-23_at_13.36.55.png) - No vertical text - No bar which extends all the way down the viewport - Not bound by the viewport height - Floating design mirrors the toolbar ![Screenshot 2020-04-23 at 13.37.02.png](https://archive.blender.org/developer/F8490863/Screenshot_2020-04-23_at_13.37.02.png) The menu at the top could be expanded into a list, which would allow users to re-order sections. If users mainly use a couple of sections, they could move those to the top for easy access. We could also add the ability to view several sections at once, something which would be hard to support with tabs: ![Screenshot 2020-04-23 at 13.46.22.png](https://archive.blender.org/developer/F8490867/Screenshot_2020-04-23_at_13.46.22.png) Note: This would require changes to UI lists in Blender to support this, but would also benefit other areas. These changes could also be adopted by other sidebars in Blender.
William Reynish self-assigned this 2020-04-23 13:41:41 +02:00

Changed status from 'Needs Triage' to: 'Confirmed'

Changed status from 'Needs Triage' to: 'Confirmed'

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In #76023, @WilliamReynish wrote:
We could also add the ability to view several sections at once, something which would be hard to support with tabs

Maybe the list could look a bit more like the outliner, with a visibility toggle to the right side of each entry, like an eye or a checkbox icon.
That'd make it clearer to users that multiple can be active at the same time. If you could reorder by dragging from anywhere you wouldn't need the grip.

> In #76023, @WilliamReynish wrote: > We could also add the ability to view several sections at once, something which would be hard to support with tabs Maybe the list could look a bit more like the outliner, with a visibility toggle to the right side of each entry, like an eye or a checkbox icon. That'd make it clearer to users that multiple can be active at the same time. If you could reorder by dragging from anywhere you wouldn't need the grip.

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This does seem to fix some the issues listed above but I am worried about the issues this design might bring with it. Also I think the key issue with the current tabs in Blender is if there are too many tabs. The other issues seem kinda nitpicky to me.

First of all I vastly prefer having the wasteful vertical bar than having another list that takes up space within the sidebar itself. The vertical bar has a lot more real estate than a list within the sidebar itself could have, so a lot of tabs can be accessible at once.
On the other side I think most people will keep the proposed list collapsed at all times because space is already finite and having another list of items might just introduce more scrolling.
So I'm not sure if the proposal really fixes the issue of having too many tabs because if anything, it might just introduce more clicking through yet another popup menu instead of having all tabs readily available.
This might not be so bad but if in certain workflows it's necessary to switch tabs often it might be really annoying.

I do love the idea of being able to reorder the tabs and to view multiple tabs at once. As a counter-proposal, once there are too many tabs there could be extra buttons to scroll up/down or the MMB and scrollwheel can just be used to scroll the tabs as well without the buttons? There just needs to be an indication that it's scroll-able without adding yet another scrollbar which would make the sidebar thicker.
This would fix the issue of too many tabs fighting for space and this design could be way better when many tabs are available than a list within the sidebar itself.
sidebar.png

This does seem to fix some the issues listed above but I am worried about the issues this design might bring with it. Also I think the key issue with the current tabs in Blender is if there are too many tabs. The other issues seem kinda nitpicky to me. First of all I vastly prefer having the wasteful vertical bar than having another list that takes up space within the sidebar itself. The vertical bar has a lot more real estate than a list within the sidebar itself could have, so a lot of tabs can be accessible at once. On the other side I think most people will keep the proposed list collapsed at all times because space is already finite and having another list of items might just introduce more scrolling. So I'm not sure if the proposal really fixes the issue of having too many tabs because if anything, it might just introduce more clicking through yet another popup menu instead of having all tabs readily available. This might not be so bad but if in certain workflows it's necessary to switch tabs often it might be really annoying. I do love the idea of being able to reorder the tabs and to view multiple tabs at once. As a counter-proposal, once there are too many tabs there could be extra buttons to scroll up/down or the MMB and scrollwheel can just be used to scroll the tabs as well without the buttons? There just needs to be an indication that it's scroll-able without adding yet another scrollbar which would make the sidebar thicker. This would fix the issue of too many tabs fighting for space and this design could be way better when many tabs are available than a list within the sidebar itself. ![sidebar.png](https://archive.blender.org/developer/F8492358/sidebar.png)

@JulienKaspar even with a large view like that you only have space for 11 tabs at a time. So it’s not true that there is more space with vertical text.

@JulienKaspar even with a large view like that you only have space for 11 tabs at a time. So it’s not true that there is more space with vertical text.

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Judging by the image of the list collapsed, my first instinct is that it doubles as a menu. In that case I don't think it's too much clicking if you use a click and drag, the advantages and niceness would outweight.

But if it just expands, then yes, it's too much. One click to expand, one click to select, and one to close and regain the space.

Judging by the image of the list collapsed, my first instinct is that it doubles as a menu. In that case I don't think it's too much clicking if you use a click and drag, the advantages and niceness would outweight. But if it just expands, then yes, it's too much. One click to expand, one click to select, and one to close and regain the space.
Member

@WilliamReynish True, but who would willingly have the proposed list long enough to show more than 11 tabs? That's taking a huge amount of space that should be reserved for the actual content of the sidebar, right?
A while ago I put some custom tabs in my sidebar via addons so here's an idea of how much space the list would take with 11 tabs (in my case it's vertex groups).
That's half the sidebar.
tabs.png

And if it's a single popover then we go by popover standards like choosing materials or textures. In that case it would go up to 10.
list.png
Either way the space is limited and the vertical tabs seem like the best use of space imo.

@WilliamReynish True, but who would willingly have the proposed list long enough to show more than 11 tabs? That's taking a huge amount of space that should be reserved for the actual content of the sidebar, right? A while ago I put some custom tabs in my sidebar via addons so here's an idea of how much space the list would take with 11 tabs (in my case it's vertex groups). That's half the sidebar. ![tabs.png](https://archive.blender.org/developer/F8492464/tabs.png) And if it's a single popover then we go by popover standards like choosing materials or textures. In that case it would go up to 10. ![list.png](https://archive.blender.org/developer/F8492466/list.png) Either way the space is limited and the vertical tabs seem like the best use of space imo.

Part of the idea here is that you usually only use a few categories at a time. You could move those to the top. And collapsed you could of course open and switch to any category.

Part of the idea here is that you usually only use a few categories at a time. You could move those to the top. And collapsed you could of course open and switch to any category.
Member

@WilliamReynish Yeah I totally agree. In my case I have like 4 tabs in most cases that I use and the rest is well described as a "wasteful bar". That would be the case for most users.
What if the tabs would get cut off at some point to leave more space for the editor underneath?

sidebar 3.png

The sidebar could even still get completely detached like the toolbar if you wanted to.

sidebar 2.png

Not the prettiest mockups but you get the idea :)

@WilliamReynish Yeah I totally agree. In my case I have like 4 tabs in most cases that I use and the rest is well described as a "wasteful bar". That would be the case for most users. What if the tabs would get cut off at some point to leave more space for the editor underneath? ![sidebar 3.png](https://archive.blender.org/developer/F8492552/sidebar_3.png) The sidebar could even still get completely detached like the toolbar if you wanted to. ![sidebar 2.png](https://archive.blender.org/developer/F8492554/sidebar_2.png) Not the prettiest mockups but you get the idea :)

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In #76023#916799, @WilliamReynish wrote:
Part of the idea here is that you usually only use a few categories at a time. You could move those to the top. And collapsed you could of course open and switch to any category.

This could also be solved by allowing to reorder the vertical tabs though.
They could be made so that they show the full name instead of being compressed, making the exceeding ones go below the editor border, and allow to scroll the area with the mouse wheel and middle button, as it works now with the properties tabs.

> In #76023#916799, @WilliamReynish wrote: > Part of the idea here is that you usually only use a few categories at a time. You could move those to the top. And collapsed you could of course open and switch to any category. This could also be solved by allowing to reorder the vertical tabs though. They could be made so that they show the full name instead of being compressed, making the exceeding ones go below the editor border, and allow to scroll the area with the mouse wheel and middle button, as it works now with the properties tabs.

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Just a suggestion. With Ctrl + mouse wheel on the L panel it is possible to jump from tab to tab, but the pen does not have a wheel and the option is lost. It would be nice to find an alternative for pen tablets.

Looking for keyboard combinations it seemed to me that it is not possible. So I think that a row of point buttons could be used as a slider and a keypad at the same time. Grouped five by five they could be memorized.

Screenshot_2020-04-23_at_13.36.55.png

It could also be a direct access to the first 5 options on the list, the most used.

Just a suggestion. With Ctrl + mouse wheel on the L panel it is possible to jump from tab to tab, but the pen does not have a wheel and the option is lost. It would be nice to find an alternative for pen tablets. Looking for keyboard combinations it seemed to me that it is not possible. So I think that a row of point buttons could be used as a slider and a keypad at the same time. Grouped five by five they could be memorized. ![Screenshot_2020-04-23_at_13.36.55.png](https://archive.blender.org/developer/F8492573/Screenshot_2020-04-23_at_13.36.55.png) It could also be a direct access to the first 5 options on the list, the most used.

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I think the key issue with the current tabs in Blender is if there are too many tabs.

Yes! A big part of the problem though is that addons can create totally unnecessary tabs, e.g. for one or two panels, and you have to go digging into the code in order to group related ones together. Time consuming, but now my sidebar is nice and organized, even with lots of addons enabled. Instead of 6 different tabs for rigging addons, I have 1 tab called Rigging.

Something that would go a long way to reducing tabs regardless of the design would be to allow the user to rename the sidebar section that an addon is registering to in its preferences.

> I think the key issue with the current tabs in Blender is if there are too many tabs. Yes! A big part of the problem though is that addons can create totally unnecessary tabs, e.g. for one or two panels, and you have to go digging into the code in order to group related ones together. Time consuming, but now my sidebar is nice and organized, even with lots of addons enabled. Instead of 6 different tabs for rigging addons, I have 1 tab called Rigging. Something that would go a long way to reducing tabs regardless of the design would be to allow the user to rename the sidebar section that an addon is registering to in its preferences.

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In #76023#916869, @a.monti wrote:

In #76023#916799, @WilliamReynish wrote:
Part of the idea here is that you usually only use a few categories at a time. You could move those to the top. And collapsed you could of course open and switch to any category.

This could also be solved by allowing to reorder the vertical tabs though.
They could be made so that they show the full name instead of being compressed, making the exceeding ones go below the editor border, and allow to scroll the area with the mouse wheel and middle button, as it works now with the properties tabs.

Im with Alessio, that massive tab screenshot in the Will post its from my blender. The second rollout solution its another step to select the tab, doing necessary a shortcut to rollout and using numbers to select slot as fastest way of use.
Maybe with long names on tabs without cropping and abling reordering as Alessio says could work well enough for almost all cases, without adding extra steps for other users or adding more options to preferences. messing up.

Albert (wevon) your proposal is cool, but isnt coherent with the rest of UI, and doesnt fix readabilty on sight or fast access to it, in that rollout case Im stick with a shortcut+number solution.

The option to customize tab names on each addon its quite well too.
Also can help the option to stack several addons by tab by adding the same custom tab name on it for example, lots of addons have very few options.

> In #76023#916869, @a.monti wrote: >> In #76023#916799, @WilliamReynish wrote: >> Part of the idea here is that you usually only use a few categories at a time. You could move those to the top. And collapsed you could of course open and switch to any category. > > This could also be solved by allowing to reorder the vertical tabs though. > They could be made so that they show the full name instead of being compressed, making the exceeding ones go below the editor border, and allow to scroll the area with the mouse wheel and middle button, as it works now with the properties tabs. Im with Alessio, that massive tab screenshot in the Will post its from my blender. The second rollout solution its another step to select the tab, doing necessary a shortcut to rollout and using numbers to select slot as fastest way of use. Maybe with long names on tabs without cropping and abling reordering as Alessio says could work well enough for almost all cases, without adding extra steps for other users or adding more options to preferences. messing up. Albert (wevon) your proposal is cool, but isnt coherent with the rest of UI, and doesnt fix readabilty on sight or fast access to it, in that rollout case Im stick with a shortcut+number solution. The option to customize tab names on each addon its quite well too. Also can help the option to stack several addons by tab by adding the same custom tab name on it for example, lots of addons have very few options.

@OscarNebeAbad Even then, you still have the bar that overlaps with the viewport all the way down past the panel area. Fundamentally, the way the vertical tabs work don't fit with Region Overlap - you get this issue:

Screenshot_2020-04-23_at_13.01.40.png

And you get that long pointless bar covering up the viewport all the way down.

@OscarNebeAbad Even then, you still have the bar that overlaps with the viewport all the way down past the panel area. Fundamentally, the way the vertical tabs work don't fit with Region Overlap - you get this issue: ![Screenshot_2020-04-23_at_13.01.40.png](https://archive.blender.org/developer/F8492990/Screenshot_2020-04-23_at_13.01.40.png) And you get that long pointless bar covering up the viewport all the way down.

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I will propose the same that in devtalk, a mix system that pick the addons list form this concept and the classic tabs that allow easy access and fast access

image.png
image.png
image.png

This allows

save the immediacy of the tab system
operating simplicity
space utilization of the interface
Do not look so much at the visual solution, which can use tabs, buttons, … simply the concept of usability.

The idea is simple, through customization (or automatically according to the screen space), you decide which tabs appear and the rest are accessible through a classic drop-down menu. And the bar is visible without any panel visible, not like actually.

The use of icons is secondary, but it would be a good addition at least for default tabs to reduce the use of space.

I will propose the same that in devtalk, a mix system that pick the addons list form this concept and the classic tabs that allow easy access and fast access ![image.png](https://archive.blender.org/developer/F8493156/image.png) ![image.png](https://archive.blender.org/developer/F8493159/image.png) ![image.png](https://archive.blender.org/developer/F8493161/image.png) This allows save the immediacy of the tab system operating simplicity space utilization of the interface Do not look so much at the visual solution, which can use tabs, buttons, … simply the concept of usability. The idea is simple, through customization (or automatically according to the screen space), you decide which tabs appear and the rest are accessible through a classic drop-down menu. And the bar is visible without any panel visible, not like actually. The use of icons is secondary, but it would be a good addition at least for default tabs to reduce the use of space.

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Hi, I manage to finally redact my proposal for the sidebar redesign.
I hope it all make sense for you.
Regards

https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1oHrTMCUUE-5H5WsTeNgSnmeL4U2U4H1Kbr94eIOmweU/edit?usp=sharing

CC: @WilliamReynish @pablovazquez @JulienKaspar

Hi, I manage to finally redact my proposal for the sidebar redesign. I hope it all make sense for you. Regards https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1oHrTMCUUE-5H5WsTeNgSnmeL4U2U4H1Kbr94eIOmweU/edit?usp=sharing CC: @WilliamReynish @pablovazquez @JulienKaspar

@WilliamReynish @pablovazquez

This is my proposal by all the ideas I saw here:

  • No crop names in tabs
  • Allow custom tab names
  • Allow reordering tabs, to let the most used on sight.
  • Allow several addons by custom tab name
  • Move navigation Icons to top
  • Axis pivoting between the corner and the side of the toolshelf
  • Allow scrolldown on the tabs

SidebarProposalNebe.jpg

@WilliamReynish @pablovazquez This is my proposal by all the ideas I saw here: - No crop names in tabs - Allow custom tab names - Allow reordering tabs, to let the most used on sight. - Allow several addons by custom tab name - Move navigation Icons to top - Axis pivoting between the corner and the side of the toolshelf - Allow scrolldown on the tabs ![SidebarProposalNebe.jpg](https://archive.blender.org/developer/F8494392/SidebarProposalNebe.jpg)

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I posted a message on the devtalk thread with my opinions about several mock-ups that were posted here and there.

To sum up my point of view:

  • The N panel must be simple and intuitive. The user should be able to quickly switch from a tab to another. Tabs are a very well known concept (it’s used in File Explorers, in Web Browsers, other 3D softwares…). People are used to them. That’s why I would prefer if Blender developers kept the current tab bar.

  • To fix the tabs clutter, I suggest to to let the user scroll tabs with a vertical scrollbar.

I posted a message on the [devtalk thread ](https://devtalk.blender.org/t/solution-to-the-sidebar-panel-design/3515/66) with my opinions about several mock-ups that were posted here and there. **To sum up my point of view:** - The N panel must be simple and intuitive. The user should be able to quickly switch from a tab to another. Tabs are a very well known concept (it’s used in File Explorers, in Web Browsers, other 3D softwares…). People are used to them. That’s why I would prefer if Blender developers kept the current tab bar. - To fix the tabs clutter, I suggest to to let the user scroll tabs with a vertical scrollbar.

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I have change the proposal a few because I see people don't understand correctly.

image.png
Three lines icon button -> access to addons/tabs list
Rest of buttons -> favorites/selected tabs

So the user can have this
image.png

or this

image.png

and have the same functions that always, direct access and a list of tabs like the design proposal

I have change the proposal a few because I see people don't understand correctly. ![image.png](https://archive.blender.org/developer/F8514424/image.png) Three lines icon button -> access to addons/tabs list Rest of buttons -> favorites/selected tabs So the user can have this ![image.png](https://archive.blender.org/developer/F8514428/image.png) or this ![image.png](https://archive.blender.org/developer/F8514431/image.png) and have the same functions that always, direct access and a list of tabs like the design proposal

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In #76023#924892, @AlbertoVelazquez wrote:
image.png

That is a very elegant solution, Alberto. I like it. It allows the user to take control of what does, or does not, get displayed in a way that users currently have no control over. At the moment the addon has all of the control and the user can do nothing about whether a tab is created unless they choose to not enable the addon at all (completely negates the point of having an addon) or they manually dig into the addon's python to remove or consolidate its tab.

> In #76023#924892, @AlbertoVelazquez wrote: > ![image.png](https://archive.blender.org/developer/F8514424/image.png) That is a very elegant solution, Alberto. I like it. It allows the user to take control of what does, or does not, get displayed in a way that users currently have no control over. At the moment the addon has all of the control and the user can do nothing about whether a tab is created unless they choose to not enable the addon at all (completely negates the point of having an addon) or they manually dig into the addon's python to remove or consolidate its tab.
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Lots of proposals are being suggested, but I find that the initial one proposed by William Reynish seems the most promising. There is no vertical text and it's the most simple, intuitive one.

The problem with overcrowded addons could be solved by making use of filter add-ons panel(which already exists in 2.8x series) as a additional popover. Though vertical text might be recognizable with visual memory(like icons), it doesn't apply to all people and still some users have to rotate their head to read it properly. Vertical text should be removed, or converted somehow to horizontal text.

Lots of proposals are being suggested, but I find that the initial one proposed by William Reynish seems the most promising. There is no vertical text and it's the most simple, intuitive one. The problem with overcrowded addons could be solved by making use of **filter add-ons** panel(which already exists in 2.8x series) as a additional popover. Though vertical text might be recognizable with visual memory(like icons), it doesn't apply to all people and still some users have to rotate their head to read it properly. Vertical text should be removed, or converted somehow to horizontal text.

The problems of that proposal have already been seen, such as the fact that half of the sidebar was occupied by only a dozen addons if at all. That increases the steps to access any tool. And that in small monitors the problem is even worse.

It's a completely failed design that only appeals to people who don't use the sidebar regularly. To think that you have to make 4-5 steps just to see an addon that is now one click away is horrible.

The problems of that proposal have already been seen, such as the fact that half of the sidebar was occupied by only a dozen addons if at all. That increases the steps to access any tool. And that in small monitors the problem is even worse. It's a completely failed design that only appeals to people who don't use the sidebar regularly. To think that you have to make 4-5 steps just to see an addon that is now one click away is horrible.

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In #76023#924892, @AlbertoVelazquez wrote:
I have change the proposal a few because I see people don't understand correctly.

image.png
Three lines icon button -> access to addons/tabs list
Rest of buttons -> favorites/selected tabs

It looks nice, clean and minimalistic, so it is nice concept.
But I think this button may just be a regular tab with a locked top placement, so it can use existing Blender panel's functionality, such as scrolling.
So this way it will be the tab that controls the other tabs.

> In #76023#924892, @AlbertoVelazquez wrote: > I have change the proposal a few because I see people don't understand correctly. > > > > ![image.png](https://archive.blender.org/developer/F8514424/image.png) > Three lines icon button -> access to addons/tabs list > Rest of buttons -> favorites/selected tabs It looks nice, clean and minimalistic, so it is nice concept. But I think this button may just be a regular tab with a locked top placement, so it can use existing Blender panel's functionality, such as scrolling. So this way it will be the tab that controls the other tabs.
Member

I'm with you @WilliamReynish , because in these kinds of UI decisions, I believe we should all stick to this phrase: less is more. Many of us sometimes try to solve problems in a easy, but cluttered way that results in a mess. I'm advocating yours because simple, intuitive and easy-to-use design is where we have to go.

Looking in the Blender Devtalk thread , it seems that tabs with vertical text introduced in 2.7x series(which was the easy solution) IS something to get rid of. There are many people claiming that vertical text is not the right choice. Though some people says it's alright to leave the vertical text as it is, we now know there should be a better solution.

Therefore I hope you stick to your design and handle just a few problems that community points out without being overwhelmed by countless opinions.

Also, I also agree that users use only a few categories at a time is true.

In #76023#916799, @WilliamReynish wrote:
Part of the idea here is that you usually only use a few categories at a time. You could move those to the top. And collapsed you could of course open and switch to any category.

Although this doesn't solve the problem of top list occuping so much space.

So many proposals, so many arguments and some of them being unproductively offensive... I'm starting to get concerned that this conversation might get off-course and this task could be delayed for a number of releases.

Therefore I suggest: Have you happened to see this addon filter popover proposal at Rightclickselect? What do you think about making use of this proposal to solve the problems suggested in this task? Maybe this filter-addons popover button could be placed in the top part of the sidebar, instead of the header.
6d62bdc5f0e44b77a97551f1343be04c-l.jpg

I'm with you @WilliamReynish , because in these kinds of UI decisions, I believe we should all stick to this phrase: less is more. Many of us sometimes try to solve problems in a easy, but cluttered way that results in a mess. I'm advocating yours because simple, intuitive and easy-to-use design is where we have to go. Looking in the [Blender Devtalk thread ](https://devtalk.blender.org/t/solution-to-the-sidebar-panel-design/3515), it seems that tabs with vertical text introduced in 2.7x series(which was the easy solution) IS something to get rid of. There are many people claiming that vertical text is not the right choice. Though some people says it's alright to leave the vertical text as it is, we now know there should be a better solution. Therefore I hope you stick to your design and handle just a few problems that community points out without being overwhelmed by countless opinions. Also, I also agree that users use only a few categories at a time is true. > In #76023#916799, @WilliamReynish wrote: > Part of the idea here is that you usually only use a few categories at a time. You could move those to the top. And collapsed you could of course open and switch to any category. Although this doesn't solve the problem of top list occuping so much space. So many proposals, so many arguments and some of them being unproductively offensive... I'm starting to get concerned that this conversation might get off-course and this task could be delayed for a number of releases. Therefore I suggest: Have you happened to see this [addon filter popover ](https://blender.community/c/rightclickselect/9Hdbbc/) proposal at Rightclickselect? What do you think about making use of this proposal to solve the problems suggested in this task? Maybe this filter-addons popover button could be placed in the top part of the sidebar, instead of the header. ![6d62bdc5f0e44b77a97551f1343be04c-l.jpg](https://archive.blender.org/developer/F8601975/6d62bdc5f0e44b77a97551f1343be04c-l.jpg)

In #76023#948578, @temeddix wrote:

Looking in the Blender Devtalk thread , it seems that tabs with vertical text introduced in 2.7x series(which was the easy solution) IS something to get rid of. There are many people claiming that vertical text is not the right choice. Though some people says it's alright to leave the vertical text as it is, we now know there should be a better solution.

The problem is that a solution that can provide faster and clearer access than tabs has not yet been presented.

Therefore I suggest: Have you happened to see this addon filter popover proposal at Rightclickselect?

It is similar to proposal by Alberto from previous post (managing tab that controls other tabs), but redrawn as popover instead managing tab for some unexplained reason.
It is also not complete because it does not allow you to assign shorter custom names to tabs, although such a need exists.

> In #76023#948578, @temeddix wrote: > Looking in the [Blender Devtalk thread ](https://devtalk.blender.org/t/solution-to-the-sidebar-panel-design/3515), it seems that tabs with vertical text introduced in 2.7x series(which was the easy solution) IS something to get rid of. There are many people claiming that vertical text is not the right choice. Though some people says it's alright to leave the vertical text as it is, we now know there should be a better solution. The problem is that a solution that can provide faster and clearer access than tabs has not yet been presented. > Therefore I suggest: Have you happened to see this [addon filter popover ](https://blender.community/c/rightclickselect/9Hdbbc/) proposal at Rightclickselect? It is similar to proposal by Alberto from previous post (managing tab that controls other tabs), but redrawn as popover instead managing tab for some unexplained reason. It is also not complete because it does not allow you to assign shorter custom names to tabs, although such a need exists.

Removed subscriber: @kouzanagi

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Added subscriber: @Rawalanche

Added subscriber: @Rawalanche
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I made a proposal based on @Rawalanche’s at this thread , which makes the use of the footer. Shouldn't this be the key to all suggested problems?
Footer proposal.jpg

I made a proposal based on @Rawalanche’s at [this thread ](https://devtalk.blender.org/t/tool-settings-are-on-too-many-places/7387/99), which makes the use of the footer. Shouldn't this be the key to all suggested problems? ![Footer proposal.jpg](https://archive.blender.org/developer/F8604083/Footer_proposal.jpg)

Added subscriber: @StephenHamacek

Added subscriber: @StephenHamacek

Would it be reasonably straightforward to just make the tabs MMB scrollable for now? All the workspace, properties tabs etc. have this behaviour when their panels are too small, why not these tabs? It would be a big improvement while we look for the longer term solution.

Would it be reasonably straightforward to just make the tabs MMB scrollable for now? All the workspace, properties tabs etc. have this behaviour when their panels are too small, why not these tabs? It would be a big improvement while we look for the longer term solution.

In #76023#953551, @StephenHamacek wrote:
Would it be reasonably straightforward to just make the tabs MMB scrollable for now?

There was discussion about that.
Personaly, I think that it is not a good idea, because such behaviour is not obvoius. I think it is nice to see if tabs are shrinked, this way you can detect that they need some management.

> In #76023#953551, @StephenHamacek wrote: > Would it be reasonably straightforward to just make the tabs MMB scrollable for now? There was [discussion ](https://devtalk.blender.org/t/the-panel-tabs-for-addons-should-never-shrink-scroll-instead/10196) about that. Personaly, I think that it is not a good idea, because such behaviour is not obvoius. I think it is nice to see if tabs are shrinked, this way you can detect that they need some management.

Added subscriber: @item412

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Added subscriber: @0x00

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Added subscriber: @htlcnn

Added subscriber: @htlcnn

Added subscriber: @chippwalters

Added subscriber: @chippwalters

While many of us are waiting for a solution to be found to un-clutter the N Panel (when there are many Add-ons Tabs), here is an add-on (made by @chippwalters) that might interest many Blender users (at least, those who are annoyed by the clutter of the N Panel Tabs):

Youtube video: https://youtu.be/6h3SyW0YgRs

Download link: https://gumroad.com/l/simpletabs

While many of us are waiting for a solution to be found to un-clutter the N Panel (when there are many Add-ons Tabs), here is an add-on (made by @chippwalters) that might interest many Blender users (at least, those who are annoyed by the clutter of the N Panel Tabs): Youtube video: https://youtu.be/6h3SyW0YgRs Download link: https://gumroad.com/l/simpletabs

There is still a problem at the very basic design level, where N-panel is cluttered by mixing properties and tools, while T-panel is occupied with useless basic tools, which are not used most the time.

So now engineering/precise modeling workflow, where you need simultaneously use a lot of custom tools in T-panel (which are way more complex than that basic extrude or bevel thing, placed there) and control exact values in N-panel is completely corrupted that much, so now you need constantly switch between properties and addons tabs while tweaking every single vertex!

This is one of the heaviest workflow issues, because it corrupts CADwork to the ground since 2.8, strightly prioritizing unprecise ARTwork, like character or kitbash modeling, where you dont care about exact values at all, shrinking the scope of Blender.

There is still a problem at the very basic design level, where N-panel is cluttered by mixing properties and tools, while T-panel is occupied with useless basic tools, which are not used most the time. So now engineering/precise modeling workflow, where you need simultaneously use a lot of custom tools in T-panel (which are way more complex than that basic extrude or bevel thing, placed there) and control exact values in N-panel is completely corrupted that much, so now you need constantly switch between properties and addons tabs while tweaking every single vertex! This is one of the heaviest workflow issues, because it corrupts CADwork to the ground since 2.8, strightly prioritizing unprecise ARTwork, like character or kitbash modeling, where you dont care about exact values at all, shrinking the scope of Blender.

In #76023#1085885, @xan2622 wrote:
While many of us are waiting for a solution to be found to un-clutter the N Panel (when there are many Add-ons Tabs), here is an add-on (made by @chippwalters) that might interest many Blender users (at least, those who are annoyed by the clutter of the N Panel Tabs):

Youtube video: https://youtu.be/6h3SyW0YgRs

Download link: https://gumroad.com/l/simpletabs

It doesn’t solve the problem - developers still can’t design a sustainable solution.
Basic design failures should not be solved as addons, otherwise developers will keep doing them.
As a company we can afford an army of local developers who will make even custom builds, but this will not help to core developers realize their mistakes.
In fact, over the past two years they have made so many design mistakes that our local developers are tired of fixing them. All this is too expensive.

> In #76023#1085885, @xan2622 wrote: > While many of us are waiting for a solution to be found to un-clutter the N Panel (when there are many Add-ons Tabs), here is an add-on (made by @chippwalters) that might interest many Blender users (at least, those who are annoyed by the clutter of the N Panel Tabs): > > Youtube video: https://youtu.be/6h3SyW0YgRs > > Download link: https://gumroad.com/l/simpletabs It doesn’t solve the problem - developers still can’t design a sustainable solution. Basic design failures should not be solved as addons, otherwise developers will keep doing them. As a company we can afford an army of local developers who will make even custom builds, but this will not help to core developers realize their mistakes. In fact, over the past two years they have made so many design mistakes that our local developers are tired of fixing them. All this is too expensive.

Added subscriber: @finirpar

Added subscriber: @finirpar

Yes, precise modeling like architecture modeling and especially groundworks are so terrible since version 2.8 that they are outperformed by 2.79.1C2dZ5PozIw.jpg

dVmbewwAha8.jpg

Yes, precise modeling like architecture modeling and especially groundworks are so terrible since version 2.8 that they are outperformed by 2.79.![1C2dZ5PozIw.jpg](https://archive.blender.org/developer/F9549652/1C2dZ5PozIw.jpg) ![dVmbewwAha8.jpg](https://archive.blender.org/developer/F9549651/dVmbewwAha8.jpg)

Added subscriber: @Jewls

Added subscriber: @Jewls

Hey guys heres a more radical solution for the Problems with the N Panel.
Vanilla Blender looks like this:
vanilla blender.jpg
And the Proposal:
n Panel optimizations.jpg
The basic idea of the concept is making the N Panel a sub Editor of the viewport. (Maybe the Tools also)

Pros:
A more natural flowing UI.
Less Cluttering.
Get Rid of vertical Text. (Is this used somewhere else in Blender?).
The Panels could be swapped within the Viewport so the tools Panel could be on the right side etc. (More customization).
All necessary operators and action can grouped together to gain back speed.
A infinite scrolling list could be the solution for finite vertical space for addons.
wouldnt change behavior of the panel could be still triggered and collapsed with N.

Cons:
Buttons are moving. (Solution: Just grab the black text to a layer below.)
Loss of Viewport space in the lower right corner(Solution: Default Colapsed and transparent Background for friends of the 2.8 way.)
Probably needs recoding.

Notes: the transparent blue sections could be also aligned and used but would change the way the UI is structured. So this is better kept as an optional change.

This is my first design work and im not a professional Designer but I hope this proposal solves some weakpoints and restores the workflow.

Thanks for listening

Hey guys heres a more radical solution for the Problems with the N Panel. Vanilla Blender looks like this: ![vanilla blender.jpg](https://archive.blender.org/developer/F9549717/vanilla_blender.jpg) And the Proposal: ![n Panel optimizations.jpg](https://archive.blender.org/developer/F9549720/n_Panel_optimizations.jpg) The basic idea of the concept is making the N Panel a sub Editor of the viewport. (Maybe the Tools also) Pros: A more natural flowing UI. Less Cluttering. Get Rid of vertical Text. (Is this used somewhere else in Blender?). The Panels could be swapped within the Viewport so the tools Panel could be on the right side etc. (More customization). All necessary operators and action can grouped together to gain back speed. A infinite scrolling list could be the solution for finite vertical space for addons. wouldnt change behavior of the panel could be still triggered and collapsed with N. Cons: Buttons are moving. (Solution: Just grab the black text to a layer below.) Loss of Viewport space in the lower right corner(Solution: Default Colapsed and transparent Background for friends of the 2.8 way.) Probably needs recoding. Notes: the transparent blue sections could be also aligned and used but would change the way the UI is structured. So this is better kept as an optional change. This is my first design work and im not a professional Designer but I hope this proposal solves some weakpoints and restores the workflow. Thanks for listening

In #76023#1086068, @finirpar wrote:
Yes, precise modeling like architecture modeling and especially groundworks are so terrible since version 2.8 that they are outperformed by 2.79.1C2dZ5PozIw.jpg

dVmbewwAha8.jpg

Yes, that's the huge usability problem of 2.8 redesign.

The goal of T-panel is to separate tools from properties.
This way Blender solved an ancient industry standards problem with organizing enhanced tools aka addons.
But now it is filled only with basic tools, like extrude and bevel that you may need only in the very begining, while the N-panel is crammed with everything else.
Over time, the user goes through several stages of development as an artist, and switches from using basic toolsto enhanced tools, that are provided by addons, especially in CADwork, and stop using that basic tools as a buttons completely, going to using basic tools as hotkeys to avoid speed losses.

1D_Addons.gif

And the problem is that such a layout actually mixes up professional tool and properties in N panel, instead of separating tools and properties to different panels for simultaneous access.

As a result you are forced to constantly switch back and forth after every single action between professional tools (addons) and properties (coordinates, necessary for precision work) afterevery single action during making any kind of CAD work that requires working with coordinates, like groundworks on those screenshots.

> In #76023#1086068, @finirpar wrote: > Yes, precise modeling like architecture modeling and especially groundworks are so terrible since version 2.8 that they are outperformed by 2.79.![1C2dZ5PozIw.jpg](https://archive.blender.org/developer/F9549652/1C2dZ5PozIw.jpg) > > ![dVmbewwAha8.jpg](https://archive.blender.org/developer/F9549651/dVmbewwAha8.jpg) Yes, that's the huge usability problem of 2.8 redesign. The goal of T-panel is to **separate tools from properties**. This way Blender solved an ancient industry standards problem with organizing enhanced tools aka addons. But now it is filled only with basic tools, like extrude and bevel that you may need only in the very begining, while the N-panel is crammed with everything else. Over time, the user goes through several stages of development as an artist, and switches from using **basic tools**to **enhanced tools**, that are provided by addons, especially in CADwork, and stop using that basic tools as a buttons completely, going to using basic tools as hotkeys to avoid speed losses. ![1D_Addons.gif](https://archive.blender.org/developer/F9585068/1D_Addons.gif) And the problem is that such a layout actually mixes up professional tool and properties in N panel, instead of separating tools and properties to different panels for simultaneous access. As a result you are forced to **constantly switch back and forth after every single action** between professional tools (addons) and properties (coordinates, necessary for precision work) after**every single action** during making any kind of CAD work that requires working with coordinates, like groundworks on those screenshots.

As co-developer of SIMPLE TABS, we've looked at many ways to solve this issue, but the N-panel API is just too restricted to do much other than rename and reorder.
I strongly dislike any proposal design which add more mouse-clicks to accessing addons people use all the time.

I would suggest allowing the sidebar to have at minimum, an immediate selection mode for selected addons-- precluding the dropdown menu approach for them. This way a users favorite is till a single-click away.

I would also suggest allowing for addon developers to use colored icons for the tabs as well as names. Users could choose whether to use names or icons for the tabs. After learning, a colored icon is significantly faster for a user to identify and find than vertical words.

Please do not add even more clicks to create an even worse problem than we already have.

As co-developer of SIMPLE TABS, we've looked at many ways to solve this issue, but the N-panel API is just too restricted to do much other than rename and reorder. I strongly dislike any proposal design which add more mouse-clicks to accessing addons people use **all the time.** I would suggest allowing the sidebar to have at minimum, an immediate selection mode for *selected* addons-- precluding the dropdown menu approach for them. This way a users favorite is till a single-click away. I would also suggest allowing for addon developers to use colored icons for the tabs as well as names. Users could choose whether to use names or icons for the tabs. After learning, a colored icon is significantly faster for a user to identify and find than vertical words. Please do not add even more clicks to create an even worse problem than we already have.
Contributor

Yes. I think that the sidebar definitely needs visual redesign to match the rest of Blender (Rounded corners and not "attached to the side of the viewport". Basically same design language as the left toolbar), but I don't see anything wrong with the current vertical tab system. While it has a few drawbacks, it seems all around better solution than any other I've seen proposed.

Yes. I think that the sidebar definitely needs visual redesign to match the rest of Blender (Rounded corners and not "attached to the side of the viewport". Basically same design language as the left toolbar), but I don't see anything wrong with the current vertical tab system. While it has a few drawbacks, it seems all around better solution than any other I've seen proposed.

Well, yes, vertical tabs as a concept works really well, especially if to take into account that they have correct rotation alignment (top to left), which is engineering readability standard for rotated text.

Well, yes, vertical tabs as a concept works really well, especially if to take into account that they have correct rotation alignment (top to left), which is engineering readability standard for rotated text.

Added subscriber: @Vyach

Added subscriber: @Vyach

I agree with issues, but disagree with solution in the 1st post.
Let there be vertical tabs + 2 or even 3 rows, scrolling.
Also manual renaming of tab will be great to shrink some names.
In most cases I use addon-filtering and it prevents clutter. But with small editors there is still an issue, so scrolling or pop-over list with scrolling can be a solution

I agree with issues, but disagree with solution in the 1st post. Let there be vertical tabs + 2 or even 3 rows, scrolling. Also manual renaming of tab will be great to shrink some names. In most cases I use addon-filtering and it prevents clutter. But with small editors there is still an issue, so scrolling or pop-over list with scrolling can be a solution

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*This comment was removed by @ChinoD*

In #76023#1275266, @ChinoD wrote:
I might be in the minority here, but I think the sidebar should go away from the 3Dviewport and the add-ons be put in the properties editor and organized in their own tab. Personally, I don't like that the toolbar and the sidebar are bound to the 3D viewport. If I have multiple editors open I have a toolbar and a sidebar for each editor. We have duplicates of settings all over the place like tool settings in the header and tool settings in the properties panel and tool settings in the sidebar. I think the toolbar should be its own "editor" so to speak. I'd love to see universal popout editors that come from the top, right, left, and bottom of the blender window and not have the tools and sidebar bound to the 3Dviewport. Perhaps they could be customizable with which editors you want in each pop-in similar to how we can select editors when splitting windows. For example, I could have a toolbar pop in from the top as there is a lot more horizontal space to place tools and settings. A properties panel could pop in from the left, an outliner could pop in from the right and a timeline pop in from the bottom. I made a basic mockup of how this could look. Of course, customizing blender by splitting and merging the windows and selecting editors would still work exactly as it does now.

Screen Recording 2021-12-18 at 1.33.22 PM.mov

Mesh editing addons differs from uv editing addons.
Also William has quit devcore, so this tread has no devs.

> In #76023#1275266, @ChinoD wrote: > I might be in the minority here, but I think the sidebar should go away from the 3Dviewport and the add-ons be put in the properties editor and organized in their own tab. Personally, I don't like that the toolbar and the sidebar are bound to the 3D viewport. If I have multiple editors open I have a toolbar and a sidebar for each editor. We have duplicates of settings all over the place like tool settings in the header and tool settings in the properties panel and tool settings in the sidebar. I think the toolbar should be its own "editor" so to speak. I'd love to see universal popout editors that come from the top, right, left, and bottom of the blender window and not have the tools and sidebar bound to the 3Dviewport. Perhaps they could be customizable with which editors you want in each pop-in similar to how we can select editors when splitting windows. For example, I could have a toolbar pop in from the top as there is a lot more horizontal space to place tools and settings. A properties panel could pop in from the left, an outliner could pop in from the right and a timeline pop in from the bottom. I made a basic mockup of how this could look. Of course, customizing blender by splitting and merging the windows and selecting editors would still work exactly as it does now. > > > [Screen Recording 2021-12-18 at 1.33.22 PM.mov](https://archive.blender.org/developer/F12762044/Screen_Recording_2021-12-18_at_1.33.22_PM.mov) Mesh editing addons differs from uv editing addons. Also William has quit devcore, so this tread has no devs.

Removed subscriber: @ChinoD

Removed subscriber: @ChinoD

Added subscriber: @Michael-Drake

Added subscriber: @Michael-Drake

Added subscriber: @Rincewind3D-1

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Are there any news about the redesign of the n-panel sidebars?

It's really one of the biggest Blender usability issues, that the text of sidebar is no longer readable when there are too many addons installed.

Are there any news about the redesign of the n-panel sidebars? It's really one of the biggest Blender usability issues, that the text of sidebar is no longer readable when there are too many addons installed.

Added subscriber: @Prestino-Davide

Added subscriber: @Prestino-Davide

Hey any news about the pannel?

Hey any news about the pannel?

Added subscriber: @carlosedubarreto

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*This comment was removed by @xan2622*

Added subscriber: @AdamEarle

Added subscriber: @AdamEarle

Google Chrome has an interesting approach to this problem. Just another way to think about a solution

image.png

Google Chrome has an interesting approach to this problem. Just another way to think about a solution ![image.png](https://archive.blender.org/developer/F13071778/image.png)

Removed subscriber: @item412

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Added subscriber: @PratikPB2123

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  • Finite space for tabs
  • The tab bar works poorly with Region Overlap, pushing the panels further into the viewport, and overlapping
    You can see an example of using lots of tabs here. This is an extreme example:

I think this patch will fix the issue D15395: UI: Scroll sidebar category tabs

> - Finite space for tabs > - The tab bar works poorly with Region Overlap, pushing the panels further into the viewport, and overlapping > You can see an example of using lots of tabs here. This is an extreme example: I think this patch will fix the issue [D15395: UI: Scroll sidebar category tabs](https://archive.blender.org/developer/D15395)

In #76023#1403670, @PratikPB2123 wrote:

  • Finite space for tabs
  • The tab bar works poorly with Region Overlap, pushing the panels further into the viewport, and overlapping
    You can see an example of using lots of tabs here. This is an extreme example:

I think this patch will fix the issue D15395: UI: Scroll sidebar category tabs

that patch is a welcome quick fix but not a proper solution

> In #76023#1403670, @PratikPB2123 wrote: >> - Finite space for tabs >> - The tab bar works poorly with Region Overlap, pushing the panels further into the viewport, and overlapping >> You can see an example of using lots of tabs here. This is an extreme example: > I think this patch will fix the issue [D15395: UI: Scroll sidebar category tabs](https://archive.blender.org/developer/D15395) that patch is a welcome quick fix but not a proper solution
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