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PageControl Usage

Reference a database program containing a form using a PageControl with tabs positioned at the top of the form. The tabs are labeled accordingly to refer to different documents whereby clicking on a particular tab creates a view for that particular document. As some documents may have more than one page, I have been thinking about adding a 2nd PageControl as/when needed to show vertical tabs corresponding to pages of documents containing more than one page. Not that scrolling isn't intuitive for most, but this in turn would eliminate that need allowing the end user to select and know at a glance which page he/she is on. In general, would this be considered an acceptable or poor UI design? Thank you ahead of time.

Marty Potokar
Tuesday, November 25, 2003

What language is a PageControl from? Is this a Borland control or maybe a .NET control?

Tuesday, November 25, 2003

Although I work in Borland Delphi, I don't know if the PageControl is generic to only Borland users. So as not to confuse the issue, assume a form with tabs along the top end. The tabs are associated with different docs, so clicking on a tab provides a view of a specific document. Now lets say that some docs contains more than one page. Hence, the additional vertical tabs (depending upon doc viewed) along the right-hand side to tab to the different pages of the doc. Upon my adding vertical tabs to get some idea as to how this might look, functionality aside, I believe this would be confusing to a typical end user, and also illustrates poor UI design.

Marty Potokar
Tuesday, November 25, 2003

What happens if the document has 57 pages?  Or 10?

For a while I was quite a fan of the page control, had my own inherited controls with lots of, I thought, deep structure nicely hidden until it was needed by the user.

I can still see some uses for it that make sense but on the whole it fails.  If fails because it commits the sin of requiring the user to hunt and decide where to go next, or gives them pause as to whether they need explore all those other tabs.

And I'll just gloss over the horror of 'Advanced'...

Instead I've gone back to putting chaining decisions in context with the information the user is dealing with at the time.  If they're making out an order, say, then at the appropriate time and location in the form there's a delivery button, not a delivery tab. 

Disclosing more or less of the form depending upon the amount of detail and information the user wants is the way I go now, and if an entirely new form is needed because its too much detail to fit then the new form is placed below the current field, the user's eyeline isn't disturbed.

In your case I'd probably have a page navigation control that allowed the user to click to the next page (or use page up or page down), previous page or particular page.

Simon Lucy
Wednesday, November 26, 2003

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