FileMaker can have some limitation when it comes to it’s layout design, but if you use a little bit of ingenuity you can design a gorgeous layout. With FileMaker 13 you now have the ability to use slide panels, which I have found are the best way to build on the tab panels and it will give you that cool sliding action if you choose to use it. Popovers are most likely the number one layout advance for FileMaker 13. Using popovers are simple and can add a ton of space without weighing down your layouts.
The popover is probably my favorite layout add-on for FileMaker 13. A great use of the popover is placing it in a portal row and allowing the user to have many different choices for the selected portal row.
Sometimes you need to hide your popover, the best way to do this is it to place it under another popover that you are using as a button. Although, sometimes this is not an option and your popover needs to be placed out on it’s own, this is fine as long as you take away all color. Now, you have a clear popover that is hidden from the user, the only issue is that they can still randomly click on it. The trick to fix this is to place another clear object on top of the popover and changing the button settings to go to object (You can put whatever object name you like as long as its something you will never use).
Tab panels are a great way to build a layout… if you want your layout to look like it was built using FileMaker 7. By using slide panels you can give your users or yourself that extra little satisfaction from going to the next panel. Using the slide panel in conjunction with the popover opens up many tricks to making your system look top-notch. By placing a slide panel inside a popover, you can use one popover while allowing your user to step through a process without confusing the users or having them lose focus.
It is always beneficial to try and not overload your users with too much information up-front. By using these tips and many more tricks, you will be able to help your user find his/her way through your system quickly, thus creating a pleasant user experience that will have your users excited about using their systems instead of dreading how to figure it out. As we all know, having a user friendly layout and work through will ensure faster completion, saving the company both time and money.