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Creating tabbed interfaces

From: Illustrator for Web Design

Video: Creating tabbed interfaces

In this movie, I am going to be exploring how to create these little mockups here so that you can easily insert them into any project that you might be working on. So I've got this finished product here, and over in the Layers panel you'll see that I have three sublayers: one called Tabs, one called Content, and one called Background. So the Background elements, if I target those, it just selects this rectangle in the background. The Content is actually this text right here, and the text has been set up with some area type options to simulate the CSS box model. And if you'd like an in-depth explanation of that, I suggest going back to chapter 6 and watching the CSS box model movie.

Creating tabbed interfaces

In this movie, I am going to be exploring how to create these little mockups here so that you can easily insert them into any project that you might be working on. So I've got this finished product here, and over in the Layers panel you'll see that I have three sublayers: one called Tabs, one called Content, and one called Background. So the Background elements, if I target those, it just selects this rectangle in the background. The Content is actually this text right here, and the text has been set up with some area type options to simulate the CSS box model. And if you'd like an in-depth explanation of that, I suggest going back to chapter 6 and watching the CSS box model movie.

Once we have all this stuff in place, we can then add the tabs at the top, and the tabs at the top just correspond to the different areas of content. Now, I only have one content area here, but you could have several different ones that correspond to each tab if you want it to. But in this case it's just for show; it's not actually simulating any functionality or anything like that, so I just need this part of it. So in order to re-create this, let's create a new document. And 1024 x 768 is fine. It doesn't really matter what size you make. I'll just do that. And the first thing I always do is I set up the basic skeletal structure for this.

So the first thing is to create the background. I'll grab the Rectangle tool and just click somewhere onscreen, and I'll type out 300 x 300, that's generally a widely accepted size for these type of boxes. They go usually in the sidebar or something like that. They can be as big or small as you want them to be though. And so once we have that done, it puts it out there on the artboard for us. And then I'll grab my Selection tool. I am going to the Window menu bring up Align panel just so I have that out, because I am going to use that quite a bit in this sort of exercise. And I am going to align it to the artboard first, so I need to come here and choose Show Options, align it to the artboard, and then I am going to put it dead center of the artboard by clicking Align Horizontal and Align Vertical.

So once I have that in place, I need to set a color for it, so I am going to set a light gray, and the stroke, we are going to do is somewhat of a dark gray. I am going to increase the point size to 2 and change the stroke alignment to the outside. That's going to be out basis for the rest of the elements going forward. So I've got that set up. Now I'm going to set up the tabs at the top Remember, this is a 300 x 300 pixel square, so that means it's 300 pixels wide. That means each one of my tabs, depending on how many I need, need to be an equal width all the way across.

So I want three tabs for this. You could have four, five; it doesn't matter. But I want three tabs and so I need three 100-pixel-wide tabs. So I am just going to click. With my Rectangle tool selected, I'll type out 100 for the Width. I want to make these about 35 pixels tall. I want these to be touch friendly so I am going to hit 35 pixel tall, hit OK, and then I am just going to move this down into place until it snaps in alignment with the original box. If you can't get them to line up, just select them both; in your Align panel change your Align to to Selection; and then flush them against each other on the left-hand side.

If they still don't line up, that's okay. You can always adjust that later on, and I could actually correct this by changing the way the stroke is aligned. So going into the Stroke changing the alignment to outside, that should fix that right up. And I may need also to move it up a little bit so it doesn't look it's overlapping the stroke. And I just nudge that in place with my arrow keys. Okay now, I'll pan over a little bit, select this, I'll copy it, and then hit Command+F or Ctrl+F twice to paste two copies of it on top of itself. Then I'll move the last copy I created till it snaps in place over here on the right. Then I'll create a selection around all of them.

Make sure Align to is also set to selection again, and then we will horizontally distribute them across the center, just like that. So there is my three tabs all the way across. And so now in my Layers panel what I want to do is, on the path at the very bottom, I am going to rename this Background, and then I'll target each one of these tabs to make sure they are in the right spot. This one needs to be in the middle, so I'll move it to the middle of the stacking order. And this one needs to go to the top, and then this one needs to go back down to the bottom.

So theoretically, what I should have is the top one here, middle, and the right-hand side. So now I can name these Tab 1, Tab 2, Tab 3, and so forth. There we go: Tab 1, Tab 2, and Tab 3. If you want to add some text to these to indicate which one is which, you can. I usually also change the color of the first tab to indicate it's the active one. So in this case we'll change the tab color to a darker gray to indicate it is the active tab right now.

Now I am going to grab by Text tool and I am just going to draw out a box. It does not matter how big this is; you can always change that later. So I just going to draw out a text box and I am going to fill that with some Lorem Ipsum text, and I can do that by jumping over into my other document and just selecting this text here, copying it, and then coming back over and pasting it in. And in this case I need to change the size of the box; it's overflowing. So what I am going to do is switch to my Selection tool, and I am going to go to the Transform panel.

I am going to change the size of this. So I want this to be about 280 pixels wide and 280 pixels tall. It looks about right. I'll close this up. I am going to close the Align panel for now. I don't need it. And I am going to go to the Type menu, choose Area Type Options. I am going to inset spacing a little bit to create some space around the edges, so I am just going to do 10 pixels all the way around. If I turn on Preview, you can see what that does: it just creates a little bit of space. It's also known as padding when you are dealing with the web.

And I may need to adjust the Height. That's okay. I can switch that back down to be 280, hit OK. Now I'll move this back in. It should snap right about around the center point, so that's good. Now we want to add that white background to it, so we are going to do that through the Appearance panel. So I am going to grab the Appearance panel and bring it out so you can see it. So I am going to make sure I am working on the Type group here. I am going to add a new fill on top of it. And you are not going to see anything right off the bat, and that's okay. Change the fill color to white. You are going to see the text change. Watch what happens now.

I am going to make sure I'm still working on that fill. Go to the Effect menu. I am going to chose Convert to Shape, select Rectangle. I am going to set both of these values to 0 because I don't want any extra height or extra width, and then I'll hit OK. Then I'll take the fill and drag it beneath where it says Characters. Drop it in. And so now I can reset my workspace, and let's zoom out a little bit so we can see this. And so there we have it. There is our basic tabbed interface that we can then save as a symbol in our symbols library and then reuse anywhere we need to showcase one of these.

So you could use different text if you wanted to,. For instance, if I wanted to shrink up the text--I think that's a little too big-- shrink that down to about 14 points. That looks better, maybe even decrease the tracking somewhat. That looks a little bit more like a real user interface. I would save this as a symbol in one of my symbol libraries, and then I could open it any time I need it to, drag and drop it directly into any mockup that I am working on, and really have a nice tabbed interface that I can show to a client or simply pass off to a developer for them to code using HTML, CSS, and probably some JavaScript.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for Illustrator for Web Design
Illustrator for Web Design

67 video lessons · 25430 viewers

Justin Seeley
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 1m 13s
    1. Welcome
      50s
    2. Using the exercise files
      23s
  2. 43m 51s
    1. Designing for screens
      1m 57s
    2. Decoding screen size and resolution
      2m 40s
    3. Exploring the Illustrator to HTML workflow
      3m 42s
    4. Setting up Illustrator for web work
      6m 55s
    5. Creating a new document for web
      6m 25s
    6. Creating a new document for mobile
      3m 31s
    7. Using artboards for responsive layouts
      7m 42s
    8. Creating email newsletter documents
      4m 31s
    9. Working with Pixel Preview and anti-aliasing
      6m 28s
  3. 25m 28s
    1. Adjusting color settings
      6m 47s
    2. Understanding web color
      3m 47s
    3. Creating a color palette
      5m 4s
    4. Creating custom swatches
      4m 50s
    5. Working with fills and strokes
      5m 0s
  4. 13m 15s
    1. Exploring the Layers panel
      5m 21s
    2. Renaming and grouping layers
      7m 54s
  5. 24m 5s
    1. Drawing simple shapes
      4m 16s
    2. Working with Pathfinder
      5m 4s
    3. Using the Shape Builder tool
      4m 33s
    4. Creating symbols
      6m 24s
    5. Editing and replacing symbols
      3m 48s
  6. 20m 22s
    1. Planning your project
      2m 56s
    2. Using guides and rulers
      5m 56s
    3. Developing a layout with shapes
      6m 21s
    4. Using a grid system
      5m 9s
  7. 25m 53s
    1. Exploring the rules of typography
      4m 1s
    2. Using text as text vs. using text as an image
      3m 37s
    3. Understanding web-safe fonts
      1m 46s
    4. Creating and using paragraph styles
      5m 16s
    5. Creating and using character styles
      3m 2s
    6. Simulating the CSS box model
      8m 11s
  8. 21m 17s
    1. Understanding object appearance
      4m 43s
    2. Applying and editing live effects
      3m 34s
    3. Creating and using drop shadows
      3m 13s
    4. Creating more flexible rounded rectangles
      3m 17s
    5. Saving appearance as graphic styles
      6m 30s
  9. 35m 57s
    1. Starting with a wireframe
      5m 23s
    2. Adding master elements
      6m 45s
    3. Creating navigation buttons
      13m 34s
    4. Working with photographs
      5m 50s
    5. Simulating pages with artboards
      4m 25s
  10. 54m 45s
    1. Creating video placeholders
      10m 33s
    2. Creating buttons
      13m 1s
    3. Creating form fields
      8m 15s
    4. Creating radio boxes and checkboxes
      5m 11s
    5. Creating progress bars
      10m 12s
    6. Creating tabbed interfaces
      7m 33s
  11. 35m 28s
    1. Understanding slicing
      3m 26s
    2. Slicing up a mockup
      3m 6s
    3. Understanding web file formats
      5m 33s
    4. Exploring the Save for Web dialog
      3m 50s
    5. Optimizing photographs
      4m 29s
    6. Optimizing transparent graphics
      4m 43s
    7. Saving Retina display graphics
      3m 46s
    8. Exporting SVG graphics
      6m 35s
  12. 9m 29s
    1. Understanding image sprites
      3m 4s
    2. Creating a sprite grid
      4m 36s
    3. Optimizing sprites for the web
      1m 49s
  13. 15m 29s
    1. Placing Illustrator Smart Objects
      3m 22s
    2. Sharing color swatches between apps
      2m 9s
    3. Exporting Illustrator artwork as a PSD
      3m 49s
    4. Importing artwork into Fireworks
      2m 41s
    5. Exporting HTML from Illustrator
      3m 28s
  14. 1m 19s
    1. Taking the next step
      1m 1s
    2. Goodbye
      18s

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