Why the same editor is in charge of tool options, global scene settings, and selected item attributes ? It looks like an old choice from when the software was very simple, but this make not much sens anymore.
Why not having 3 types of editors as they are completely unrelated notions. And users don’t edit the scene settings as often as items properties so it wouldn’t be a bummer to not have it under the same area. It would make the UI way simpler, more than anything.
the scene setting should be a node/item too, with the ability to use different scene settings nodes for different render purposes, and all the nodes should be editable the same way through one attribute/parameters editor.
(+ a second editor for tools as they are not a node/item)
The main reason they are together is that you can quickly switch with a single click instead of two, without taking up extra UI space. For some tasks frequently switching between scene and object properties is common.
You answer proves that this lack of tabs leads the devs to pack unrealted stuff all together in the same editor so it’s less annoying for the user and kinda working.
If Blender had those tabs for panels/areas, you could access the scene settings with ONE click like you say, by clicking on the tab ‘scene settings’ on the top to switch editor, AND the software would have a structure with a way better consistency.
In the case of switching from item attribute to -each time- a different scene settings tab, in this case indeed… it would be 2 clicks time to time, but come on, that’s a 2 minutes a day case you talk about here…
If you want to toggle so much in your workflow (in what case this happen btw ?), you can still make a checkbox on the top of the editors to expose all the parameters with no tabs anymore, since the editor has been made freshly simpler OR make a instance of scene settings area locked on a different tab (…always so many solutions available when the GUI is modular)
And I would trade a clean and consistent architecture for 2 clicks time to time, anytime.