When we manipulate the application layout it is very easy to add new window panels and in some configurations it can become very tricky to remove them. There has been some UI improvement over time with the addition of a semi-transparent arrow above the panel to remove and it works well in the most common cases and the “Joint” right click menu item. When the panels are small though when we try to make that arrow appear it often results in the creation of another panel, which becomes at its turn uneasy to close and so on, leading to some frustration.
Can you flesh this idea out a bit better? You show the “Editor Type” menu open but show “Close Panel”. But you do mean to close that Editor right?
The difficulty would be in knowing what you intend to happen when closing it though. We can’t (currently) have an empty space. So presumably some other editor would take up that space, but from which neighbor? What if there is more than one? What if there are no neighbors that could be merged with the outgoing one?
My suggestion was to put the Close button into the “Editor Type” menu because it appeared to me, but I may be wrong, that the dropdown for the menu type was always accessible, even if the widget area was very little. And indeed pressing the button is to trigger an action that will remove the current widget, in other words the one we interacted with when we called the menu.
The question of which widget should get the space left by the closed one didn’t really appeared to me because I am seeing the whole window containing all the widgets the user created as a kind of hierarchy of layout components, so for me removing one widget just inform the layout component containing this widget that it should reorder itself according to its new content. This may be a too simplified point of view
So I understand the possible issue about the area that has to be chosen for the merge. I do think though that providing too much option for the user like Merge Left / Merge Right… is a bit overkill. The user just wants to kill a widget he didn’t managed to remove manually, this in order to simplify the current complex layout resulting from inefficient attempts based on the actual behaviors. She doesn’t really care about the new layout as long as it is roughly predictable, and she will probably change it afterwards anyway.
Whether it is this button or something else, there is something to be found to help the user to easily get back to a simplified layout.
I’m sure it’s not that easy and things have to be planned. What I am just pointing here is that there is a real frustrating issue here (very localized and not impacting the production, I admit, but impacting the feeling of newcomers), and there is very likely something smart to be done.
Defining a suitable predictable behavior doesn’t sound impossible, does it? It’s just a matter of time and priority.