- Remove all unnecessary borders.
While it is often wise to continue breaking projects down into manageable chunks, too many visible divisions in a skin make it less manageable for players. Their eyes don't know where to focus. It makes the objects to keep track of look more numerous and intimidating.
Use borders sparingly and only when you want a player to focus on a particular control.
- Display as few tabs as possible.
For some reason, players find tabs intimidating. It doesn't matter if you design your game so that switching tabs is rarely required. Players envision themselves having to do it. They behave as if they're expected to know what the other tabs hold at any time.
As a replacement, I've had some luck with buttons that swap child panes. There's no automated border and nothing that forces choices to be left-aligned. Each button can have its size and position adjusted based on its importance. Less frequently used buttons can even be placed along the bottom of a skin where they are unlikely to be a distraction.
While tabs might place expectations on a player, somehow pressing a button without being sure what it does makes a person feel delightfully naughty.
Care to submit a blog post?