When we did the UI for Blender 2.5, the idea for the Properties tab ordering was to follow the general structure of the scene from high level -> low level.
That's why the first items relate to the scene, and as you move further down the list, we follow the hierarchy of the data.
However, we weren't completely consistent, because we put the physics and particles tabs at the end, even though they are object level properties. We did this because we were afraid that the Material Properties would otherwise be pushed out of view:
Also, View Layers really are on a level lower than the Scene, but they appear before Scene in the list.
So, now that we have enough space to show everything, we can use the opportunity to fully follow the original vision, and properly order the tabs from high level -> low level.
This has the additional benefit of grouping modifiers with physics and particles, all of which are inter-related.
Looks like this:
As you can see, this follows the hierarchy accurately, as opposed to the previous order which only follows the hierarchy somewhat.
It also keeps the three main sections intact, while at the same time keeping other logical groupings together - see the rendering tabs and modifier stack tabs.
- I added extra spacing between the tab groups. Some users have mentioned that the spacing was too small.
- Texture Properties are still at the end, even though this position made the most sense in the BI renderer, where each material could store texture datablocks. They are more often used for modifiers and tools now, so they don't really fit well anywhere.
- I put the Scene Properties at the top, because it more accurately reflects the structure, but it can be debated if this is good or not. The nice thing is that it also then goes above View Layers, which are on a lower level in the hierarchy, but still keeps the Render, Output and View Layer properties next to each other,