Well, I'm not sure how appropriate it is for me to start multiple threads on my first week here. Yes things have quickly gotten a bit off topic, but the UI and the scope of the game are inexorably linked. If I want access to each layer at any point in play they have to be. If you only ever have ten or less ships in play...fleet control is redundant. If you have 50 or so entries in each weapon/hull section category...how you present the (useful)information is paramount.
One UI solution I've been pondering is to have a series of tabs on the 4 sides the display that when activated pull out to reveal the control set for a particular use(Or for that matter, from the corners). Individual ship settings(Escort mode, move to contact, standoff attack, missile defense envelope size, ect), fleet mode, economic mode, builder mode...and anything else I can think off as being useful.