Getting a Web application’s navigation right is hard. Space and user attention are limited, users have different needs and ways of working with the app, and the content is also different from customer to customer: Some have a wide variety of digital asset types and usage scenarios.
Our simpler DAM system UI will allow for customization of the navigation, but we still need to decide on a sensible default. The screenshot above shows the current state of the discussion, a first draft that’s going to be discussed with potential users.
In this draft, the only constant navigation element is a menu bar at the top of each page. (We had an additional sidebar on the left side of each page, but left it out for now to keep things simple and reserve this space for filters in search results.)
The items in the menu bar are (sorry for the German screenshot):
1. A logo and application name (both customizable) that link to the home page.
2. A search element that consists of the category/search scope, the search input field and button. Clicking the category displays a mega drop-down where you choose a channel, stored search, or collection (tag) to search in. You’re immediately taken to the search result page of the channel you click there, so this also serves as a navigation aid when you want to browse without entering a search term.
3. A link to the history page. To save space (and because it’s a bit less important), this link has no label. The history page lists your recent searches, documents and collections you viewed and the actions you performed on them.
4. A link to the “clipboard” page. The clipboard is a special, pre-defined collection that you can add documents to with just one click – to revisit and act on them later. Its contents are archived nightly so that you start with a fresh, empty clipboard each morning. But you can still access the last 7 day’s archived clipboards.
5. Links for file upload/ingestion and article creation (since DC-X is not only good for file-based assets, but for textual content as well).
6. A popup menu for user settings and logging out.
It’ll be fun to compare this rough draft to the final product in a few months :-)