Context switching navigation




This week I have to come up with a better way of allowing and showing contextual changes in navigation. Yay! [sarcasm if you didn’t spot it]

Our platform is a marketplace for resellers of software and our resellers can switch contexts (ie become their users) by simply clicking on in-page links to start editing their details. The left side naigation changes to match your new options and the breadcrumb lets you know where you are but I think it is all a bit too subtle.

I have to implement our new platform section by section and it has to work well for existing users and intehrate with the old one as otherwise we wont put anything out there for at least a year maybe 2.

The closest example I can think of to what we are doing is Web Host Manager but while their interface is simple I think I can do better.

So my plan is as follows:

  1. Maintain existing context switching via on-page links
  2. Maintain existing breadcrumb functionality
  3. Add a context switching bar along the top with perhaps a textfield with auto suggest from user list and a clear indicator of your current context.
  4. Move top level nav to the top of the page below the context switching bar (or maybe above)
  5. Drop the left bar on new sections ensuring that the options (there usually aren’t very many) are easily accessible within the page.

I wanted to post this as an open ended thread to get peoples thoughts and ideas rather than ask any specific questions.