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Anatomy of a web app page

Designing the layout for a back-office web application, or an internal business application, often involves considerations that prioritize functionality, efficiency, and data management over aesthetic choices typical of consumer-facing websites. Here are the common layout components of a typical back-office web application:

  1. Header: The header in a web app contains branding elements like the logo, but it also prominently features user-centric controls like logout, settings, and user profile access. It might also include global search functionality to navigate through large amounts of data or records quickly.

  2. Navigation Sidebar (Nav Sidebar): More common in web apps than websites, a vertical navigation sidebar allows for more extensive navigation capabilities necessary for accessing various functionalities of complex systems. It typically includes collapsible sections for managing different modules like user management, analytics, operations, etc.

  3. Main Content Area: This is the central workspace where the bulk of user interactions and tasks are performed. The main content area in a web app is usually designed to handle forms, data tables, interactive tools, and other operational interfaces.

  4. Dashboard: In many back-office applications, the main content area often starts with a dashboard view. Dashboards provide an overview of key metrics, recent activity, and quick links to common tasks. It serves as a control panel for the user.

  5. Utility Bar: This is often a horizontal bar below the header or above the footer that provides quick access to notifications, task reminders, or other tools like calendar or recent events that help with daily operations.

  6. Footer: The footer in web applications tends to be simpler than in consumer web sites. It often contains copyright information, version number of the application, and perhaps minimal links to legal information or help resources.

  7. Modal Windows: Unlike typical websites, web applications frequently use modal windows for detailed interactions that do not necessitate a page change. These are used for forms, detail views, and confirmation dialogs to maintain the workflow without leaving the current context.

  8. Contextual Sidebar: Some web apps include a contextual sidebar that dynamically presents relevant tools, forms, or information related to the main content. This is useful in applications where users need to access additional information or actions without disrupting their workflow.

  9. Breadcrumbs: Given the complexity and depth of many back-office applications, breadcrumbs are crucial for enhancing navigation. They help users understand their location within the app hierarchy and easily backtrack to higher levels.

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TODO: add references.

Page last modified: 2024-04-25 13:10:39