What is the best place for interaction elements?
Here's the situation: In our software there is an object (in this case a list with several items) that a user wants to work on. A user could perform several actions on this object (e.g. add new item, edit existing item, delete existing item). Our approach, in general, is to have all actions placed within an action panel (placed on the right side of the screen). This panel is always visible and shows all actions that are available within the current screen but also actions that navigate to a new screen (visually different from the 'within screen actions').
Which would be the best approach:
- Both, actions within the screen and actions that lead to another screen, placed in the action panel:
- Both, actions within the screen and actions that lead to another screen, placed in the action panel, and in addition duplicate the 'within screen actions' near the object (item list):
- 'within screen actions' near the object (item list), other actions in action panel:
Which solution do you prefer and why?
Addendum: The action panel has the advantage that it answers the question: What can I do here? This is necessary, because within the application, there are many different entities that have different sets of actions. Some of these actions refer only to the entity that is at hand (on screen) and some actions take one entity as a starting point, then go to another area where this entity is used for a special task...