I'm working on improving the UX of one of our web applications. This is an application that runs as an intranet app.
The old style basically was a simple menu on the left and the current page on the right. I'm currently redesigning it so that the right space is a workspace that allows multiple windows to be open at the same time.
My issue with this is as follows. Say a user is using the app in fullscreen mode (which is our recommended way of using it, and is how it is used most of the time). We noticed that some of our clients have to use some external tools, or simply reference an e-mail, at the same time, on one screen. They exit fullscreen and drag the browser (with our app) to one side. Normally, this works fine - however, since we're now going to allow multiple small windows that are resizable and draggable, this creates a problem with resizing the available workspace.
What is an acceptable way of handling this?
Below you can see the original workspace, and two possible solutions that came to mind. I'm torn between the two - example one seems useful if the user needs to a quick check and then return to their fullscreen workspace, while example two seems a lot more user friendly if the switch to a smaller screen is permanent or for a longer period (it saves the user having to reposition everything).
Disclaimer: I would like to note that having more than 2 windows open is usually unlikely, but the same basic principal applies, I think. The example shows 6 purely for demonstrational purposes.