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On my web application, when my users click on an action that requires me to show a form, I do it by sliding out a sidebar with the form within it. The action buttons are spread out on differents part of the application, they are only stacked together for demo purposes in the picture.

Anyway, I'm trying to create a way for users to being able to work with several of these forms at once. So I'm going to implement tabs for the sidebar and I have two ways to go about this. Not sure which one is best:

Option 1 - Showing a new tab whenever a user clicks on an action button

  1. User clicks on an action button
  2. Slidebar comes out with one tab
  3. User clicks on another action button
  4. One tab is added to the sidebar and focus is put on it

Option 2 - Showing all tabs at once

  1. User clicks on an action button
  2. Slidebar comes out with all possible tabs visible

1 Answer 1


I suggest you should go with something akin to multiple palette windows (like gmail does for chat and compose email) that could be maximized or minimized as needed. This would allow for the user to exploit the maximum space available in the sidebar and act on multiple forms simultaneously as required.

You could present the forms in the sidebar as below: Sidebar with multiple action forms open. one collapsed and one expanded

Also, since the maximize, minimize and close icons are already familiar to the user due to their universal understanding, there would be no confusion as to what the particular icons would do.

  • Thanks, but my question wasn't about navigation sidebar or hamburger menus.
    – Weblurk
    Feb 9, 2017 at 11:05
  • @Weblurk I get that but the way the action items were responding I guess a navigation sidebar-ish flow would work just fine? Otherwise can you elaborate the question further so I could try figuring a better solution?
    – ikartik90
    Feb 9, 2017 at 11:10
  • Navigation items are something static. You always want them there. My case is different. I have a site where users can click on different action buttons which should open a form in a sidebar area. However, I need a way for them to work with multiple forms at once. For instance, they should be able to click "Create new product" and "Create new user" and one shouldn't replace the other. They should form tabs in the sidebar.
    – Weblurk
    Feb 9, 2017 at 11:14
  • I've updated my answer per your needs. Please check and revert if it serves a purpose.
    – ikartik90
    Feb 9, 2017 at 11:36
  • That was actually a great suggestion. I will do some prototyping and see how it works but I think I will end up using something similiar to your idea. Thanks a bunch! Also could you remove the first part of your answer? It's the last part that actually solved my needs. I marked your answer as correct already.
    – Weblurk
    Feb 9, 2017 at 11:38

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