What is the best approach for choosing main navigation for a web app, when:

  • most of the views are very wide table/grid
  • the number of menu items is around 10 or more (and might grow)
  • 2nd level of navigation might be necessary for some items
  • we talk about enterprise app, users will use it in their daily work routines

The dominant approach now is to use the dashboard-style, vertical navigation on the left, but I am concerned about the screen real-estate.

1 Answer 1


You could consider a vertical left menu with collapse option or auto hide feature with just icons showing one the left side in a narrow vertical strip (Which wouldn't consume much screen real-estate) and showing the expanded state on hover / focus.

the number of menu items is around 10 or more (and might grow)

This concern of scalability can be solved by using the above solution. Workday Canvas design system uses something similar. you can check it out here:https://design.workday.com/ It can also accommodate second / tertiary level navigation (tree structure) in this.

  • I like the example. My concern is that most of the users are not tech-savvy. They seem to be used to working with quite old apps. It could be a bit difficult for them to adapt to this modern solution. Aug 28, 2019 at 11:51
  • What is the existing method in the legacy app they are using? Can u expound with an example screenshot?
    – Sooraj MV
    Aug 28, 2019 at 12:08
  • Currently, top navigation is used. Aug 28, 2019 at 13:57
  • Well, you can't speak on behalf of your users, whip up a prototype and do some usability tests and see what works. Good luck.
    – Sooraj MV
    Dec 28, 2019 at 13:08

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