I'm trying to find if there is a formal description of what I've tried to call the "workspace pattern", seen in apps like Figma, Canva, Notion, etc.

In this pattern, users to start out on their own, with objects that belong to them (designs, documents, etc). Users may or may not be able to invite other users to collaborate with them within their own space: the restriction may be a design choice or an upgrade path. Later, a user can join a larger organization, and have access to objects that belong to their team or the organization's. Typically the division between a user's own objects and objects belonging to others in the same organization is called a "workspace" or a "space", to indicate that there's a strong divider in between.

This pattern is used in applications to allow users to separate and organize their work into separate workspaces, and is commonly used in collaboration tools. A workspace provides a designated area for a user to work on their own projects and to collaborate with other users in a shared area. Loom has the concept of Spaces, which may be set to open or closed permissions

The Workspace Pattern enables users to have their own space within a shared environment, allowing them to work independently and also collaborate with others. It allows users to create, edit, and organize their own content, as well as to access and edit content that is shared with them.

Notion makes collaboration restrictions part of its upgrade path

In this pattern, a user's work is organized into a hierarchical structure, with each workspace containing multiple objects (e.g., documents, designs, projects) and users having different levels of access to those objects based on their roles and permissions. This pattern allows for greater flexibility and control over user access to content, and can be useful for managing large, complex projects that require collaboration across multiple teams and individuals.

I've described it this way, but are there any other resources that showcase examples or have a more detailed analysis of the design choices and implications?

  • This looks (and sounds) like a collection of patterns ('Create' modal, left-hand nav or tool menu, Group upgrade message/member management page) that form a first-use workflow or onboarding journey. The separation of personal and 'public' space is implemented in so many different ways that I don't think there is a standardised name for it. Feb 15 at 22:41

1 Answer 1


The "Workspace Pattern" is already a formal and commonly used term to describe this approach to organizing and managing workspaces in software applications. However, some alternative names for this pattern include:

  • Personal Workspace Model
  • Collaborative Space Framework
  • Object-Centric Workspace Design

The next one, the pattern described can be referred to as the "Hierarchical Workspace Pattern". Here are some additional names for this pattern:

  • Role-Based Access Control Pattern
  • Object-Oriented Workspace Model
  • Multi-Level Workspace Framework

P.S.Using Pinterest with these names and you find a lot of examples for your inspiration

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