First question on this stack exchange.

I'm designing a web portal for managing computers in a company. Note: This is only made to be used on desktop at the moment.

I am having a hard time finding a place to put all of the info about different elements. These elements include computers, actions, collections of computers, etc. Right now, when a user double-clicks an element in a table, one of three views shows up:

  1. A fullscreen view
  2. A modal
  3. A permanent sidebar that populates when a row is selected

I like the fullscreen view because it can fit subpages and tables easily if it needs. Most elements have a few small fields that are accessed often then maybe one table of supporting information. Even this gets tight on a modal or sidebar.

However, a fullscreen view feels like overkill for everything but the largest elements, and my colleagues argue that it would make it impossible to quickly find and edit many different elements in table. And I agree with them. At the moment, if a user is sent to another page to view something then goes back, they will lose their place and filters on the table.

What are some ways I could make navigating fullscreen elements faster? I was planning on adding stateful tables and thinking about including breadcrumbs at the top.

Or should I stick with modals or sidebars for most elements?

Thank you!

View 1 - Fullscreen View 1

View 2 - Modal View 2

View 3 - Permanent Sidebar View 3

1 Answer 1


I am having a hard time finding a place to put all of the info about different elements.

There is always a temptation to fit as much as you can into a 'view' for the user, but it is also quite easy to continue the practice of squeezing content until eventually you have to come up with a different strategy anyway.

The layout and design of the interface for information and content should ideally reflect the underlying hierarchy and logic. So as long as you try and be consistent with this, you'll find that it won't be too difficult for the user to navigate regardless of your approach.

The only other thing you should probably be aware of is the use of modals and how it can potentially break the flow for a user, and that it will introduce other design complexities if you have to manage particular states of the system (like whether it is saved or unsaved, whether you can undo actions, etc.).

  • You're right, I have had issues with logically switching the modal and sidebar between editing and viewing states.
    – Davedude
    Commented Aug 12, 2023 at 0:04

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