I am designing a business web based application for professional users. I have doubts where to best place filters and navigation bar.
ATM we placed the navigation bar to the left - ultimately we are expecting to have a large number of navigation links in it arranged according to a business hierarchy. We have also talked to our users and they prefer the (collapsible) left hand side navigation.
But I am not sure where to place the filters - problem is that users are also expected to be filtering quite a lot. In additionthe number of fields / conditions may also be quite large in certain cases.
We have two options:
Place the filters (Refine sub-tab) on the left hand bar as well - when clicked it would show the typical fields on which to filter + options to setup more filters.
Place the filters (Refine icon) in the top right corner - when clicked, an additional panel would expand where the filters could be setup. If set, the filters would show at the top of the screen as s series of "tags".
Both options have drawbacks & benefits.
Filters on the left allow for better filters presentation and less clicks - but switching between "Explore" and "Refine" sub tabs might be confusing.
Filters at the top eliminate the navigation confusion but but the interactions required to set them up require more clicking. In addiiton the (sometimes) narrow screen coupled with a large number of filters may cause stacking and not as good presentation.
I am curious which option do you think would be best?