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I have a portal containing different processes (let's call them process A, process B, ...).

When entering the portal you're in a "neutral" area which is not depending on any process. When clicking on a process ("process A" or "process B") the portal has to provide a navigation for some functional requirements (search, creating a new item inside the process, ...).

Based on those facts I see some challenges:

  1. Do you agree that the navigation should, if possible, be consistent across all processes?
  2. How big is the chance the user is confused by not having a navigation in the "neutral" area but inside the processes?

    If "high": How to prevent that? Do you think showing the navigation inside the "neutral" area is a good idea? With disabled navigation elements? I think this would be confusing as well ("why the hell are those navigation elements disabled?")

  • How different are different contexts from each other? Are we talking about painting on wood vs plastic vs metal or about "build a house" vs "grow corn on a field"? – Stefan Schmiedl Jun 6 '16 at 13:15
  • The primary difference is that in the processes I have a navigation pointing to some functions like "Create new item", "Search", ... Those functions don't exist in the "neutral" area. So I think the context differs in detail only. – mosquito87 Jun 6 '16 at 13:46
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According to your comment, you have basically two different areas: the neutral lobby and all the process rooms.

Well, that hotel/office metaphor came naturally. So you could make a "shiny" lobby looking very different from the office rooms where the work happens.

Since it sounds like one person could have to work in more than one office, the differences between them should be kept to a minimum to avoid confusion and allow "muscle memory" to take over as often as possible.

Keeping the lobby "very different" should be enough to trigger different behavioral patterns, hence keeping the confusion to a minimum.

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