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Scenario:
I'm working on the information architecture a new product that in many respects has the same design considerations as Salesforce; a platform that has it's own core functionality, but the user may buy additional "modules" or "apps."

The attached images show Salesforce's solution to this scenario; Salesforce has a persistent global navigation related to it's core functionality, but there's also an "App Launcher" where the user can navigate in and out of the apps they've subscribed to.

I'm guessing their logic is as follows: if every time the user subscribes to a new module/app it gets layered into the global side-navigation, the navigation will quickly become cumbersome and overloaded. Better to segregate these other apps from the global navigation in the "App Launcher" screen.

Question:
Salesforce's model is one way to handle the above scenario. I'm curious if anyone can think of other platforms that have implemented different design solutions for similar scenarios.


Fig 1: Salesforce Dashboard Salesforce Dashboard
Fig 2: App Launcher: a screen with all the apps the user subscribes to enter image description here

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This is similar to Google's model. Even the app-launcher icon is the same.

enter image description here

I guess it depends whether the apps offer supplementary functionality that is an integral part of the main system, or whether they are more like standalone programs in their own right.

In Hubspot for example, as well as the CMS functionality, there is:

  1. a dashboard for scheduling tweets of your webpage content and blogposts;
  2. an area for managing page templates;
  3. an area for managing HTML snippets;
  4. and an area for editing JavaScript and CSS files.

The tweet scheduler (1) could be a standalone app because you could schedule tweets of content other than what's on your website.

The page template area (2), HTML snippet store (3), and JavaScript/CSS files area (4) are an integral part of the CMS functionality, and hence appear somewhere in the menu.

So if I was deciding where to put different functionality, I would ask myself, could this be extracted out into an entirely separate standalone app? If yes, I would put it in the app launcher menu. If no, I would put it in the main left-hand menu (perhaps in a sub-menu of extra functionality.

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