We are engineering a new and improved navigation menu for Specify 7 and we would like to gather the community’s thoughts and opinions before we launch this significant change!
Vertical navigation menus can be more organized and efficient than horizontal menus. With vertical menus, users can easily scan through the menu items and select what they need.
Currently, this implementation would replace the horizontal menu. There would not be a setting to re-enable the previous behavior, but we are looking into the option to put the collapsed sidebar on the top rather than on the left side.
This would be beneficial for Specify databases that have a lot of menu items enabled. As the software continues to evolve, we anticipate adding more navigation items. Currently, we have a large number already placed at the top:
- Data Entry
- Record Sets
*In an upcoming release
A vertical menu allows users to quickly find what they are looking for at a glance without occupying a large amount of vertical space. It is less intrusive than the horizontal menu, as it now takes up less space on the page. This can be beneficial for situations where there is a lot of content that needs to be displayed at once such as in queries, forms, WorkBench data sets, and nearly every place in Specify.
The 16:9 aspect ratio of today’s monitors is much wider than the 4:3 ratio of older TVs and CRT computer monitors, making the former appear more rectangular while the latter resembles a square. This means that the design used when displays were predominately using a 4:3 aspect ratio should adapt as we move towards wider and wider displays.
To collapse or expand the side menu, you can click on the narrow orange line on the right of the navigation menu.
- Navigation menu items show their name (Data Entry, Trees, Queries, etc.) in the tooltip after hovering over an element.
- The icon shows a full-screen search page if the sidebar is collapsed.
- User tools are represented as a in a collapsed view
- The collection switcher is represented as a box which will expand the sidebar to allow switching collections
- Notifications are shown as a bell icon
You can see with a collapsed sidebar how much more visible area is now seen on a form when vertical screen real estate is at a premium.
This becomes more apparent the narrower the screen width is and the larger the zoom in the browser.
In situations like the WorkBench, you can also unlock quite a bit of new screen real estate vertically at the compromise of a small amount of horizontal working area:
In the Trees, you can see that a large amount of new space is now made visible, enough to show another 5+ nodes. Trees typically need more room vertically than horizontally, so this update allows users more flexibility.
In the query results, you can even see an additional 3 rows that were not visible before.
This has been released as of Specify 7.8.6!