Navigation & App Structure
The Home Page
The primary URL and first page viewed by all users when logging in is the product home page. This is the most important single screen and the jumping-off point for the entire product suite.
The home page should contain links to pages, actions, and flows that are tailored to the individual user.
The home page should always be accessible by clicking the logo in the top nav bar.
Top Nav Bar
Alation has a fixed top nav bar that is always visible on all pages.
The top nav bar contains the highest level of navigational links, including to the product home page, between products, and to other areas of the current product.
The content of the top nav bar does not change from page to page and is always consistent for all users.
Left Hand Nav
The Left-Hand Nav (LHN) is the second persistent navigational element in Alation. It is an expandable column fixed to the left side of the browser. Much like the top nav bar, it is always visible, and its content changes independently of the currently viewed page.
Unlike the top nav bar, the primary purpose of the Catalog Browser is to quickly reference content by type or domain.
Quick Search is the most critical element in easily navigating the vast number of pages within Alation. It is not a separate structure, but it is located within the top nav bar or catalog browser so that is always visible and readily accessible, regardless of which page someone is using.
The purpose of Quick Search is not to be the most feature-rich search interface, but to be extremely quick and accessible to facilitate the exploration of the data catalog. For tasks where exploration and quickly navigating between disparate parts of the catalog are not the purpose of a search, then a separate and more full-featured Advanced Search interface can be used.
Alation's catalog is organized by the types of different content being represented, or "Otypes." Standard object types include concepts such as Tables or Files.
In any instance of Alation there may be countless individual pages of a given type. And each object of that type has its own page and URL. This is a critical concept underlying Fabric's representation of objects; it is expected that each page is displaying related and coherent content related to one object, much like a book in a library.
Browsing by Types
For every object type or related group of object types, there should be a page dedicated to browsing those pages. Think of this akin to a table of contents within a book. Its purpose is not to outline every page, but to provide an overview of the content within.
For example, the "Sources" page is the browse interface for many of the data sources, file systems, and more within Alation.
Customization by Type
It should never be expected that different object type pages behave or appear exactly alike. They should bare as much feature parity as possible, but still be catered specifically to the character and concept of the data being represented on the page.
Object types are also used as a delineation for admins to customize themselves. This allows further usefulness to be embedded within the product without the designer needing to account for ever specific customer scenario in their designs.
Links between all applications within the same product suite should be accessible through the top nav or LHN. This is to allow for quickly moving between flows that are related but must be performed in different products.