The sidebar on the left is the entry point to all my work: the content I have access to, my personal messages and settings, as well as Magnolia configuration settings and tools.
The sidebar serves three areas with separate menu structures, each offering menus and sub menus for accessing various data sets and functions. Only one of these menus is visible at any one time. I can switch freely between areas and menu items without loosing context. If I e.g. work on assets, then switch to my personal work area to moderate a number of new forum entries, then switch back to the asset browser again, I'm returned to the exact same point where I left of.
The three [work areas] each have their own top-level tab and menu structure. This structures the previous flat list of menus and improves orientation: content is separated from personal elements - the profile, personal messages and settings - and instance-level configuration and tools.
If a menu item contains sub menu items, these are hidden at first. If you select the parent item, the sub menu items slide open while possibly already visible sub menu items of another menu item slide close - only one menu item may show its sub menu items at any point in time.
The menu of a single work area may be further subdivided into menu groups where useful. As an example, access to actual content such as pages, assets, documents and structured data is visual separated from access to content-related functionality such as A-B testing and statistics; server and module configuration, templates and security settings are separated from tools and apps such as the Magnolia Store. Menu groups could actually be labelled to improve understanding and clarity, but the current design does not yet foresee that.
Note that the above rule that only a single menu item may show its sub menu items is also applicable across menu groups. If e.g. Configuration->Modules is open and selected, and you switch to Security, the Configuration menu closes.
If you switch between menu items and sub menu items of the same or a different [work area], the state of the connected [workspace] is preserved. This allows to e.g. work on the site structure of one site, then change a template, then go back to the site structure and find yourself at the exact same spot in the page tree.
For further details about this topic as well as necessary limits that have been set, please refer to Preservation of context.
The personal work area collects all personal belongings of a user inside Magnolia: her profile, user settings, but also the list of internal messages that have been sent to her so far.
Internal messages include new work items from configured workflows or messages from a module such as a forum module informing of new topics awaiting moderation or an internal messaging module for sending private messages between users. The personal work area is the place to access all personal messages and also notifies the user, if new messages have arrived.
The icon identifying the personal work area is changed to a messaging icon, if new messages are available. In addition, the icon is further emphasized using a background alarm color. Selecting the icon switches to the personal work area. All menu items connected to messaging show a visually distinctive badge listing the total number of messages of their type, which have arrived and not yet been viewed by the logged in user.
All emphasizing visual elements are removed, if the user reads the new messages or marks them as read. Once the total count of new messages reaches zero, the icon used to represent the personal work area is set to the default icon again and badges on menu items are removed.