Sidebar - UI Element

What is a Sidebar in UI Design?

Sidebars are UI elements found in medium or large layouts – both websites and applications. They are vertical columns placed on either side of the main content area, usually to the left or right of the screen.

Sidebars serve as a navigation aid and provide easy access to various sections, features, or platform options. In web design, sidebar navigation contains links to different pages, categories, or areas of the website. In desktop applications, sidebars help users navigate between different views or functionalities. They can host icons, buttons, or text links representing specific actions, settings, or categories relevant to the app.

Sidebar - UI Element
Sidebars by uinkits

When To Use Sidebars in Your Design

Sidebars can be used on any website, depending on your goals. But the sidebar component is especially important in these cases:

  • Content-Heavy Platforms

Content-heavy platforms represent news websites, blogs, or social media platforms. These platforms need sidebars because they have a lot of information and various sections to navigate through.

  • SaaS Platforms and Desktop Applications

Sidebars are becoming more and more popular on SaaS platforms and desktop applications. They act as the central hub of these platforms because users need to switch between different sections or features. Here, sidebars are not only used for navigational purposes. They can also show users the next steps they must follow and their progress.

  • eCommerce Platforms

The more products or services the online store offers, the more links will be needed. Sidebars are needed to group categories and filters of the products. This way, they offer users an efficient and organized structure.

Anatomy of a Sidebar in UI Design

  • Menu
  • Navigation Links – The primary purpose of a sidebar is to provide easy access to different sections or pages of the website or application. Do not forget about the navigation links.
  • Icons or Symbols – They are visual cues that help users recognize the purpose of each link without relying on textual descriptions (labels).
  • Call-To-Action Buttons – Sidebars often feature essential CTAs that prompt users to take specific actions – for example, signing up for newsletters, subscribing to services, or initiating contact.
  • Social Media Links – These can help promote your social media presence and expand your brand’s online presence.
  • Progress Indicators This can include progress indicators that show users their current position and remaining steps.
  • User Profile – Include account settings, preferences, and personalized content.
  • Active/Inactive State – When users tap on a navigation item, it should be visually distinguishable from the rest of the links. Use visual cues – for example, change the color, make it bold, add an underline or a highlight, or apply a different font weight.

‍Sidebars Design - Best Practices

  1. Let Users Control the Sidebar

Allow users to resize the sidebar – whether to make it larger or smaller or even hide it if they want more room. This is the case for SaaS platforms or desktop applications.

  1. Include a Search Bar

With search bars, users can find everything they need without having to navigate through various menus or selections. This can increase the user experience, especially for platforms with extensive content or numerous features.

Use the Sidebar UI Element in Your UI/UX Design With uinkits

Our uinkits system is a Figma Design System and UI Kits that include UI components that allow you, as a UI UX designer, to create your design products as quickly as pressing a button. You can find sidebars and everything you need to create the perfect product design in Figma – all in just a few clicks. All you have to do is take the UI design component you need, and you’re ready to use it in your designs!

So, get your uinkits package and start designing now!