Simplify Lighthouse for new people

tobi's Avatar


05 Dec, 2008 08:34 PM

So we just started using Lighthouse and we are really struggling with the navigation. I find that the best time to talk about things that aren't quite clear are the first days of using something so I'm going to share our findings bluntly:

The top navigation bar simply has to go. It's committing every single cardinal sin of UI work in just 3 buttons:

a) Unpredictability: The Dashboard link doesn't show me a dashboard; it shows me a page which looks almost exactly like the one I was on but it took me out of the context of my project. That's totally unnecessary, simply put a link to the top of the screen that says "(back to project overview)". If you must call it dashboard (which it really isn't) than call it "back to dashboard" but indicate that it's something that will cause a context switch ( from project view to account overview ).

b) Account / Permissions: this is a totally minor area which occupies the most valuable and highest visibility screen real estate. Move it to the top next to my account and call it People, it's a fire and forget screen.

c) Add new ticket: This isn't even a tab! Make it a button in the right margin above the available ticket bins

d) Avoid having two levels of navigation at all costs, it's very confusing. You don't need the top navigation bar at all, simply remove it with the suggestions above

e) Clicking tickets defaults to "responisble:me status:open". That's only useful to heavy users of lighthouse and is very confusing to new comers. The default version of this screen should be to show all open tickets which works well for beginners. Successful and big lighthouse projects can re-configure it already to just show your own issues.

Here is a screenshot which illustrates some of the issues:

Also here is a screenshot of my twitter replies after I initially commented on the lighthouse UI. This is a real problem that a lot of people share.

Lighthouse is a good product, nuke the top navigation and fix the default configuration of the tickets button and you have a very clean and very usable bug tracker.

  1. Support Staff 1 Posted by Tiger Team on 05 Dec, 2008 08:52 PM

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    Hey, thanks for this. It's hard to get good ux feedback beyond "OMG sux" from users. We'll have a serious crunch session next week and try and hammer all this stuff out.

  2. 2 Posted by Justin Palmer on 05 Dec, 2008 09:17 PM

    Justin Palmer's Avatar

    Hey tobi,

    We've been thinking about things like this for far too long, thanks for the in-depth feedback. We're going to try this out and we're also going to add a user badge that sits in the header (much like Github's badge), this will allow you to access any project on any account no matter where you are in the app. This should make navigating between accounts easier too.

    Finally, we have plans to make your profile your default page when you log in. This would show you all projects across all accounts and even let you view tickets across projects in addition to other stuff we have brewing.

  3. 3 Posted by tobi on 05 Dec, 2008 09:23 PM

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    That's a great idea on all counts Justin. Rock on.

  4. 4 Posted by Will Duncan on 05 Dec, 2008 09:47 PM

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    I'm the one who pinged you on twitter. It rocks to get feedback with an actual message body. We'll keep you updated.

  5. 5 Posted by Ask Bjørn Hanse... on 05 Dec, 2008 11:44 PM

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    If you keep the topbar - then maybe make it have a tab for each project instead of dashboard and access & permissions -- at least for us that'd be much more useful.

    I click dashboard and then the project (we have 3) all day to switch back and forth.

  6. 6 Posted by Justin Palmer on 05 Dec, 2008 11:52 PM

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    You can easily swap between projects on the same account now by clicking the dropdown arrow next to overview.

  7. 7 Posted by chris on 18 Dec, 2008 11:33 AM

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    I'm new to Lighthouse, and would second this assessment. Lighthouse has great functionality and looks beautiful, but its navigation is slightly wack. I keep having to guess which page I need to go to to recover the navigational links I need, and half the time this leads to the Overview/Dashboard confusion.

    Big example: why does the 'new page' link disappear when I am on a page? That's when I want it. Small example: why are the Project settings not globally accessible? Or perhaps – it needs to be more obvious where to go to find them. I click on Dashboard, but no cigar. Overview is, I guess, the Project overview, but the word means the same as Dashboard, so I get lost.

    I'd agree that 'Create' buttons (page, message, ticket) should be on the right, globally accessible. Lose the top nav and fold the project settings into 'Settings', along with Access and Permissions.

  8. 8 Posted by Ask Bjørn Hanse... on 18 Dec, 2008 11:58 AM

    Ask Bjørn Hansen's Avatar

    You can easily swap between projects on the same account now by clicking the dropdown arrow next to overview.

    Ah, neat. I never noticed that. It's still two clicks though, and in particular the first one requires accurately hitting a small icon (with no hover effect). At least for us it's a "primary navigation thing" that deserves more prominence.

    • ask
  9. 9 Posted by System on 22 Jan, 2009 08:54 PM

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    A Lighthouse ticket was created for this discussion

  10. 10 Posted by Will Duncan on 23 Jan, 2009 04:22 AM

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    I just wanted to update this discussion. We deployed a major UI update to Lighthouse a few minutes ago. You can see the updates for yourself in Lighthouse and read about them on


  11. 11 Posted by johan.sombekke on 20 Apr, 2009 09:24 PM

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    Hi, Both on Google Chrome (2.0) and IE 7.0 (didn't try 8.0 yet) on Windows OS, the alignment of the right collumn is a bit wacky, although it looks good on screenshots that are published on your website (Mac). It looks like some space between the various items is missing.

    Kind regards, Johan

  12. brandi closed this discussion on 29 Jun, 2012 10:10 PM.

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