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5 ways we’re improving project navigation in Jira Software

[Status update: Feb 18, 2022]

These project navigation updates have now rolled out to all Jira Software users. Thank you to everyone who shared their feedback and thoughts during our early access release.



Hi Jira Community!

Over the past year, we’ve introduced new features and integrations in Jira Software Cloud that have helped teams take their time back and ship better code, faster.

But as new features roll out, we’ve noticed that our project sidebar is starting to feel a little bit cluttered. We’ve been looking at how we can improve the navigation experience within projects to help you find your work and the features you need more quickly.

We’re excited to finally be able to share some of the changes that are coming soon to Jira Software Cloud.

Learn how to get early access to these updates below.



⚡ 1. Focus on the work that matters to you with sidebar categories


We’ve restructured the project sidebar with categories that match the way that software development teams work: Planning, Development, and Operations.

While we anticipate these categories will be helpful for teams with many features, we wanted to keep things simple for all users – if your team is only using Jira Software's default features, you won’t see the category labels in your sidebar.

❤️ 2. Improved accessibility for visually impaired users


We know accessibility is important, and we’re continuously working on ensuring that Jira Software is accessible for all our users.

We’ve added a visual indicator to the sidebar to further highlight the currently selected item. While this is a small update, it will allow many users with visual impairments to better see the item they’re currently on when looking at and navigating with the sidebar.

✨ 3. Clearer board context for company-managed projects 


We’ve learned from you that people mistakenly click on the board switcher when trying to navigate to their Kanban board and Active sprints in company-managed projects.

To make things clearer, we’ve removed the board switcher icon and added a background colour to highlight which views are scoped to your board (Roadmap, Backlog, Active Sprints, etc.), which may be different to the project you’re in.

We know boards can be tricky to navigate, and we’re continuing to investigate ways to improve how they work. We’re hoping this is a step in the right direction in helping teams understand how they can use multiple boards in their projects.

⏰ 4. Simplify your sidebar and find work fast


Our new sidebar categories map your different views to stages in the software development lifecycle. While many work across these stages, we know that some users mainly focus on work in one or two particular views.

The great news is that these categories are now collapsible at the user level, so you can easily hide items that are less important or that you don’t need to access often.

⚙️ 5. Refined settings structure in company-managed projects


We’ve received plenty of feedback that the current project settings structure in company-managed projects can be confusing and difficult to navigate. So, we’ve given things a bit of tidy!

Your company-managed project settings now contain collapsible groupings for issue and app configuration, and we’ve promoted some of the more commonly used items for easier access.

We haven’t changed any settings, so you won’t need to re-learn how to configure your projects on these screens – you’ll just find them faster.


Get early access and try it now!

In order to improve project navigation, we’ve been reaching out to our community of users (that’s you!) to better understand the struggles teams currently have navigating their projects, and evaluate some of the ideas we’ve been exploring.

While we’re planning to roll out these updates to all users over the coming months, we’re ready for you to try them out and let us know your thoughts to help us further improve these experiences.

Want early access? You can subscribe to our navigation updates for your projects right now in your personal settings:

  1. In the top right corner of your Jira Software site, select Settings > Personal Jira settings.

  2. Scroll down to Jira labs > Updated navigation in software projects.

  3. Select Switch to the new experience.

  4. Select Save changes.

Subscribing to these updates means you’ll be one of the first to trial them out as we add new improvements over the coming months.

Note: This will enable updates for your account only. Other users in your projects will need to enable this individually to see these changes.

Once you’ve had a chance to try them out, let us know your thoughts by sharing your feedback in-product or by commenting on this post. We look forward to your feedback and to continuing to engage with you all as we further refine and improve navigation in Jira.


Jack Brickey Community Leader Nov 18, 2021

@Josh Sherwood , looks good. I did not see yhe following in my instance.

  1. Scroll down to the Jira labs > Updated navigation in software projects.

  2. Select Switch to the new experience.

Like # people like this

The classification of "Releases" as being part of a "Development" group is reasonable for software teams.  But for general business usage which are using Versions to manage groups of work, this doesn't make much sense.  Perhaps this could be optional?

And don't get me started on explaining to our users why "Versions" are labelled "Releases"...

Honestly, Jira Server had an 'icon only' nav bar variant when collapsed with the "[" shortcut.  The 20 pixels allocated to showing only the icons was a worthwhile use of space for power users, without making them have to keep on opening the nav bar to move, as it is now.  Any chance of that coming back?

Like # people like this
Curt Holley Community Leader Nov 18, 2021

I agree with @Greg Johnson "Releases" being part of "Development" is fair, but it could be argued that creating a Release (Fix version) and monitoring its content is part of "Planning". especially when you consider the multitude of use cases Releases/versions in Jira get adopted for.

Also @Josh Sherwood , I like to suggest an "Apps" collapsible sidebar category as well, as then can certainly clog up the lower half of the sidebar.

Like # people like this
Chris Buzon Community Leader Nov 18, 2021

One feature request - we have a huge number of add-ons that also add navigation menu items.

Most of our teams don't use all of them, but there is no way to hide the ones they don't use. It would be great to be able to toss those into a folder-like object so they can be hidden away.

Like # people like this

I like the improvements.

Yes, what @Chris Buzon notes: how about pinning, with everything else collapsible in the unpinned items?

Like # people like this

Please consider the following feature request with this development. 

For context because of add-ons every project is cluttered like this (and this is for a management board where we don't even need components, code, releases or any of the add-ons):

Screen Shot 2021-11-18 at 2.31.12 PM.png

Like # people like this

Hi @Greg Johnson - thanks for this feedback. While we did engage with the community to help us determine these groupings of nav items, we know that some items are not as clear-cut as others.

We'll continue to monitor feedback around these groupings as we explore providing you with greater flexibility and control of your sidebar.

Thanks for your feedback @Curt Holley. Please see my response to Greg above re: 'Releases' – we'll be continuing to monitor feedback around these groupings of items as we roll out to all users.

Apps in the sidebar have definitely been on our radar, and we know that they can cause plenty of clog for users. This will be a priority of ours as we explore further refinements to the sidebar navigation.

Like Curt Holley likes this

Hi @Chris Buzon. Add-ons and apps are definitely things we're looking into as part of our explorations, and we're aware that they they can cause a lot of clutter for many users.

Thanks so much, appreciate the feedback.

Like Chris Buzon likes this

Hi @Bill Sheboy – nice idea on allowing users to pin items. Will take that to the team, and we'll look at that option as part of our future explorations. Thanks for the feedback.

Like # people like this

1 - I definitely +1 having a better add-on sidebar management. Perhaps even just expand/collapse ability for the list of apps in the left sidebar.  Development and planning are getting their own expand/collapse area, it would be good for apps to have that too.
2 - Being able to turn on or off Components as an option in the Features area of Project Settings. We are not using components in our projects across our company. Many items are listed in Features with on/off option, why not Components?  Its another thing my users have to see there that they are not using.
3 - Being able to turn on or off Issues as an option in the Features area of Project Settings.
4 - Shortcuts. Please can we 1 - be able to reorder shortcuts (which you can do in Confluence), and 2 - it would be great to be able to create folders of shortcuts, not just a straight list.

Many of the above are noted in  I am working on getting Jira rolled out to a large enterprise of regular business users and these improvements would make such a difference.

Like # people like this

Nice improvement it certainly improves usability, but for us the most clutter is from all the add-on apps icons at the bottom, would love to be able to have the apps icons default collapsed.

Also the Confluence link named "Project pages" would be much easier for users to understand if it was simply named "Pages".

And while we do use components a lot, we very rarely use the Components menu item, as there is really nothing apart from some settings in that menu item. I would move Components into Project settings.

Like # people like this

@Jack Brickey Sorry to hear you aren't seeing the opt-in in your instance. If you're still having difficulties, feel free to email me the details of your site and I can check with the team why this might be.

Hi @Larry Johnson Along with apps, we're also looking at how we might improve the experience of adding shortcuts in the sidebar – so your feedback is really valuable here, thank you.

I'll also make sure to pass on your feedback around Issues and Components not being able to be toggled off in company-managed projects.

Thanks for your kind feedback @Kasper Tikjøb - we'll definitely be looking into improving the experience around adding apps in the sidebar as part of our ongoing explorations.

I'll make sure to pass on your feedback around Components and the Confluence integration.

Like Sachin Manjaiah likes this

Thanks for your feedback @Nick – we're hoping that the collapsible sidebar categories are a step in the right direction for allowing users to simplify their sidebar and hide the items that they don't regularly use. But, we understand that there's still a lot more that can be done. We'll be monitoring feedback around this and exploring options for providing further configuration and flexibility.

Thank you also for your feedback around apps, this is something we've been actively looking into as part of our explorations.

Hi! @Josh Sherwood  liked this feature, great work

Like # people like this

@Jack Brickey Refresh the page and it should be there. (It did the same thing to me)

Like Josh Sherwood likes this

Hello @Josh Sherwood . Thanks to Atlassian team for always keeping things 'new & improved'. Would love to see user group creation & management within a project context! 

Like # people like this

Even better would be an option to hide the sidebar altogether.  Or to at least customize colors and styling of it more. 

Like Géza Molnár likes this

@Josh Sherwood As a followup to your response nov 18th, i have given the Components menu item some more thought.

Apart from setting up components, the only meaningful thing the Components menu item does, is linking to the issue search, showing all issues in a component. But this is never the page i need.

Jira have 3 major grouping types: Versions, Epics, Components

We have most of our boards JQL filtered by Component, so we rarely need to further search/filter by Component, but in the boards where i need it, i need it in the backlog, not the issue search.

So, to really remove and improve the Components menu item from the sidebar i would:

  • Move current Components menu item from the sidebar to the Project settings
  • Add a 3rd vertical tab at the left side of the backlog, so there is both the existing Versions + Epics tabs, and Components.

This would improve the Components feature, and allow you to get rid of one menu item in the sidebar, thus decreasing complexity.

Like Josh Sherwood likes this

I understand the sentiment of those who would like to move Components from the sidebar to the Project settings, as it's not really something that has much purpose in the current location other than being able to filter Issues.

Personally, I'd like to vote for being able to just turn off Components in the sidebar, the same as can be done with Releases, or maybe group Components with Releases in the Development category, then be able to turn off that whole category to hide both at once.

Like Josh Sherwood likes this

Looking forward to it

I hope finally it will improve this software.

Peace and Love for all of us.


Like Josh Sherwood likes this

Are we able to customize it?  Otherwise it is not useful as the assumptions made are not correct for our teams.

@Josh Sherwood This new feature sounds good.  But we are currently in the process of restructuring our organization which incorporates Advanced Roadmap planning. So, we are relearning how to crawl and then walk and then eventually run. With that said, my organization would prefer to not introduce this individual planning capability / feature at this time. Can we turn off this feature at the Jira Admin level?  


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