HOW TO

How to Create a Good Admin Panel: Design Tips and Features List

Estimated reading time: 14 minutes
November 11, 2021
Updated on: February 24, 2022
HOW TO
How to Create a Good Admin Panel: Design Tips and Features List
Estimated reading time: 14 minutes
November 11, 2021
Updated on: February 24, 2022
HOW TO
How to Create a Good Admin Panel: Design Tips and Features List
Estimated reading time: 14 minutes
November 11, 2021
Updated on: February 24, 2022
Content Marketologist
Written by
This article was written
in collaboration with
Maria D. — UI/UX Designer
and Denis Z. — CTO at Aspirity
Looking for inspiration?
Creating a good admin panel might be a complicated task. There are many pitfalls and challenges in making such a product helpful, straightforward, and easy to use.

We at Aspirity have rich experience in building user-centered and efficient products. So when it comes to designing websites, web services, or applications, we pay much attention to how usable and intuitive they will be.

That works for both the external "cover" visible to many and for the "underside" hidden from the general audience called the admin panel. We rely on best practices and admin panel design principles that can benefit the users.

For the admin panel, functionality and performance become key factors one shouldn't neglect. Their design should be as intuitive as possible. Having a high-performance web admin panel tailored to specific business and user needs is crucial.

But how to build an admin panel that works for your project and suffices your team's needs? This post will help you find out!

What Is an Admin Panel in a Website?

An administration panel should help optimize the team's work and make it more efficient, achieving tasks as fast as possible.

So when designing an admin panel, your goal is not to lure the users into a long exploration with wow effects and complex design. Your goal is to quickly and easily let them interact with the data and content.

The easier, more intuitive, and understandable the interface is, the faster the users will perform their tasks and analyze the data presented on the dashboard.
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What Is the Difference Between Admin Panel and Dashboard?

Many get confused about the difference between admin panels and dashboards as they might seem to have the same or very similar purpose. Although these terms are sometimes used in the same context because their functions often intertwine, the difference does exist.

An admin dashboard allows at-a-glance access to the crucial information for the specific needs of a particular professional or a team. Dashboards provide users with a comprehensive overview of the key data, reports, KPIs, etc., and enable drilling down to more details if required. Normally, an admin dashboard is a single screen that includes all crucial information.

In contrast, an admin or control panel allows for certain actions. It enables administrators to conduct efficient management, control the system's performance, and implement the required changes.

Thus, a dashboard can be one of the key components of a control panel. Most likely, it will serve as a starting point of the admin's activity, where they find timely reports and then use this information in practice with the admin panel.

The Key Admin Panel Features to Design

When it comes to creating an admin table , your task is to build something complex but in a simple shell.

"Complex" admin panel ideas in terms of functionality doesn't mean it has to be inconvenient. If designed well, it should be easy to use despite its many functions and elements.

The admin dashboard features always depend on the project's requirements. However, we listed some functions that might be helpful for you to start planning your ideal admin page.

User Profile Management

Everyone who uses the admin panel has a personal account, so you should always keep user profiles in mind when designing such panels.

Usually, the user profile includes a username, password, photo, and email address. These areas should be editable for greater customization and security.

Also, you can add more configurations in a user's profile, like the agreement to get notifications about the latest actions and events. The most obvious and standard options are to include a link to the user's profile at the top right corner of the screen or the bottom of a sidebar.

Content Management

It's worth providing control panel users with special rights to create, manage, view, modify, and delete content without writing the code.

Also, you can add version control to keep the old versions of the content.

To make it easier for users to work with the content, you can provide visual templates for different data display tasks (graphs, tables, articles, image galleries, etc.).

Integrations with Other Systems

Sometimes it's worth connecting your admin panel with other systems like email tools, notes, task tracking apps, etc.

Additionally, administration panels often require pulling up information from third-party systems and saving the changes back. So when examining API documentation, it's worth paying attention to the following:
Authorization token lifetime. In some systems, the token lasts for a short time. Thus, you will need to update it regularly to keep working. It's better to be aware of this in advance and create an update mechanism.
Rate limits. You can receive some data only when sending multiple requests. The external system may start blocking your requests if there are too many of them.

User Authorization

User authorization is a crucial aspect of the control system's functionality. However, If you've got a large number of employees and stakeholders, implementing it may be harder than it seems. Here is how you can facilitate this process.

An admin panel is an internal tool, so you're likely to have some system for your employees' login. The best-case scenario is that the developers can implement authorization via an existing system.

For example, suppose the employees get into the system with Google Workspace (formerly G Suite). In that case, your admin panel can have the log in via Google with filtering by the authorized user's domain. In this case, the login will be allowed only with the corporate email.

If transferring authorization to an external system is impossible, consider pulling up the users from it. For authorization, you can create a passwordless email flow as it's the most secure option: the passwords can't be weak if there're none.

Security and Permissions

Normally, the admin panel users have several different roles which involve different levels of access and permissions.

The ability to check access in the interface will enhance convenience: the users don't see the content that isn't available for their roles. However, the only thing that ensures security is server-side verification.

If you need a flexible access system, it's worth building it on a permissions basis. In this case, every step one takes in the app requires corresponding permission. The roles' essence remains, but they look like a set of permissions. Such an approach will allow creating custom roles for various needs.

Audit

It's a good idea to record all users' actions in your admin panel and have a particular place to view them. Also, the system should allow not to delete records completely when they are removed. Instead, they can get a corresponding mark and be saved in case of accidental deletion. You can keep the deleted entries in another place to optimize the storage, like an additional table in the database.


Viewing Data

An admin panel normally contains a lot of data. So it's worth considering the lists' pagination. Also, you shouldn't underestimate the importance of searching for the required information. To streamline this process, you will have to provide sorting and filtering mechanisms.

Editing Data

Sometimes, editing forms consist of multiple fields. So the administrators often waste much time working with such forms before implementing the changes. What's more, the results of this work may be lost if another worker was editing the same form and saved the changes a little later.

To address this issue, you can use the optimistic locking technique. It involves data versioning. When the edit form is displayed, you get the current element's version, and when you save it, it's sent to the server.

The server saves the changes only if the database version matches the sent one. Otherwise, it will report an error, which means someone else has already changed the data. The server will provide the new element's version when saving the changes.

The client should conduct the validation to show the user where they went wrong. At the same time, the server should conduct it to ensure invalid values haven't slipped into the database.

Headless CMS

A modern Headless CMS website can help you accelerate the development of simple app components like editing a simple objects list without particular business logic.

However, it's worth ensuring that CMS provides enough points to expand and set custom business logic. Otherwise, it will rather get in the way.
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Admin Panel Design Best Practices

To create an efficient admin panel, one should primarily focus on the key business goals and needs. However, certain design principles apply to the majority of such products.

Look at some of the criteria we adhere to when designing an admin dashboard.

Easy Navigation

Many admin panels use multi-column interfaces because they are easier for perception. You can set a menu with different nesting levels on the left in the sidebar. This sidebar is fixed on the screen while the module with the content can move around and change.

Normally, the left-hand-sided navigation column divides content into modules and features, while the rest of the screen shows that content in detail. It's convenient to visually separate such navigation by using different background colors or shades.

It's also important to label the module the users are currently on. You can do it using color highlighting or simple shapes like lines, squares, etc.

Additionally, it is helpful to divide the page's main content into a grid, represented by columns. Different content can occupy both the entire grid and several columns.

This approach is especially useful for responsive layouts. So go with the multi-column interfaces if you want to use the same admin panel design across multiple screen devices.

Simple and Clean Admin Panel Design

When creating an admin panel design, remember that the common users are more or less experienced and have a certain technical background. That's why they are used to such interfaces.

However, it doesn't mean that the interface should be complicated and confusing. Admin panels are created with specific tasks in mind and contain functions that help users focus on the functionality, content, and important data.

Consider working with simple colors, fonts, and shapes not to overwhelm users with visual information. At the same time, we recommend using color where it's necessary to attract attention. The main focus should be on the data and real-time changing information. And of course, don't forget about the clear structure and correctness of data display.

Remember that user interaction with the interface should be pleasant and understandable. You can use micro-animations like hovers, loaders, neatly animated illustrations for a better understanding. It will improve the user experience and won't require long hours of onboarding time.

Your best bet is to keep the admin panel UI/UX design simple. If you need to brand it, use a logo, brand colors, or icons, but ensure it does not distract from the main content. Present the data and available options in the cleanest way possible.

Tooltips and Icons

We recommend using explanations and instructions in tooltips next to the complex elements for admin pages with many different functions and options. It will reduce the user's time searching for explanations, documentation, or useful materials.

Another good option is to use icons in navigation. They can convey a function or meaning and should be easy to read. Don't forget about minimalism. The icons will be guide marks giving users a visual cue on navigating the admin panel. They shouldn't draw too much attention from the essentials.

How To Design an Admin Panel for a Website

Now, let's look at the most important steps to develop the admin panel from scratch. We will pay special attention to the initial development stages as their effectiveness will directly affect the entire project's success.

Define the Panel's Goals

When developing an admin panel, a well-thought-out design is a must. Many admin panel features and elements in one place make the job even harder. To create a system that works, you'll need to devote some time to in-depth user research and ask the users what they expect from the product.

Here are some questions you might need to be answered:
What should be integrated?
What functions are crucial?
Do you need third-party integrations?
How will the sign-up/log-in process function?
Will they post any content?
Should everything be moderated?
All those questions matter when making a perfectly fitting panel for your website. So before kick-starting admin panel development, you should answer them to learn your project's business needs and make a user story analysis.

Essential Admin Panel Features List

Based on the research, define the key features you want to implement to your panel. Initially, it's better not to waste time on too complex good-to-have functions. Prioritize the ones that will bring real benefits to your users and are necessary for your panel to function properly.

Consider Third-Party Integrations

Complex data-driven solutions often require collecting, processing, and delivering certain information. The administrators often have to leave the system and switch to other platforms to find or check information, use certain services, etc. Empowering your panel with relevant integrations will certainly make their lives easier.

Build a Prototype

Building a UX prototype before moving on to designing and developing your administration panel will provide you with a chance to check if everything works properly. Aspirity creates clickable prototypes to ensure that every product's aspect performs its functions well and the user journey is seamless.

Test UX Solutions

Test your prototype on real users. Thus, you will ensure your control panel is effective and meets their expectations. Such a test also enables changing something or fixing issues before UI design and development processes begin.

Should You Invest in Designing an Admin Panel?

In short, if you are looking for a simple solution that can perform basic functions, you can use existing templates. Opting for a highly customized solution is not necessary in this case.

It's easy to lose track of time developing and designing an admin panel that could already exist. Sure, it's fun to build something from scratch, but that might be quite costly. You could invest the time and resources spent working on the custom admin panel in other important projects.

Numerous ready-made admin panel templates are based on different frameworks to fit your needs. Take a look at EasyDev. It provides various data visualization solutions that you can bundle into one functional product.

However, suppose you are looking for a unique solution with many features and elements many people will use or want to combine many systems in one place. In that case, you need a custom admin panel design.
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Five Best Admin Panel Examples

For your inspiration, here are several outstanding admin dashboard design examples. They might have been developed for different needs, but each follows certain best practices and core principles of efficient admin page design.

1. EasyDev Admin Panel Example

EasyDev is a ready-made admin dashboard solution designed by Aspirity. It contains numerous components and design styles. Pay attention to the clean and modern UI, responsiveness, and the template's appropriateness to various business needs, whether it's an eCommerce, a hotel booking website, or else.

2. Ahad Admin Dashboard Design Example

This control panel may be suitable for accounting and effective management. It includes all the required features like access and role management, documents library, recent actions review, etc. The dashboard also contains a calendar, an efficient tool for tracking the key events and getting timely notifications.

3. JobDone Team Management System

This mobile-friendly control panel aims to help teams with productive time and project management. Both mobile and web versions look intuitive and convenient. The mobile-first approach is often applicable when building an admin dashboard. Viewing important information from their smartphones is beneficial for many target users.

4. Apollo UP eCommerce Tool

This admin tool is supposed to serve eCommerce workers' needs. Such panels should provide their users with an opportunity to conduct sales, order, and warehouse management. For such a product, non-overwhelming UI and convenient data visualization are a must.

5. Velocity Admin Dashboard Design

Logistics and supply chain also requires an advanced approach to administrative work. This is a great example of an admin panel. It enables tracking the trips and deliveries in real-time, conducting fleet management, and staying in constant touch with the drivers. The map allows monitoring of the current fleet activity.

Our Experience in Designing Admin Panels

As mentioned above, we have a ready-made solution for those who are not ready to spend time and money on developing a personalized control panel design for their website and are looking for a quick yet efficient fix. We've analyzed various admin panels and dashboards, collected all-in-one best practices, and named our product EasyDev.
EasyDev is a modern admin panel and dashboard template based on React Components and Bootstrap 4 Framework. We've already made many pre-built pages for any purpose projects. So developers can choose what suits them most.

At the moment, EasyDev is a best seller on the Envato platform with a 5.0 code quality rate.

Cover Your Internal Business Needs with an Efficient Admin Panel

Admin panels are often hidden from most people's eyes and work behind the scenes. Some are well-known and widespread, while others cater to small groups of certain companies. They aren't there to grab attention, but they are essential to attract people to the most important data and functions. If a control panel is specifically tailored to business needs, it can help with growth and maintenance.

Admin panels should have a clear design that won't distract the user's attention from the essence. They are there to keep the users focused and help them work faster and more efficiently.

There is no unified solution that fits all. That's why it's a good idea to analyze all business needs the panel should solve. You may limit admin panel features and opt for a simple option or invest in developing something complex with many features in mind.

We at Aspirity have dealt with various projects related to internal management systems and dashboards. Our skilled designers, engineers, and analysts are experts in developing products of varying complexity.

If you still have any questions on how to create an admin panel, reach out to us. Together, we can build a product that will boost your business efficiency!

Frequently Asked Questions

1
What Are Admin Panel and Dashboard in Web Development?
An admin panel or a control panel is a system that enables administrators and other website workers to conduct various tasks like monitoring, maintaining, and controlling certain business processes. An admin dashboard is one of the core components of a control panel. It gives the users instant access to data, reports, and metrics they currently need.
2
How Much Does it Cost to Create an Admin Dashboard?
It's almost impossible to define a fixed price for designing and developing an admin panel. The cost depends on many different factors like the product's complexity, the number of features, the panel's type and goals, etc. In our experience, each project is unique and, therefore, the prices vary tremendously.

A small admin panel with basic features may cost you $10,000 – $30,000, while a complex product's price could be $100,000 or beyond.
3
Should I Use Third-Party Integrations when Building an Admin Dashboard?
Third-party integrations can be helpful as they enable collecting various information in one place. Thus, the users will access all they need without leaving the app.

The choice of integrations your system requires depends on your business goals. It could be project management software (Jira, Trello), calendar (Google Calendar, Outlook), email (Gmail, Outlook), social media (Linkedin, Twitter), communication tools (Zoom, Slack), data collection integrations (Oracle, IBM), etc.
4
Should I Invest in Custom Admin Panel Development?
Many businesses may find ready-made templates sufficient to cover their companies' needs. So if you've got quite standard requirements, there's no need to reinvent the wheel. Using an existing solution will save your time and cost.

However, if you're looking for a more specific approach and need certain features tailored to your needs, the outcome is worth it. If you decide to create an admin dashboard from scratch, the hired team will look for solutions that match even the smallest details of your business.
5
What Are the Must-have Admin Panel Features?
Although there is no one-size-fits-all solution, here is the list of features that almost any control panel would benefit from:
  • Authorization
  • Security and permission
  • Audit
  • Viewing data
  • Editing data
  • Third-party integrations
  • Headless CMS
This article was written in collaboration with Maria D. UI/UX Designer at Aspirity and Denis Z. — CTO at Aspirity
Content Marketologist at Aspirity
I've been doing a huge chunk of Aspirity's marketing communications for almost two years. I help clients understand how our team can solve their problems.
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