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I'm building a web application that revolves mostly around a grid, a treeview, and a toolbar. There is also an autocomplete section at the top of the site.

Since I have never been trained in website design, and am mostly self taught, what would you recommend I do to make this look nicer? Do you know of any similar sites that I could imitate?

The primary issue for me is what do I do with the toolbar & the content below it?
How should I style/treat the search box at the top?
Should I add a menu above the toolbar containing pretty much the same stuff the bar has?
What else do you recommend?

http://www.tlsadmin.com/tlsadmin/portalhome.aspx

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If the tree view on the left enables a user to navigate to any page they wish/need to view then you're probably, ok. However, for the sake of usability, you may want to use breadcrumbs at the top of the page to help the user navigate to important sections or back track the way the came.

You may also want to link to important sections or commonly used sections/pages. This could be at the top or at the bottom of the page and should be properly labeled (i.e. "important pages" or "most visited pages"). Basically the more a user uses a page the easier it should be to get to it.

I would clearly label the search box as being such (Putting the word "search" to the left of it should do the trick). You may also want to offer an advanced search that allows a user to narrow down their search criteria.

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