My apologies for responding late.
We did consider left side navigation, but decided against it on this project, for the following reasons:
- We have limited resources, so stick with something closer to what we already know.
- Most current OpenACS application don't work well with left side navigation, because they tend to assume a wide workspace, for example calendar and bug-tracker.
- The stated primary objective fot the current redesign is to make .LRN look pretty for marketing purposes, not improve usability or navigation. Because we at Collaboraid does find usability and navigation important, and the notion of slapping on a pretty shell on an otherwise unchanged product problematic, we chose to add funds of our own for information architecture work. But we don't have much money, so it's very limited.
In order to mitigate this, we did intentionally design the output HTML so it should be easy to apply a different stylesheet to change the tabs to be left side navigation.