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I have a website with searchable information for users (catalogue, search, item details, etc.). The site does not offer (and doesn't need) any log-in functionality (content is never personalised and all information is public).

However, I need to provide access for website moderators (non-technical people) to update site content. I decided to integrate their interface with the "normal" website -- after logging in, the site looks only slightly different for moderators: there are additional "edit" buttons, search returns "disabled" results, etc.

My biggest problem is where to put the "Administration/Log-in/Manage" (side question: what should the name be?) link so that users are not confused (and don't accidentally land on a login page without a possibility of registration) and at the same time moderators can easily find it.

Some possibilities I considered:

  1. Just put the link among other links in the sections bar (Main, Search, Catalogue, About, Administration) -- this is most convenient, but also clearly communicates to the users that there's an administration section; but maybe that's all right?
  2. Make it a hidden, transparent field in the upper-right corner of the page -- inconvenient for moderators
  3. Provide a separate url, e.g /admin/, without any direct link from the homepage -- even more inconvenient for moderators

Right now, I like option 1. best, but maybe you have better ideas?

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Don't make any links - it's a security nightmare waiting to happen. –  dnbrv Feb 11 '12 at 8:43
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@dnbrv: You're right, it would be safer to hide the admin section under something like /asgsfd/gasafdbg/asdfs/admin/, but let's assume I'm not worried about security, only UX. –  DzinX Feb 11 '12 at 9:11
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Your admins can easily make bookmarks to get to the login. –  dnbrv Feb 11 '12 at 9:17
    
these three options you have presented, the first would be better. Here where I work, we have something like the third option in one of our systems, we work with the link / # login, it is easy to remember and will not appear for users. –  Xosler Feb 11 '12 at 11:03
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How many admins do you have, how often will they use the site and how often will "new" admins use the site? If we're talking 5 admins that regularly use the site I don't see why you need to have great UX for an extremely rare function where security is important. Plus you're presenting a useless link to 99% of users to help <1%. That's not good UX. –  Ben Brocka Feb 11 '12 at 22:48
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3 Answers

If there was a normal login button/link I'd say do what Stack Exchange does and simply present the extra link to the admin users once they've logged in. On Stack Exchange high reputation users and moderators get to see extra links that normal users don't.

This means that there's no confusion for ordinary users seeing something they don't have - nor would they ever have - access to. The usual argument for having visible but disabled features (encouraging users to sign up/get the reputation) don't apply here.

Having an admin link visible to all users is a temptation for people to click and try to login. The simplest thing would be to send the admin url to your administrators and tell them to bookmark it in their browser (or just click on it from their e-mail client).

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Well, you're trying to come up with a location which would be prominent to one group of users, and invisible to another group of users - but you have no way of knowing which group the current user belongs to. It seems like this problem has no solution by definition, and you must rely on recall rather than recognition. Creating a link that only admins know is the most obvious solution, and with bookmarks it can work well.

But if you're looking for a location on the screen, I'd try placing an "Admin login" link in the footer.

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@DzinX you could do this and write some extra programming logic to your site's code, saying: if user is logged in and has admin privileges, then display admin link. –  qsheets Feb 19 '12 at 4:46
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I believe the solution 1 is perfect. What about enclosing a button alike that states "Go to Admin Section", precisely some clear content writing needs to be taken care and rephrase it.

This button should be possibly to the RHS of the page on top or beneath the header section.

The other way is if in case a "Welcome Message" or "Name" enclosed in the header section, a drop down can bring in information about the admin section, where while building the site the users can be easily mapped to the features required, where certain users will not have the link to the admin section. Primarily there should be some other information associated with this admin section link, as it does not get stranded by floating aloof under the drop down, take call on what else could be grouped or stacked under the drop-down.

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