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I am currently building a web application and am trying to come up with a way to manage private information and account settings.

Currently, they are in 2 different tabs:

mockup

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  • Account Settings represent personalization settings such as timezone, language and perhaps other settings to personalize the experience in the future.
  • Profile represent public values/fields that other users on the set can see. These are determined and setted by the administrator.

Now, let's talk about private information:

mockup

download bmml source

Private information (currently a temporary name) are also fields/values that the administrator can add and set. The content contained in these fields are not displayed to the public and are there to help the system know more about the user so we can tailor the content better to the user. However, not all of the content here can be used to tailor the experience. The administrator may wish to collect some extra information to assess the demographics of the site's users.

Given the above:

  • should I merge Account Settings and Private Information into 1 tab? If so, what should I call that tab?

  • If I should not merge the 2 tabs together, what's a better tab title instead of Private Information?

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2 Answers 2

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The answer is staring you in the face - settings & info! If that's what's in the tab why complicate things by using technical terms and risking people not understanding?

I'd also group them together - the less clicks the better and they basically do the same thing. Group the fields in to sets to make it easier to just use part of the form. Maybe have a submit button for each fieldset rather than one at the bottom.

Example of settings form

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IF you have longer forms this can still work with collapsible sections (accordions or something) to allow the user to keep the interface neat –  Ben Brocka Aug 3 '12 at 12:59

I would chunk all these settings together as 'content preferences'. That's really what they are, and avoids implying account controls like usernames and password edits.

I would also rephrase the private info questions to make them explicitly about the types of content the user wants, or their interests. Users are very sensitive to questions about private info, and will often either refuse to answer or just provide fake data. Lower-key questions are much more reliable.

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