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When creating a new (permission) role on our platform a comparison table is used (on the right side), with the intention of explaining our role types to our users. Within this table:

Default

  1. The permissions are shown in the most left column.
  2. Three role types shown on top of the table (end user, content admin, project admin).
  3. Checkmarks are used to show the possible permissions for that role type
  4. When on the left a role type is selected, the checkmarks will turn blue

The problem is a lot of our users think the blue checkmarks mean that these permissions will be set to the role, but it’s intended to show the options when choosing this role type.

Since our users don’t read the texts, the simple solution to explain what the checkmarks mean will not work.

Therefor I made two concepts to make it clearer and I’m wondering which one you like best, or maybe the best solution isn’t not among them.

Option 1: use the text optional to explain it’s optional. (- it might be conceived a bit crowded)

option 1

Option 2: Use the letter ‘o’ to make it look less crowded. (- an explanation of the ‘o’ is needed, which might be overlooked)

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    Instead of "Explanation of Role Types" you may want to use the word "Capabilities." It's sometimes used with role-based access. Also, I'd shade the background of the right panel in light blue and use an info icon to show that it's just explanatory. Otherwise, it feels like I need to select something on the right. – bphilipnyc Oct 28 '16 at 14:48
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  1. Use option 2
  2. But do not use the blue color for the circles (as the CTA button on the lower right is also blue and thus suggests that blue is an "action" color)
  3. Instead I would use black filled circles for the active circles and would grey out the circles of the other columns
  4. I would also place the table below the combobox: As the user looks from left to right, this might suggest that he has to do something on the left and afterwards on the right and the click Next button. You may also hide the table under an accordion element.

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