I have a menu on a web page, where for all employees it has 3 line items, but for some employees with certain permissions it has 6 line items. Those who can see only 3 line items do not need to know that there are more.

It is of importance to know that only those employees have access to those extra 3 line items. How would I go about doing that? Because right now, you either have to take my word for it or test it directly...

I am thinking of something like this:

* Common Item 1
* Common Item 2
* Common Item 3
* Restricted Item 1 (visible to Sales only)
* Restricted Item 2 (visible to Sales only)
* Restricted Item 3 (visible to Sales only)

Is that the way to go about it?

  • 1
    Generally I simply wouldn't show stuff that's not available to the current user but I suspect you're going to tell us that your situation is more complex than that. Commented May 4, 2017 at 15:32
  • 1
    my situation is the Sales staff asks me "how do I know that restricted items do not show for non-sales people". And I tell them "just trust me" ...... and they look at me and say..well I trust you but ... I see the items, so I feel like maybe others see them too.
    – Dennis
    Commented May 4, 2017 at 15:37
  • Ah, I see. You want to mark the items that show for the current (sales) user to show that they would be hidden for other (non-sales) users. Is that correct? Commented May 4, 2017 at 15:54
  • yes. Give them an air of confidence that only they can see the privileged access options
    – Dennis
    Commented May 4, 2017 at 16:00
  • 1
    That will be problematic, because 1) people who cannot access those options will be aware of them, 2), people who have access to those options will see those options as not being grayed-out or disabled and still wonder "do those who are not supposed to have access to these options, still see those options?" In other words, it doesn't solve the fundamental issue for those who do have the access.
    – Dennis
    Commented May 8, 2017 at 14:25

3 Answers 3


Color was already suggested, but is simple iconography an option? A tiny "lock" icon, or even a box or shaded area with a faint lock image as a background perhaps?

Super quick example enter image description here


As you indicate, from the client perspective the only way to be sure of this (other than trust your word) is to test it. I think the question raises an interesting concern which is that the items not just need to be restricted but also to look like they are restricted.

The problem here might be that all the items look the same, integrated. So if Common items show in the same style as Non-common ones the client might feel the whole container will display the same to other users.

Alternatively to the idea you propose to avoid this feeling, you could display Restricted items in a different style or in a different container. Making the items that are different also look different. So you could argue that "the block with red background only appears to X users".


Alternatively, you can structure the content exactly as you did explain it to us (and use sentence):

  • Common Item 1
  • Common Item 2
  • Common Item 3

Items restricted to Sales/you only:

  • Restricted Item 1
  • Restricted Item 2
  • Restricted Item 3

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