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I am currently creating a platform where users can fill-in online forms, one feature is that they can save the form and return to it at a later date, with the previously inputted data pre-filling it.

Due to some of the sensitive nature inputted on these forms, coupled with the fact that certain other people can have access them, I have decided to implement a password-protection option on each form, which if chosen, would cause any user who wants to view the form to enter a password to see the pre-filled data.

I had a question regarding the best way to implement this feature:

One option I had would be a button at the bottom of the form which would password-protect it upon saving, it looks like this:

enter image description here

This feels clunky to me as I think saving the form should be the simplest and most intuitive part of one.

Another option looks like this:

enter image description here

The idea is that when the user is ready to leave the form, they would tick the checkbox to enable password protection which would only be truly enabled (on the server side) when the user saves the form.

Another issue occurs in cases where the user wants to disable password protection for one reason or another.

In the first scenario, this could possibly be done as follows:

enter image description here

And in the second scenario, it would be done by the user un-ticking the password protection checkbox and then saving the form.

Are there are any obvious pro's or con's with using either method? I'm very new to UX so any input/advice/recommendations are greatly appreciated.

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    As someone just reading the form, I don't think I'd understand the password protect part since it doesn't seem to be a common pattern. I feel like if it's truly sensitive, you should always force a password to access the data. Otherwise, you can just put the checkbox in the user's profile if your users really want to toggle it and doing so doesn't present a security risk. – bphilipnyc Feb 6 '18 at 5:24
  • Hi @bphilipnyc this is good point thank you! The data is not so much sensitive (in terms of security and privacy) but rather quite personal if you get the distinction. Some users will feel better about sharing this data than others. – Ruthus99 Feb 6 '18 at 9:29
  • Why do other users have access to someone's personal form? Without proper context it's hard to determine the best answer here. I fear there may be bigger UX issues than simply password protection. – Alan Feb 6 '18 at 17:50
  • Hi @Alan thanks for the response. It's not everyone who will have access to their form, only people who have assigned to the same case (it's a corporate platform) – Ruthus99 Feb 7 '18 at 10:13
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I believe it depends

a) on the focus you want to give to the password protection feature. Having it as one of the "save" options gives it a bigger gravity and makes the user spend slightly more time on deciding (just an assumption).

b) on the rest of the flow eg. the user sees a modal enters the password and clicks on save again etc etc

  • Thanks for your help @Menadros Apostolidis. In both situations there would be no password-entry modal since the server would automatically use the user's login password as the form password. – Ruthus99 Feb 6 '18 at 9:25
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A more common pattern might be to allow the user to set specific forms as 'Private,' using a padlock icon or something similar.

This answer assumes that users are logged in to some a profile or account to begin with. If that's not the case, I would strongly encourage you to consider implementing password-protected user accounts. It's a much better experience for the user to login once and have access to all public info and whatever they've set as 'private,' rather than to force them to log into each individual password-protected form.

  • Hi @refe thanks for the response. Yes each user has their own individual account with their own passwords. The reason I have opted to still ask for a password even if it's their own form is to provide a sense of security that others won't be able to see their own data, otherwise a mere checkbox saying 'this is password protected' may not suffice i fear – Ruthus99 Feb 7 '18 at 9:59
  • I think having public and private content is a fairly common practice. Asana for example—it's a web project management app, if you're not familiar—gives you the option of creating 'private' projects that your team members can't see or comment on without a personal invite from the project's creator. That's the kind of pattern I'm suggesting. The additional password seems like overkill. – Refe Feb 7 '18 at 18:56
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Let's take a step back, how users are going to return back to the form? I assume there would be some link assigned to each user and they can save/bookmark the link.

Here is how the flow should look like in that case:

  1. User clicks on "Return to this application later" link

Flow o1

  1. System generates a unique link for each user and shows it on the screen. They can email, bookmark or copy paste link somewhere (notepad or something). In case it's logged in scenario, email link button will send link to user's email id or you can ask to provide email id if that's not the case. Also you mentioned it can be also be shared for some reason, users can share the link with the intended recepient.

enter image description here

I am not sure why they would want to remove protection if it contains confidential information.

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