I decided to support in place editing for a simple user table.
I am not sure what i should do about password... When i create a new user i can have a textbox to type...

When viewing i can hide then with **
When editing what should i display ??

Also having a create button at bottom i think that isnt usable as it goes at the bottom of the screen if records are many and new row is at the bottom.

But having a create button above the grid is considered bad,so i dont know what to do..

  • 2
    Could you please clarify how the create button and the password question are related? If they aren't, you should split them out as separate questions. – JohnGB Sep 26 '11 at 12:31
  • they arent related.. – GorillaApe Sep 26 '11 at 12:33

I’m assuming you’ve a UI for a system administrator and you’re asking about how to display and edit a column of passwords in a table displaying user account characteristics. For the sake of the security of system users you should never store passwords in plaintext, especially if users can set their own passwords. Password plaintext should not be available to anyone -not even your administrators. It doesn’t matter if your data doesn’t need to be that secure. Users will re-use passwords so storing them as plaintext is just begging a hacker (maybe one of your administrators) to steal the users’ identities on other sites. This is a UX issue: contributing to someone hijacking your user’s Facebook site is giving your user a bad experience.

Instead of storing passwords, store a salted one-way hash of the passwords. Given you only have hashes, you cannot edit the passwords. You can only reset them. There’s no point in wasting screen real estate showing the hashes since they’re meaningless. Instead, provide a Password Reset button that on activation changes into a text box or opens a dialog box for entering the new password. It isn't technically edit-in-place, but then it isn't technically editing either. It can be an exception to the other fields.

If your administrators generally work in a secure area (the system owner’s office surrounded by other administrators), there’s no need to mask it. Anyone can probably guess a manually reset password is some weak variation of "password" anyway.

If, on the other hand, you are storing passwords in plaintext, go ahead and show them unmasked all time like any other text field. It’s pretty clear you’ve a system that doesn’t take security seriously, so why pretend? Or at most make the masked password convert automatically to plaintext when the field has focus.

As for the Create button, grids should ideally be shown within their own scrolling pane so that key controls, whether they are on the bottom, top, or side, always remain in view without scrolling.

  • security isnt really required.(4+ digit passwords) .I would like them to be visible only while editing for example.As for creating new record having a maximized window containing a large grid with the record at bottom doesnt seem right to me...Even if i keep the grid 80% of the height it would look od.Also new row can be at top but i dont know whether this is user friendly. – GorillaApe Sep 26 '11 at 18:06
  • Re 4+ digit passwords: You can bet some users use their bank card pins. – Michael Zuschlag Sep 27 '11 at 0:36
  • Re New record: Not sure if I'm picturing what you're describing but ideally a grid shows no controls (blanks) for non-existing records. In any case, it's best if the newly created record appears either at the bottom of existing records or inserted at the current point of focus. So if there are no records in the grid, it goes at the top. – Michael Zuschlag Sep 27 '11 at 0:42
  • but isnt strange if the grid reaches the bottom of the screen? – GorillaApe Sep 27 '11 at 8:58
  • Not my eye, but I guess it's subjective. I'm not bothered by a File list box with a lot of empty space when viewing a folder with only a few files. It provides a pretty clear indication that the visible objects are the only ones there --no need to touch or even look at the scrollbar. I assume the user can create multiple records serially thus filling an empty grid, so it isn't "wasted" space in that sense. – Michael Zuschlag Sep 28 '11 at 12:41

Masking passwords has very little (if any) benefit when people are creating them. To some people this will seem strange, so you can always give a "show password" checkbox that anyone can select.

Here is a good example from MailChimp.

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