I'm currently building a simple web frontend that allows the people from the management department to directly make some changes to our user accounts in active directory.

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Changes they can do directly are, for example, the room number, the phone number, the expiration date.

Other changes need actions from our IT department. So, if a person moves to a different department, or his employment status changes (intern, employee, guest, ...) the change is stored in a database and a ticket is opened in our ticket system. Then the changes are handled by the IT department.

Now I need a distinctive way to display that the changes are pending, and that the user should not try to make the change again until the pending changes have been processed.

I thought about just adding a label next to the fields, but judging on past experiences with the people in management (I've been working on something like this before) I'm pretty sure they find a way to just not see it, resulting in more tickets than necessary.

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I found this question, but the suggested answers are not really a good fit, because they are centered on merging information.

Addressing the questions in the comments:

The IT department doesn't really need to "sign it off", there are just some changes that have to be made that can't really be automated. The User is moved into a different OU in Active Directory, he becomes a member of different AD groups, in some departments his homedirectory gets moved, some departments work primarily on Linux, others primarily on Windows, which results in different ways permissions are set. The access groups on the access tokes for the building change, which is a completely different system. The computer that the person is using might have to be moved into a different network segment. Our in-house library gets notified when someone becomes an employee, I don't even know what they do with that information, but they persist that they get it. (This notification is already automated, it's just an example that we have different systems that are not necessarily connected with each other).
There are multiple people in the IT department that can handle these changes, hence the creation of the ticket so one of them can take care of this.

The user submitting the form is used as the customer for the ticket, so yes, he receives updates on the ticket.

A little background:

We are not a company, we are a research institute. Our research area is on graphical data processing, so naturally our research employees need a lot of access to the computing machines and have pretty much free reign. We (I'm a member of the IT department) have to work with that. Every department has a different research focus, there are a lot of different research projects, sometimes only by a single department, sometimes they cooperate on a topic. This results in a lot of Security Groups in Active Directory, which are used in systems that are connected to that as well.

  • 1
    Why does the IT department need to sign off on it? Is this because of security reasons? Who usually does the changes?
    – Kevin M.
    Nov 23, 2018 at 15:21
  • will the user submitting the form receive updates on this ticket?
    – Mike M
    Nov 23, 2018 at 15:55
  • I addressed the questions from the comments directly in the question. Nov 24, 2018 at 9:37
  • I actually prefer your design, with the labels next to the fields, over to the accepted answer. The problem with the accepted answer is that you no longer can see the current values. May 18, 2023 at 20:21

1 Answer 1


Set expectations up front, and provide clear feedback upon submission. Prevent errors (and more support tickets) after submission by disabling the approval fields.

Set expectations

I'm not familiar with your domain, but you could split the form into simple changes that users can make immediately, and be clear with changes that will require an approval process.

Give clear visual feedback upon submission

You can provide feedback upon submission in close proximity to the changes, and differentiate up front which elements will require an approval process.

If possible, let users know how long this might take, and notify them when the review or approval process is finished.

Prevent errors (more ticket requests) after submission

Disable the pending portion of the form (the dropdowns) so users understand they can no longer make another request while it's in the approval process.

If they want to make another change (a non approval from the section above), they can still do so by making the Save button enabled once a field has been modified, but the approval section will stay disabled.

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  • I like this. There is just one thing I don't think will work ... from my experience I know that now and then someone will accidently select the wrong department or status, notice it and correct it directly afterwards. When those fields are disabled this will just result in more confusion, another ticket and additional work for us. Right now I'm thinking about showing the new value directly, with the "pending" notice, and showing the current value in a popup or something like this. Nov 24, 2018 at 9:14

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